The 2015 Chrysler 200 is the third major launch of Chrysler Group since Fiat’s era. First came the Dodge Dart in early 2012. Then it was the time for the new Jeep Cherokee, revealed in the first half of 2013. Finally Chrysler brand presented the all-new 200 sedan in March 2014 and the first critics pointed at very good comments. The brand needed a fresh product and the mid-size sedan was urgently waiting for a decent successor despite the fact that its sales registered records in 2012 and 2013 with more than 120.000 units. However these numbers aren’t enough in American D-Segment as it’s quite evident when looking at the competitors volumes. In 2013 Toyota sold 3,3 times more Camrys than the Chrysler 200, while Honda was also ahead selling 3 times more. The Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu were also ahead. In total the old Chrysler 200 managed to control 5% of D-Sedan (non premium) segment. In 2012 all D-Segment counted for 19,8% of total sales, and was the second largest after the SUVs (all types). For a group like FCA and its important 4th position in US ranking, having a proper mid-size sedan isn’t an option but a must.
And that’s why the all-new Chrysler 200 exceeds expectations. Its sober but elegant and modern exterior design are positively commented by car magazines and internet users. Definitely Chrysler made a big improvement with this car, which is by the way the first model of the new Chrysler era. By 2018 the brand should be selling around 800.000 cars in NAFTA markets, and to achieve that Chrysler needs more products that will use the same family feeling of the new 200. But is it going to bring good numbers to FCA? first of all it is a nice car: it looks modern, elegant and sophisticated. Second, it has a lot of interesting features that can’t be found in other cars of its segment (such as the 9-speed automatic transmission, advanced all-wheel drive, 7″ Led instrument cluster). The new 200 has the best in class available horsepower (295 hp) and the best interior storage. Besides, its starting price is below the competition’s. Unlike the Dodge Dart and the Avenger, with prices that are quite close but with 2 very different positioning (the Dart is more European-concept, while the Avenger is what Americans expect from a sedan), the Chrysler 200 doesn’t have competition inside the brand. The Chrysler 300’s prices start at $31.000, well above the 200’s, starting at $21.700. The only problem would come from outside: the 200 will for sure steal some Dodge Avenger’s potential clients but that would be in line with the decline period of the Dodge, which will be out of production in the coming months.
Based on all those attributes, and the right moment of its launch, the all-new Chrysler 200 will hit the market with much better results than its predecessor, just as the new Jeep Cherokee is doing. There are no public sales volume targets for the 200, but Chrysler should increase its market share by 2 or 3 points and position the new sedan as one of the top 5 best-selling mid-size sedans in USA and Canada. If the car is that good why not to export it to Europe? when Chrysler published the first official pictures, many Italians wrote that the 200 should be available in European markets as a Chrysler or as a Lancia. Many people said that it could be the perfect car to be positioned between the premium and mainstream European D-Segment. But the true is that the new 200 won’t come to Europe because Chrysler and Lancia brands will leave their presence to welcome the Alfa Romeo’s sedans. Chrysler brand got out of Europe when Lancia rebadged its range, while Lancia will concentrate its efforts on the Ypsilon for Italian market only. Therefore the beautiful 200 wouldn’t have a brand under which it could be commercialized. Besides, it is too American for European taste (is quite big for European D-Segment), and the last thing Marchionne wants is to complicate things to Alfa Romeo and the coming Giulia sedan and SW. Is it going to happen to all future Chrysler models? what about the next generation Voyager/Town & Country? certainly it won’t be sold as a Lancia, and is hard to think of it as a Fiat. What’s for sure is that the new Chrysler 200 is a great product, it will be a boom in D-Segment, and it won’t come to Europe.