Next Chrysler 200 to Get 38 mpg, 9-Speed Transmission
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes these and other improvements will make the car competitive in the tough midsize segment.
There’s no question that Chrysler has been on a roll. The U.S. automaker's sales were up 14 percent in August, and it has moved 1.1 million vehicles so far in 2012, an increase of 24 percent from a year earlier, according to The Wall Street Journal. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who took over bankrupt Chrysler three years ago, says the brand is just getting going. He told a meeting of 2,600 Chrysler dealers in Las Vegas that new Chrysler models “represent our firepower for the years to come.”
Marchionne promises to capitalize on the product finesse of Fiat to churn out fuel-efficient models. These will include a Chrysler 100 based on the Dodge Dart platform, the Fiat 500L, a Jeep Liberty replacement, a new “baby” Jeep and two new Fiat-based Ram commercial vans. As part of this plan, a revamped version of the lackluster-selling Chrysler 200 midsize sedan is set to debut in the first quarter 2014; it will get 38 mpg highway thanks in part to a new 9-speed transmission. But is it enough for the car to compete with the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry?
Marchionne is banking that the mileage bump along with an upgraded interior that offers quilted leather and ambient lighting will make the 200 more on par in the highly competitive segment, which is dominated by the Camry, Accord and Nissan Altima. Chrysler has struggled for years to gain a foothold in the category, or even to field a competitive model. The latest 200 was sold with as much as $4,500 in rebates, about a quarter of its price, dealers told The Wall Street Journal. That the 200 is a staple of rental-car fleets indicates that it's not exactly a sales leader.
According to sources, Marchionne is betting $2 billion on creating the new 9-speed automatic transmission to deliver 38 mpg highway. While that's 7 more mpg than the current model, it’s just 1 mpg more than the 2013 Altima. And with Toyota recently introducing a new Camry and Honda doing the same with the Accord, Chrysler has some work to do in making the 200 a contender in the midsize segment.
9 speed automatic transmissions..hoo boy. I have been in the auto repair industry for well over 40 years, and have seen automatics go from 2 speeds to 9...and have found the dependabe performance of automatics stopped once they moved beyond 3 speeds...and the cost to repair them has gone from $300 for an overhaul to well over $3k.
Funny how the mileage numbers really haven't climbed much,considering how complex cars are today.
If you really want great mileage with superior durability,buy a manual shift transmission (and a diesel while you're at it..)
Of course,95% of the USA population can't operate a stick...
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