With the failure of the slow-selling Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger. Chrysler s trying to revamp this portion of the market.
One option — a stretched version of Fiat’s compact D-Evo platform — faces serious hurdles, and one early proposal — use of an Opel platform — is off the table. Now sources say Chrysler Group LLC could replace its much-maligned mid-sized cars with a model based on the Chrysler 200C EV, a concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January.
If that happens, Chrysler could be fielding a rear-drive entry in a crucial segment dominated by front-wheel-drive cars. The 200C EV concept was built on a shortened version of the LX platform, which is used for the rwd Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans and the Dodge Challenger muscle car.
Chrysler executives are concerned that even a stretched version of the D-Evo platform might not be wide enough for North America, say sources familiar with the discussions. The Fiat platform will debut in Europe with the 2011 replacement for the Alfa Romeo 159.
The new Fiat-led company also had considered using a new General Motors platform for its mid-sized cars. But those hopes were dashed after Fiat failed in its bid to acquire GM’s Opel unit. That would have given Chrysler access to the second generation of GM’s Epsilon platform, sources say. Opel uses the new platform for the Insignia, the 2009 European Car of the Year.
Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy June 9, needs new product quickly — especially in the mid-sized sedan segment, where it has been chronically weak. So sources say the company has taken a fresh look at the 200C EV.