Hot Start for Chrysler 200 to Spur Growth

24/7 Wall St.

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Chrysler needs a spark to continue the extraordinary growth that began almost as soon as it emerged from Chapter 11 and began its relationship with Fiat. It has gotten that spark as early sales of its 2015 Chrysler 200 have surged immediately after its introduction.

Chrysler reports that first-day orders of the 200 reached 10,000. Orders in the first two days reached 17,000.

Aside from whatever design appeal the 200 may have, its early success is helped by two features. The first is that the entry price for the car is a modest $21,700. The other is that the 200 can get as much as 36 mpg.

Chrysler also has released the 200 with several models in the hopes of appealing to a broad range of consumers:

[A]ll-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is available in four different models: the 2015 Chrysler 200 LX model, Chrysler Limited model, Chrysler 200S model and the premium Chrysler 200C.

And:

With a segment-first standard nine-speed automatic transmission, electronic shifting with a rotary e-dial, an innovative available all-wheel-drive system that reduces parasitic losses with a disconnection rear axle, exceptional ride and handling characteristics and safety and security features typically found on vehicles that cost thousands of dollars more, the new 200 is a car drivers will enjoy driving. Consumers have a choice of two world-class engines, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine which produces a best-in-class 295 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, or the standard 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine produces 184 horsepower and 173 lb.-ft. of torque and achieves a highway fuel economy rating of 36 mpg.

READ MORE: The 10 Top Selling Cars in the World

Chrysler’s disadvantage compared to the large companies with a significant presence in the U.S. car market is that its model line is small. The only other car Chrysler has is the aging 300 series. It also sells the Town & Country minivan. Its other brand lines, Dodge RAM, and Jeep do relatively well. Chrysler and these brands sold 654,615 vehicles in the first four months of the year. While this was up 11.9%, it still trails Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), General Motors Co. (GM) and Toyota Motor Corp. (TM).

The 200 gives Chrysler a chance to better itself in consumer surveys of auto quality. Chrysler and its other brands have badly trailed most competition in both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power research. An improvement because of the 200 may be the edge Chrysler needs to really compete with the market leaders.

READ MORE: The Nine Most Misleading Product Claims


Filed under: Autos Tagged: F, GM, TM

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