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New Chrysler set for “early 2014”

by David Zatz on

As planned and predicted, the 2015 Chrysler 200 will be launched in early 2014, at the same Sterling Heights plant where the current model is built. The new car will be completely different in body and suspension than the current model, based on the Dart and Cherokee’s architecture and platform.

The 2014 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger will stop production in December 2013 to allow for the changeover, which is expected to include substantial equipment upgrades. The plant is currently shut down for five weeks, during which time the assembly line will be linked with new a new 425,000 square foot paint shops and a new, 1-million square foot body shop.

The “new Chrysler” did not believe it would need Sterling Heights, but Sergio Marchionne quickly changed his mind and the new company purchased it from the bankrupt remains of the “old Chrysler.” Part of the basis for the decision was the success of the revised Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The plant now employs 2,500 people, with a second shift added in early 2011. It is located on Van Dyke, a busy thoroughfare which is also the site of Warren Stamping and the General Motors technical center.

Many expect Sterling Heights to also build the next-generation Dodge Journey and, most likely, the next generation Dodge Avenger, which some believe will be a rear wheel drive mid-sized car, developed jointly with Alfa Romeo. Sergio Marchionne reportedly approved a new mid-sized rear wheel drive sedan for Alfa Romeo and Dodge, which is likely to be adapted from the platform used by the new 200. Due to flexible manufacturing and shared platforms, Sterling Heights could potentially produce the Cherokee or Dart in the future, if needed; and the Toledo plant hosting Cherokee production could in turn make 200s or Darts.

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