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Avenger on hiatus, 200 convertible gone?

by David Zatz on

Last week, Allpar noted that production of the Dodge Avenger and 2014 Chrysler 200 had stopped. Implicit within that coverage was the end of the Chrysler 200 convertible.

The Sebring Convertible, when it first appeared in 1996, was a major triumph for Chrysler; it consistently garnered critical acclaim and sales, and as one of the very few convertibles engineered to be one from the start,  it had advantages in body stiffness and design over competing vehicles. Even Consumer Reports tended to prefer it to the Toyota Camry-based convertible. The final generation, though, switched from ASC to Karmann for its tops, resulting in numerous problems and a sudden plunge in reliability, and remarks from Jeremy Clarkson led critics to switch their votes from “pretty good” to “terribly bad.” This experience, along with a general industry trend towards lower convertible sales, no doubt led Chrysler to leave the convertible out of their plans for 2015.

Convertible lovers may be able to get a Challenger — or not; informed observers believe the current-generation Challenger was designed to have a convertible variant if the need and desire arose, but this never happened. Whether the upcoming “LA” Challenger, due in the third quarter of 2014, is also designed that way, is currently unknown.

As for the Dodge Avenger, the car is currently out of action as Chrysler puts all its eggs with the 2015 Chrysler 200; however, this is a temporary action, since attention has shifted to a mid-sized, rear wheel drive car shared between Dodge, Alfa Romeo, and, most likely, SRT. This car, officially announced by Sergio Marchionne, is under active development and has likely been fast-tracked due to its importance. The platform (dimensions) are likely to be based on and similar to those of the 200; the engine bay of the Dodge will likely be large enough to hold a Hemi V8, though the company may choose to save money and weight by making both Alfa and Dodge V6 capable instead. An SRT version could use a turbocharged or supercharged V6 instead of the Hemi. Alfa Romeo could use the Maserati-Ferrari V6, allegedly loosely based on the Pentastar, and the VM V6 diesel. The name of this car has not been announced, but Barracuda was rejected and Avenger seems likely — for this car, Avenger would be an appropriately aggressive name.

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