Redesigned Chrysler 200 sedan to begin production in early 2014

Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:28pm EDT
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By Joseph Lichterman

STERLING HEIGHTS, Michigan (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC's redesigned 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan will begin production in early 2014 at the automaker's Sterling Heights plant here, Chrysler said on Tuesday.

Production of the 2014 model will stop in December to allow Chrysler to prepare the plant for production of the revamped 200 and a new midsize sedan that is expected to replace the Dodge Avenger.

Chrysler hopes a ground-up overhaul will help both models be more competitive with the Toyota Camry (7203.T: Quote), the longtime midsize segment leader, and other popular family sedans such as the Honda Accord (7267.T: Quote) and Ford Fusion (F.N: Quote).

The redesigned Chrysler 200 will share its basic architecture with the Dodge Dart and the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the company said.

The so-called CUSW platform that underpins the Dart and the Cherokee was developed originally by Chrysler's Italian parent Fiat SpA FIA.MI and also is used in Europe by Alfa Romeo.

The Sterling Heights plant has been quiet since July 1 for a five-week shutdown that will allow Chrysler to start to prepare for the new models. It will use the shutdown to link the assembly plant with newly built paint and body shops.

Chrysler showed off the new 425,000-square-foot paint shop on a media tour on Tuesday morning. The paint shop is part of a larger $850-million investment in a handful of Michigan facilities.

The company also spent $165 million to add the 1-million square-foot body shop.   Continued...