Chrysler to refocus on mainstream American buyers
Long the automaker's luxury torchbearer, Chrysler division CEO Al Gardner announced that the brand is being repositioned to serve as the new mainstream vehicle leader for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In a presentation at the annual FCA Investors Day, Gardner said that Chrysler would double the size of its lineup over the next five years while expanding coverage from 25 to 65 percent of the market. Adding new models in the critical C/D/E segments will give Chrysler access to 7.6 million additional consumers annually as it directly challenges Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota for mainstream buyers. In addition to helping boost its yearly sales from 350,000 to a projected 800,000 units, this fundamental rethink also will let Chrysler distinguish itself from the Dodge division.
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While the just-released 2015 Chrysler 200 is the first of this new product wave, the biggest news will come in 2016 with the arrival of a new compact sedan, the Chrysler 100. This front-drive 4-door will take on the likes of the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze and play a pivotal role in the success or failure of Chrysler's overall 5-year game plan. The Chrysler Town & Country also will get a full recasting in 2016 that includes a plug-in hybrid variant. At the same time the groundbreaking Dodge Grand Caravan will depart the scene for good.
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Highlights for 2017 include a new full-size crossover - also with a plug-in hybrid alternative - as well as a refresh for the Chrysler 200. Rounding out the Chrysler program in 2018 will be a new mid-size crossover model and the next-generation Chrysler 300.
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