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Chrysler to drop Sebring name, change small, midsize models
Facing a drumbeat of doubt about its pace of new car development, Chrysler is dropping clues that changes in its small and midsize cars may be more substantial and arrive sooner, based on recent comments from CEO Sergio Marchionne.

For example, a "freshening" of the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger, due by the end of this year, now will include at least one new name -- Sebring will be dropped -- and more extensive structural revisions.

Then, last month in Italy, Marchionne said premium brands Chrysler and Lancia could "converge as early as the end of the year." That raises the prospect that the Chrysler-modified version of the Lancia Delta on display at the Detroit auto show could come to U.S. showrooms.
"In Europe, Lancia is an undersize, underdeveloped brand, with nothing bigger than the Delta," Marchionne said. "Chrysler, which has a true global reach, has nothing smaller. Put them together and you have a full line-up."
But fixing the underachieving Sebring and Avenger, sales of which tumbled 62% and 37%, respectively, in 2009, is even more important if Marchionne's turnaround is to gain traction.

Neglect and miserly cuts in product development spending by Daimler and Cerberus Capital Management left Sebring and Avenger exposed to superior competing cars. Chrysler plans a re-engineered midsize car from a Fiat underbody, but it won't reach showrooms until 2013. That means the near-term challenge is to transform two much-maligned models enough so consumers will reconsider the Chrysler or Dodge brands.

"We've rolled up our sleeves and have torn apart that architecture," Marchionne said. "You'll see a completely different animal. We're having a discussion about what name this animal should have. The jury is still out."
Chrysler's brain trust understands the urgency. Marchionne and Chrysler brand president Olivier Francois are focused on enhancing those characteristics of the midsize sedans that consumers will notice.
Stephanie Brinley, an industry analyst with AutoPacific Group in Troy, said Chrysler is somewhat limited in the changes that can be made, but even small changes can have an impact.
The changes "can make a big difference in a car's quality of ride and handling," she said.

If Chrysler can integrate Fiat's Multiair engine technology into its 2.4-liter engine, the base engine for the new midsize sedans, that could break through some of the skepticism.

Multiair adjusts timing of engine valves to maximize acceleration or fuel efficiency. Fiat and Chrysler officials said it can improve horsepower and fuel-economy by 10% -- delivering better low-end torque and reducing carbon emissions.

The technology will be part of the smaller 1.4-liter four-cylinder engines Chrysler will begin making late this year at its Dundee engine plant, and it will eventually be offered in the rest of Chrysler's engines.
But will it be ready for the Sebring replacement this year?
"We're doing things as quickly as we can, but I can't say anything specific," said Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau.


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Mercury C557
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I just barely learned the name of Fiat's MultiAir engine technology when I was falling in love with the Grand Punto
but it sounds like it could FIX one of Chrysler's biggest "BlackHoles"...

...re: their other one, STYLING, I don't think Lancia's any better than U.S.Mopar!
(whose last Good styling job was the 300M imho)
Really hope they can come up with something new, unique, and 'international' that both can effectively use
 

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I would change both names. To me, "Sebring" and "Avenger" are coupe names. Both names seem quite inappropriate for midsize sedans.

I would resurrect "Intrepid" for the revised Dodge midsize sedan. "Intrepid" still has a sporty feel to it, yet it also seems to fit better with the mainstream midsize sedan segment. I know the name originally graced a fullsize sedan, but the Charger is now occupying that position. I don't see any harm in resurrecting the name for a sedan that is one size class down. It's just too good of a name to waste.

I would rechristen the revised Chrysler midsize sedan and coupe-cabrio as "Nassau". "Nassau" feels like an appropriately upscale name for a premium midsize car line.

As far as changes:

Chrysler Nassau:
1) Remove the cheap looking black plastic fakeouts from the C-pillar.
2) Wrap a thick chrome band around the window frames. A thin chrome band would continue to run along the bottom of the windows to connect the front and rear ends of the thick upper chrome band, but it would stay inside the door cutlines. The B-pillar would remain blacked out. The overall side window treatment would be similar to the one on the Lincoln MKS, except that the treatment on the Nassau would have a more upright, formal shape.
3) Restyle the front fenders, hood, headlights, and front fascia to resemble the Nassau Concept. The grille design would be inspired by the one that graced the 200C EV Concept (a concept that I hope inspires the overall design of the next gen midsize sedan that is being developed on a modified Fiat platform). I think the more angular front end treatment of the Nassau Concept would help balance the car's tall proportions. The awkwardly soft and rounded front end treatment on the current Sebring does not blend well with the middle section of the car. Headlight elements need to look appropriately upscale (HIDs, LEDs, etc.).
4) Lengthen the rear (again to balance out the car's tall proportions) and give it a more angular rear treatment inspired by the Nassau Concept. The stubby, coupe-like rear end treatment on the current Sebring does not blend well with the middle section of the car. A longer, more angular rear end treatment would help balance the car's tall proportions. Basically, the rear fenders, decklid, taillights, and rear fascia would need to be restyled. To give the car a more distinct and upscale appearance, I would even incorporate the integrated exhaust outlets into the rear fascia (like those on the Nassau Concept). Taillight elements need to look appropriately upscale (LEDs?).
5) Chrome finish on the door handles and sideview mirror caps as well as classier looking wheels will finish off the exterior overhaul.
6) Interior needs a complete overhaul. The design needs to appear more upscale with upgraded materials and execution. Sound deadening measures need to create a vault-like environment.
7) Engines need to be updated/improved. Base 4-speed automatic needs to be replaced by something much more modern.
8) Handling needs to be tweaked and tuned to be competent, yet comforting.
9) The car needs to be equipped like a comparable base version ES, TL, or MKZ, but it will need to undercut them in price somewhat to get people to seriously consider it.
10) The coupe-cabrio version would receive similar changes, except for the chromed side window surrounds.

Dodge Intrepid:
1) Eliminate the rear kickup under the rear side window. Use the rear window design of the 2011 Chrysler Nassau to reshape the side window on the 2011 Dodge Intrepid. Instead of the Nassau's thick chrome side window surround, the side windows will be surrounded by body colored framing that would simply flow into the lower sections of the doors. The B-pillar would continue to be blacked out. The overall revision would alter the side window treatment to be similar to the one on the Ford Fusion, except that the overall shape of the treatment would be quite different on the Intrepid.
2) The hood, front fenders, headlights, grille, and front fascia would be restyled to resemble the 2011 Dodge Charger. Projector beam headlights would be standard.
3) The decklid, rear fenders, taillights, and rear fascia would be restyled to resemble the 2011 Dodge Charger.
4) The interior would be completely overhauled. The design needs to appear sportier with upgraded materials and execution. NVH would be vastly improved and competitive with mainstream midsize sedan rivals, although the environment wouldn't be nearly as vault-like as the Nassau.
5) Handling would be tweaked and tuned to provide a sportier feel, although it wouldn't be harsh, jarring, or completely sacrifice comfort. The Intrepid would have tighter Euro inspired handling.
6) Engines need to be updated/improved. Base 4-speed automatic needs to be replaced by something much more modern.
7) Standard equipment levels would be comparable (or even slightly superior) to other mainstream midsize sedans. Pricing should be almost on par for the class and segment.
8) Alloy wheels, foglights, and dual stainless exhaust would all be standard exterior elements.

I think all these changes would transform these 2 products into some very competitive midsize offerings for Fiat/Chrysler in the U.S. market. The exising Sebring and Avenger are already top safety picks, Fiat/Chrysler just need to work on improving everything else to varying degrees to put the cars back into the consciousness of the buying public.

As far as next gen versions:
* Chrysler Nassau: The next gen Nassau would continue to be offered in sedan and coupe cabrio variants. The overall design would be influenced by the awesome looking 200C EV Concept.
* Dodge Intrepid: The next gen Intrepid would come in sedan and coupe variants. Since Dodge cars have been separated somewhat from Dodge Ram trucks, the next gen Intrepid would have a sleeker and smoother overall design as opposed to the somewhat blockier, truck inspired design of the current Avenger.
 

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Mercury C557
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2 things, Cire

NO disagreement with what I understand of your ideas,
(...actually NetCarShow'ed the models in question)
but
[1] your Sebring-Nassau and Avenger-Intrepid
basically sound to me like changing the Sebring AsMuchAsPossible to look like the
_200C_EV_Concept
and
the Avenger mainly doing a nextgen 80%Charger thing.

Is that more or less a correct ReadersDigest version?
or does it Miss more than it Hits?

&
[2] wanted you to know that someone DID read your proposal ;)
 

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2 things, Cire

NO disagreement with what I understand of your ideas,
(...actually NetCarShow'ed the models in question)
but
[1] your Sebring-Nassau and Avenger-Intrepid
basically sound to me like changing the Sebring AsMuchAsPossible to look like the
_200C_EV_Concept
and
the Avenger mainly doing a nextgen 80%Charger thing.

Is that more or less a correct ReadersDigest version?
or does it Miss more than it Hits?

&
[2] wanted you to know that someone DID read your proposal ;)
Not exactly, although I do appreciate your interest in my proposal.

I'm operating on the assumption that something will be carried over. I don't think Fiat/Chrysler will be out the necessary funds to completely redesign the current Sebring/Avenger when all new versions on Fiat derived platforms are set to arrive in 3 short years. Transforming the Sebring/Avenger into the Nassau/Intrepid would require a little more effort than Ford put into the 2010 Fusion/Milan/MKZ revamps, but not as much effort as Ford put into the 2010 Taurus redesign.

That being said...

The Nassau would basically carry over the doors and roof of the current Sebring with minor changes: the black plastic C-pillar fakeouts would be removed and the side window frames (excluding the B-pillar) would be covered in chrome. The front and rear of the car would be the areas where the major revisions would occur. If my proposal were properly executed, the 2011 Nassau sedan would look somewhat like a Chrysler-ized 7/8 scale 2010 Ford Taurus instead of a production version of the 200C EV Concept (which is what I hope the 2014 Nassau sedan looks like). I chose the Nassau Concept as a design inspiration for the 2011 Nassau because it has some similar looking design cues to the 2010 Ford Taurus. I don't want the 2011 Nassau to look like an exact copy of the 2010 Ford Taurus, but I do want it to have the same angular, formal looking "flavor". The only design element that I borrowed from the 200C EV Concept for the 2011 Nassau was the grille (which I believe will become the new "face" for the Chrysler brand). Nothing short of a complete exterior redesign (which I doubt is in the works for the revised 2011 Chrysler midsize sedan) would make the current Sebring look anything like the beautiful 200C EV Concept; I'm holding onto hope that the 2014 replacement ends up looking like that stunning concept.

You were a lot closer with your interpretation of my 2011 Dodge Intrepid proposal, however. The roofline and front doors would carry over. The rear doors would change drastically. The "kick-up" line in the rear doors would be eliminated and the shape of the back side windows would be shared with the 2011 Nassau. Unlike the 2011 Nassau, the side window frames of the 2011 Intrepid would be body colored (with the exception of the B-pillars) and would simply flow into the lower part of the doors. The front and rear of the 2011 Intrepid would be significantly restyled to resemble the 2011 Charger (which would justify your interpretaion, except that I would say that the 2011 Intrepid would be about 50% next gen Charger; the front and rear would be restyled to pick up the "flavor" of the next gen Charger). The Intrepid would retain the current Avenger's circular wheel well flares (which break up the current Avenger's slab-sided styling), but it wouldn't adopt the sculptured side character line found on the 2011 Charger (which would require an expensive retooling of the front doors, which were unchanged to contain costs).

I would say that the 2011 Nassau's relationship to the 2011 Intrepid would be similar to the Lincoln MKZ's relationship to the Ford Fusion. Like the MKZ/Fusion, I do hope that the next gen Nassau would get its own unique design that is completely distinct and differentiated from the next gen Intrepid.
 

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If I were to rename these cars (which should happen), I would name the Dodge the Intrepid, as others have said. But I would also rename the Chrysler the Concorde. Both of those cars had decent reputations in the mid-late 1990's, but like Ford with Taurus and Sable, allowed those cars to wither in the early 2000's.

In my view, Dodge, and to a lesser extent Chrysler, needs to shed its "Shotgun-Redneck" image and go back to its sleek and savy image that the company had in the 1990s. So, I t hink Chrysler should drop its blocky styling and return to the sleek and rounded styling themes. In my view, the age of blocky, "angry" cars will drop in popularity in favor of sleeker and more "happy" cars.
 
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