By on April 29, 2010

Chrysler won’t officially confirm it, but the Detroit Free Press cites Chrysler dealers who say that the tarnished-to-death Sebring nameplate will be replaced with the name “Nassau,” when Chrysler brings out a Fiat-facelifted version of the midsized sedan later this year. The Nassau name first entered Mopar history with the 1955 Windsor Nassau, a a two-door coupe advertised as having “the 100 million dollar look.” After a mere two model years as the Windsor Coupe nameplate, the Nassau name lay dormant for decades before returning as a 2000 styling buck for the Chrysler 300, and again as a midsized sedan/wagon concept in 2007.

Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics tells the Freep that although the updated Sebring won’t look like the Nassau concept,

Chrysler bought the Nassau name when they came out with the concept, so it makes sense they would use it

But what’s in a name? Although the Freep says the Nassau’s interiors are “completely new,” it only says exterior styling will be “substantially different.” And since the Nassau is merely an update to one of the worst cars in America, will the nameplate die when an all-new, Fiat-developed midsized sedan arrives in 2013? If Chrysler’s history is anything to go on, the name certainly appears to be little more than a placeholder.

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28 Comments on “Out With The Sebring, In With The… Nassau?...”


  • avatar
    Ryan

    If you take the word “Nassau” and add a few letters it also spells: What an extreme waste of taxpayers money-this joke of an automobile company is going to fail for the third time in 30 years.

    Weird…

  • avatar
    relton

    It was called “the hundred million dollar look” because that’s how much money Chrysler pressured its main creditors and stockholders, mostly insurance companies, to throw in the pot in 1953 to finance the new cars and stve off bankruptcy. Just another of Chrysler’s brushes with death by bankruptcy, only this one turned out OK.

    Virgil Exner’s new cars were a hit, and Chrysler was saved, at least until 1960.

    Bob

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Chrysler sales hit the skids in 1953-54, if I recall correctly, because its styling was outdated, it was slow to offer a fully automatic transmission, and the Ford Blitz was in full swing.

      Exner’s 1955 designs saved the company. On the strength of their success, Chrysler management rushed his proposed 1958 designs into production for 1957. The cars were a hit, but the lack of proper development time meant that they were plagued by shoddy build quality, serious water leaks and severe rust problems. Sales plunged for 1958, and Chrysler lost money. A major payola scandal involving top executive and suppliers had stockholders up in arms in 1960, and the company was again headed for oblivion. Lynn Townsend got the company rolling with better quality and saner styling (he also fired Exner), but by 1970 it was once again in trouble with serious quality problems and lackluster cars.

      Chrysler has had more peaks and valleys than a roller coaster.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I want the hood rakes.

  • avatar
    tced2

    I have read elsewhere that the current Chrysler doesn’t own the “Nassau” name. It was left behind with the *old* Chrysler – owned by Cerebus.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Just speculation so far. Sergio will hold his cards close to his vest. So don’t bank on anything until it’s officially announced. But for a better look at the new Sebring/whatever will look like (hint: it’s not the pic above) go to Allpar:

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/chrysler/200C.html

    Ryan,

    Not to sound like a broken record, but Chrysler has never used taxpayer money (in a bailout sense) until just recently. Even now the government equity/loan money is small potatoes compared to GM. So much smaller that Chrysler will probably pay theirs back and GM (which likes to lie about how they repaid their loan “early with interest” copying a phrase Chrysler used when it paid back the banks in early 80’s) will almost never pay back what the government has thrown at them. Hell, Chrysler may pay back before Ford does, since Ford’s debt is so large.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      But Ford is actually turning a profit now, and it is bringing new product to the showroom. Customers only care about what is actually in the showroom, not about concept cars talked about on automotive websites.

    • 0 avatar
      Rusted Source

      I knew I should have bought stocks in imitation chrome when I had the chance…

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Don’t get me wrong, color me very impressed by Ford’s performance as of late. However, that’s a whole lot ‘o’ money they owe and it’s not to Uncle Sugar but to private banks that expect to paid back.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryan

      Windswords,

      I was making reference to the fact that Chrysler (Government Guaranteed Loans or the recent Government Bailout) has proven that they cannot and will not survive on their own. -EVER- I am not sure what you were referencing. Truthfully, I am equally disgusted in GM. In my opinion GM will come out of this for the better. Chrysler, not so much. Call me old fashioned, I think Ford deserves credit. They are carrying a huge amount of debt yet still in business on their own fruition.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Slightly updated Malibu Maxx – should do just as well too.

    -ted

  • avatar
    mjz

    I’m not sure I like “Nassau” but they really have to change the Sebring name. It is the poster child for poor design/engineering/quality (thank you, Daimler). Personally, I think they should have gone with 200C, maybe that will be used for the Fiat based replacement in 2013.

  • avatar
    undrgnd40

    they tried this already with the dodge magnum. it would potentially make a better cuv bodystyle. chrysler/dodge desperately need a competitive fwd midsize car.

  • avatar

    Let the “Nausea” jokes begin! What a farce… this car, Chrysler, the whole shebang.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Can’t wait for ‘em! What a fantastic time to be a Chrysler man!

    I’m wondering, though, what this cycle will do for Dodge’s Avenger and Journey. The latter is a wonderfully spunky little vanillawagen that’s done fair to well in the market. Avenger, last I heard, wasn’t so hamstrung as Sebring. Will they leave them alone, or polish them into gems?

    • 0 avatar

      iNeon, have you been smoking some paper head gaskets or something? LOL.

      I’ll give you this: the Journey is by far one of the best products currently being offered by Fiasler. Which is sad, because it’s not very competitive at all in its segment.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Well I’m certainly not as giddy as you, I have noticed that the Avenger seems to be getting better reviews than the Sebring even though they’re based on the same platform. What’s the deal? Differnet supsension or what?

    • 0 avatar
      undrgnd40

      my bro-in-law just bought an avenger a few weeks ago. it has a decent and quiet highway ride and the v6 is adequate. i thought it was a step up from the sebring as well.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      No, I haven’t been smoking paper head gaskets. The Sebring/Avenger/Journey really just aren’t that bad. Sure, they feel like plastic-lined tombs; so don’t Accords and Camrys. That rubber paint stuff everyone seems to think is fancy– it’s not. Neither is cottage cheese texture plastic, for that matter.

      Kudos to Chrysler for going in a different direction on this generation! The spatter plastics weren’t so successful, but they’re as much a departure as they are a failure. And that’s a success of sorts.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    IMO Chrysler would make a huge mistake attempting to sell this type of bodystyle in the United States. It is a well known fact that hatchbacks sell only in very limited numbers in the U.S. market. Makes me wonder what Chryco is thinking about to introduce a hatchback in the midsize segment. This is a surefire failure in a market segment Chryco needs a home run in to be viable.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    The article says that the car won’t look like the one depicted. They say they’ll be using the Nassau name and that’s about it. The “Nassau” will be a facelifted Sebring with a better interior.

    I agree that making their midsize entry entirely hatchbacks would be a mistake in hatchback averse** USA, but having a hatchback model in the mix wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Someone mentioned the Malibu Maxx and I found it kind of amusing because as I look out my office window there is one parked below me now. That was actually a nice, practical concept which was sabotaged by GM’s half-assed approach to cars at the time they introduced it.

    **The profound interest in SUV/CUV’s puts the lie to this myth but lets run with it anyhow…

  • avatar
    mjz

    This is a photo of the Nassua CONCEPT from a few years back. They are going to use the name, not the body style. It will be available as a sedan and convertible, like the Sebring. No hatchback is planned.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    To me this photo looks more like the Alfa w/ Chrysler grill concept that was at this year’s NAIS.

    If this photo isn’t representative of the bodystyle Chryco intends to build it shouldn’t have been placed in this thread.

    I thought the 200 hybrid concept they showed had excellent styling. IMO it was better looking than any other current midsize entry. That is the car they should build.

    As far as the Nassau name I don’t think it makes any difference what they call it, if it has good styling it will sell.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I’ll vote. Nassau is a bad name. Almost nobody alive remembers the last time the name was on a Chrysler. Most everybody will think of either an island in the carribbean, or a county in New York. If you have to go with heritage names, why not Newport or Cordoba. Or Fireflite or Adventurer. Or any one of a dozen others.
    But Sebring is not a bad name, but the name was just on an unappealing car. The name had some positive equity in the years of nice Sebring convertibles, and a car promoted as “The NEW Sebring” could do well, if it is a good and appealing car.
    The carmakers need to get away from this “once and done” use of model names. There are some with real baggage, like Volare, which should just be forgotten. But with Sebring, the problem was the car, not the name. Don’t let one fudged attemp ruin a good name.

  • avatar

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Nassau could be successful. Okay, so the Sebring/Avenger platform isn’t great, and what we’re talking about is basically new front and back clips and a different interior.

    So will it be hamstrung by an obsolete platform? Not necessarily. Toyota’s only used 3 completely new Camry platforms in almost 30 years.

    If the 200c is really the styling basis of the Nassau, that’s a good sign since it was an attractive concept and well received by both the press and the public. Good styling should go a long way towards distinguishing the Nassau from the Sebring in consumers’ eyes. How the car does, I think, will depend on the new interior.

    Interior design has been ramped up across the industry. Both GM and Ford have tried to distinguish their latest cars with improved interior design and production. If the Nassau interior looks cheap or has any shortcomings at all, the critics will jump all over it, so Chrysler/Fiat has little room for error.

  • avatar

    Is it just me or do the “new” chrysler cars look like they have cataracts?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I wonder what the likelihood is that the Sebring/Nassau will end up being another Taurus/Five Hundred/Taurus? In that case, Ford’s Mulhaley made the correct call by successfully bringing back the recognizable Taurus nameplate after they’d managed to foul it up with years of neglecting the car.

    Likewise, ‘Sebring’ is a good nameplate affixed to what was once an okay car (well, okay for Chrysler, anyway). I don’t see renaming another feeble attempt ‘Nassau’ as doing much of anything to increase sales.


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