Even when manufacturers restrict access to events, press fleets and product previews, TTAC manages to get the juicy details, thanks to an overlooked segment of the automotive industry. Our network of supplier sources is far and wide, spanning all tiers and market segments, and our latest bit of information comes from one source, who raised an interesting question about the Chrysler 200.
According to our source, the 200 is a pretty impressive looking car. The leaked photos that appeared at the end of 2013 are accurate, and the interior is just as striking. Along with the corporate 2.4L 4-cylinder and 3.6L Pentastar engine will be a 9-speed transmission, along with lots of other technology designed to save fuel.
But according to our source, there’s one big problem. “It might not be big enough”. Our source expressed concerns that the 200 suffered from the same fate as the Chevrolet Malibu, in that the passenger compartment, and the rear seat area, would be too small for American consumers.
The Malibu, as many will recall, was hung out to dry by the press, including our own Jack Baruth, for being an awful car. I happen to agree with Michael Karesh’s view that the 2.0T is a pretty good car, a victim of an overzealous press that chose the Malibu as a low-risk whipping boy for their Two-Minutes Hate.
Having already botched the launch of the Dart and the Cherokee, the 200 is one that they must get right. A poor model mix and unfortunate pricing (the larger, more powerful Avenger can be had for cheaper in some instances) hampered the Dart’s success, and Chrysler has used up their goodwill on the Cherokee launch – they won’t be able to take the courageous step of delaying the launch of the 200 without looking incompetent. A refresh 18 months in, like GM did with the Malibu, is not an option. We’ll know next week if Chrysler has a hit on their hands or not.