Wednesday, January 9, 2008

IL Insider: Chrysler Moves Up Timetable for Redesign of Sebring/Avenger

EDMUNDS | AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Supplier sources familiar with the product cycle plans at Chrysler tell Inside Line that the automaker is "trying to move investment up" in the effort to improve the Sebring, Avenger and Sebring Convertible even earlier than originally planned.

Look for interiors on those three key vehicles to be redone in time for the 2010 model year or shortly thereafter. "The interiors are too cheap," said one highly placed industry source. "We call it 'the Sebring problem.' That vehicle is dying on the vine and it's only a year old. They got cheap on everybody and said 'the customer doesn't mind hard plastic and ugly grain [in the cabin]."

Sources said Chrysler is moving resources away from other vehicles to fix the Sebring, Avenger and Sebring Convertible, which originally were scheduled for a redesign in 2011 or later.

In the meantime, a major revision, inside and out, is on tap for the big Chrysler 300 sedan in the 2011 model year.

With new owner Cerberus accounting for every penny, there apparently is mounting concern about the future of the Dodge Viper. Sources say Chrysler is prepared to "make an instantaneous decision" to discontinue the Viper, especially if it "no longer can deliver the desired halo effect."

What this means to you: Chrysler continues to rethink its product portfolio on what appears to be a daily basis. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

The Chrysler Sebring currently comes in convertible (above) and sedan (below) versions but has been a slow seller. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Chrysler Sebring Sedan. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Sources say the interiors of the Sebring and Avenger are "too cheap." Pictured: Chrysler Sebring interior. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger suffer from what one industry source calls "hard plastic and ugly grain" inside. Pictured: Sebring interior detail. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
The Dodge Avenger (2008 model pictured) was originally scheduled for a redesign in 2011 or later, but the timetable for it and the Sebring have moved. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)

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