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Auto blogWed, 29 Jan 2014 19:01:00 EST
Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:45:00 EST
$1.8 million is spent each year to maintain GM's fleet of 600 production and concept cars.
When at least two of the Detroit Three were on the verge of death a few years back, one of the tough questions that was asked of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler execs - outside of why execs were still taking private planes to meetings - was why each company maintained huge archives of old production and concept vehicles. GM, for example, had an 1,100-vehicle collection when talk of a federal bailout began.
Autoweek reports the next Chrysler 200 will bow early next year. CEO Sergio Marchionne has said the 2015 model will debut next January, and Chrysler plans to cut the 2014 200 model year short to make way for the model's successor. According to AW, internal documents reveal 2014 model production will start this July and run through early January, 2014. The memos don't specify whether its Dodge Avenger twin will also see a shortened model year (the latter was originally rumored for discontinuation, but a successor is apparently back on the table). Chrysler is investing some $1 billion to construct paint and body facilities at its Sterling Heights, Michigan plant for the next-generation 200.
From what we've heard so far, we can expect the 2015 200 to bring a new design language to the Chrysler brand that will eventually bleed into the automaker's other products. Early reports have also suggested the four door will boast a nine-speed automatic transmission and return up to 38 miles per gallon.
Chrysler executed a very successful facelift in 2011, turning the flailing Sebring into the newly minted 200. Buyers responded enthusiastically, with sales jumping 44 percent in 2012. That step up was enough to make the 200 the brand's best-selling car. The momentum hasn't slackened, either, with sales up 21 percent during the first two months of this year.
Chrysler has announced a recall covering 349,442 vehicles due to ignition switches that can either become stuck or move without warning. All of the affected vehicles are from the 2008 model year, and were built before May 12, 2008.
The automaker has learned that ignition keys on some vehicles "may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position during engine-startup," the company said in a statement. Additionally, "an ignition key may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position and may inadvertently move through the 'ON' position to 'ACCESSORY' or 'OFF.'"
Chrysler says it is unaware of any related injuries, and notes that while reduced braking, engine or steering power is possible in such instances, the airbags are not affected. The later stands in contrast to General Motors' recent rash of high-profile recalls, and it's an important distinction that Chrysler (understandably) felt necessary to call out in bold print in its press release.