The recently launched Chrysler 200 mid-sized sedan is unlikely to come to Australia in the near future.
The second-generation Chrysler 200, which showcases the brand’s new design identity, has been engineered from the ground up and is capable of right-hand-drive production, yet it’s primarily focused on the North American market in the short term.
Speaking with Australian media at today’s Detroit auto show, Chrysler brand president and CEO Al Gardner confirmed the vehicle’s initial focus was on the US.
“[In regards to right-hand drive production] today that’s not on the plan,” Gardner confirmed.
“Would I like to have it in right-hand drive? Yes, but the reality is there are a limited number of places we can put it: Australia, UK, Japan, and so on, and today that’s not on the plan.”
The new Chrysler 200 will be built in an entirely refurbished manufacturing plant in Detroit – the result of a US$1.2 billion investment. Chrysler admits the plant has the capacity and capability to produce the vehicle for international markets.
“[It’s] designed to potentially be an international product. Do we have the ability to that? Absolutely. Are we looking at all those opportunities? Yes.”
Asked why the Chrysler 200 won’t be launched for international markets such as Australia from the start, Gardner admitted it was a question of investment and going for the largest markets first.
“[It] simply comes down to regulations and amounts you want to invest to get it right on day one,” he said.
“We are very, very focused on a huge market (the medium car segment accounts for 2.3 million annual sales in the US). If we could crack a good number in this market and increase our volume, we win.”
The new Chrysler 200 is available in three trims, with two engines and as either front- or all-wheel drive.