Chrysler’s second-generation 200 midsizer will reportedly introduce a new design direction for the brand when it is officially unveiled later this year.
Speaking with industry site WardsAuto, Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles suggested the new model will benefit from direct involvement from Chrysler CEO Saad Chehab and Fiat/Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne.
“The current Chryslers on the road today certainly don’t reflect where we’re headed,” Gilles said. “(The new 200) shares no surface language with any previous Chrysler we’ve ever seen.”
Both Chehab and Marchionne were reportedly instrumental in the new model’s direction, with the intention of balancing its new design aesthetic with market relevance in the 200’s globally-competitive mid-size segment.
Gilles confirmed that the current 200’s platform stablemate Dodge Avenger will be dropped from the lineup in 2014 - destined to be replaced by a new model featuring greater differentiation from its Chrysler counterpart.
This intended differentiation reflects Marchionne’s plans to eliminate market cannibalism among the Fiat/Chrysler Group’s brands.
Unlike the current model, which sits on a rehashed version of its Sebring predecessor’s platform, the new 200 will use a midsize version of the Fiat/Chrysler Group’s CUSW architecture.
Another side benefit of the 200’s use of the CUSW global platform is the likelihood of right-hand drive versions, which would enable the 200 to better compete with the likes of Toyota’s Camry, Honda’s Accord, and Mazda’s 6 on across global markets.
The 2014 200’s driveline options are yet to be confirmed, but whispers suggest that the new model will be the first Chrysler-badged product to use the new ZF nine-speed automatic transmission - promising great advances in both driveability and fuel efficiency.