Chrysler's 200 sedan hasn't blown minds in its home market, but according to reports out of the US, next year's all-new model could change that.
Speaking with The Detroit News, Chrysler dealer David Kelleher described the new model as "a complete home-run". And, while Kelleher has a vested interest in the brand, he wasn't shy about acknowledging the brand's past failings.
“I’ve been selling Chryslers since 1992 and, heck, I don’t know if we’ve ever been competitive in that market,” he told the paper.
But Kelleher reckons the next model, which is expected in January, has the styling and quality needed to tackle the best midsizers out of Europe and Asia.
“It’s got that strength of a very, very expensive European sedan like a Mercedes, but it’s definitively American," he said.
Elsewhere, Chrysler brand boss Saad Chehab has singled out a number of key styling rivals in an interview with Bloomberg, including the Ford Fusion (our next Mondeo), the Hyundai Sonata (replaced here by the i40) and the Kia Optima.
“We react to things we see no matter where they are and the Fusion is one of the stops we made,” Chehab said.
“Our challenge was that if any of us walk into a room and look at the car, is my jaw going to drop?”
Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles has previously described the new 200 as a "clean sheet" design, meaning we shouldn't expect to see a mini 300.
“The current Chryslers on the road today certainly don’t reflect where we’re headed,” Chrysler design boss Ralph Gilles told US site Wards Auto earlier this year.
“(The new 200) shares no surface language with any previous Chrysler we’ve ever seen.”
The new 200 is expected to ride on a Fiat-derived platform, utilising a version of the architecture found beneath the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Dodge Dart, along with the new Jeep Cherokee an upcoming Alfa Giulia.
Adopting this platform also means that a right-hand-drive model could be on the cards, giving Chrysler outposts like Australia the option of a model beneath the big 300 sedan.
Engine options for the new 200 have not been confirmed, but it is expected that the nine-speed automatic transmission of the new Cherokee will also feature in the Chrysler sedan.