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2011 Chrysler 200 (Chrysler)
2011 Chrysler 200 (Chrysler)

Driving It Home

Chrysler promises more car for less money Add to ...

Chrysler Canada president Reid Bigland is planning a big push for the Sebring mid-size sedan, which has not only been restyled for 2011, but also renamed the "200."

"It's truly an enormous upgrade from where we were with the old Sebring," he says. "I think we can do something with it (the 200), but then I have nothing to lose."

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Of all the product disasters that have befallen Chrysler over the past half dozen years, the Sebring may be the most egregious of them all. But Chrysler design boss Ralph Gilles says the restyled 200 not only looks better - much better, inside and out - its ride and handling have been improved thanks to some clever suspension tuning and new tire choices.

The world will see the new Sebring - ahem, 200 - this week at the Los Angeles auto show where Chrysler will have a presence after being essentially absent for two years. Last year, the lights in the Chrysler area of the show were literally turned off. Chrysler was dark and the future appeared grim for the 50,000 souls who work for Chrysler.

There is, however, renewed hope within the company for a future, despite all the naysayers. One measure of the new Chrysler will be what the company has done to make consumers forget about the Sebring and become acquainted with the 200.

Gilles argues that his designers have done "every bit, if not more than, what Ford did to the Fusion" in remaking the 200. The front and back fascias are completely restyled and the handling dynamics have been rethought. The cabin is quieter, too, by some 10 decibels.

Bigland says the most important news of all is the big price reduction Chrysler Canada is planning for the 200/Sebring. More car for less money - that's one proven way to get buyers interested. But will they actually buy into what Chrysler has done to the 200?

Chrysler 200 a new and improved Sebring

2011 Chrysler 200
The auto maker compares the redesign to Ford's revamped Fusion

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