The sharp new 2015 Chrysler 200 may look like a considerably more premium car than before, but we were surprised to hear at the 200’s official reveal at the 2014 Detroit auto show that it will actually be cheaper than its lackluster predecessor. Head of Chrysler brand Al Gardner announced the starting price for the 2015 Chrysler 200 as $22,695 (including destination), right in the mix with midsize sedan best-sellers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Chrysler 200 product chief Andy Love said that the new, more premium positioning for the 2015 Chrysler 200 is meant to react to the midsize sedan market’s recent move upmarket. “In this segment, the cars are becoming more and more premium,” Love said, referencing touches on the 200 like the rotary shift knob and LED daytime running lamps up front. He then mentioned the Ford Fusion Titanium as a key target for the 200, as the Chrysler 200 will offer all-wheel-drive like the Fusion. The value proposition for this car is a clear priority, as a 2015 Chrysler 200S—the so-called “sport” model—with the 295-hp V-6 and all-wheel-drive, will come in at under $30,000. A Ford Fusion Titanium AWD, with considerably less power than the Chrysler, starts at $33,425.
Gardner introduced the 200 as the “Chrysler flagship,” an interesting claim considering Love’s statement that the 200 is targeted at the mainstream family sedan segment. Love also said that entry-level luxury sedans like the Lexus ES and Lincoln MKZ were not in consideration as targets for the 2015 Chrysler 200, because Chrysler is not a premium brand and doesn't believe the 200 overlaps with these models. Love then went on to emphasize the importance of the content-to-price ratio in this car, calling the Chrysler 200S V-6 AWD “an Acura TL SH-AWD for $13,000 less.” Bold claim from Chrysler, but we’ll see how the 200’s driving dynamics back up this claim in a few months.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 looks sharp inside and out; if Chrysler can get this car launched without a hitch, it could be a major step forward compared with the current car’s mediocrity.