Chrysler Group’s pair of midsize sedans may become a single model. Reuters reports that the company is considering killing the Dodge Avenger within the next three years and instead focusing on the mechanically identical Chrysler 200.
Chrysler executives reportedly believe the move would help reduce marketing and development costs for the midsize sedan duo, and also prevent one model from “stealing” sales from the other. Dodge brand chief Rob Bigland told Reuters, “If we have two cars that are very similar, it does split dealer focus… Consolidating around one very competitive entry certainly has its advantages.”
A new version of the Chrysler 200 will probably be introduced within the next three years, and at that time the Dodge Avenger probably will not be renewed. Currently, both cars are built in Sterling Heights, Michigan. They were each redesigned for 2011, and the Chrysler was renamed 200 instead of Sebring. Last year the Dodge Avenger saw sales jump 26 percent, while annual sales of the 200 rose 127 percent compared to those of the Sebring a year prior.
The decision to keep the Chrysler model and nix the Dodge Avenger makes sense, as the 200 easily outsells its rival. Last year, sales of the 200 topped 87,033 sales, while the Avenger sold 64,023 examples. Individually, the midsizers lag far behind rivals from both the U.S. and aboard; together, their 2011 sales tally of 151,056 puts the twins in seventh place in the segment, just behind the Chevrolet Malibu’s 204,808 sales.
Bigland also told Reuters that many current Dodge Avenger customers may be won over by the 2013 Dart compact sedan. He said the Dart’s roomy interior and lengthy options list could prove attractive to current buyers of the larger Avenger.