Dodge boss Reid Bigland reveals Chrysler may drop Avenger and focus on 200 Sedan

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 10, 2012

Chrysler Group LLC may dismiss the Dodge Avenger in the next three years while it readies a refurbishment of the better-selling Chrysler 200 sedan, which is built on the same platform, Reid Bigland, head of the Dodge brand, said in an interview with Reuters at the Detroit Auto Show. He further stated that the Chrysler Group will "likely" merge around one midsize vehicle in the future.

By working on a single model, Chrysler can lower development and marketing costs. This also takes out the risk that one model might scrape sales from the other in the same showroom. The Chrysler 200, known before as the Sebring, and the Dodge Avenger are manufactured at the automaker's Sterling Heights, Mich., facility. They were overhauled in 2010. Bigland shared that if they have two vehicles that are "very similar," dealer focus is split.

Bigland also stated that consolidating around one "very competitive" entry has its advantages. Avenger sales in the U.S. increased 26 percent in 2011 to 64,023. Meanwhile, sales of the 200 hit 87,033 units. However, both models are positioned behind the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and Nissan Altima in sales.

Prior to its federal bailout in 2009, Chrysler was pushed to the brink of collapse with its unsustainable cost structure and uninspiring vehicle range. The automaker emerged from bankruptcy, with the Italian automaker Fiat SpA getting management control. Under CEO Sergio Marchionne, Fiat and Chrysler are combining their operations and they have formed a joint platform based on Fiat engineering that will underpin many of the group's future automobiles.

Chrysler launched the Dodge Dart compact vehicle, the first automobile off this platform, during the Detroit auto show. Later on, the roomy interior of the Dart could win over some consumers who might have considered the Avenger, Bigland stated.

Dodge’s Avenger has a cabin that is impressively quiet, thanks to the carmaker’s engineers who found a way to block all the noise from outside. The car has reduced noise, vibration, and harshness, and it has 45 new sound-cancelling treatments, which include laminated sound glass, an acoustic glass windshield, and new sound absorption materials that are applied throughout the car. Additionally, the Avenger has a 2.4-L World Gas Engine with a three-point mount system.

You will surely appreciate the Dodge Avenger’s new exterior styling, with its smooth and clean, yet aggressive lines. Its better sculpted front fascia carries Dodge’s signature “split crosshair” grille. Meanwhile, the lower fascia has a honeycomb-textured grille that boasts projector beam fog lamps. Just like the front, the rear fascia also has a more sculpted look, with “ring of fire” LED taillamps providing a recognizable on-road presence.

Stepping into the Dodge Avenger’s interior will make you feel the world-class craftsmanship, as well as the content and comfort it brings. For one, the car’s all-new instrument panel, gauge faces, bezels, and multifunctional three-spoke steering wheel will give you a cockpit-like experience. Then you will also admire the soft-to-the-touch armrests and instrument panel, as well as the premium interior finishes that are pleasing to the eye.

Moreover, the heating and cooling outlets have been redesigned to seamlessly fit into the instrument panel. You will also love sinking into the upgraded, well-cushioned seats and pick your preference from new leather and other upholstery options. The car’s interior color schemes as well as its accent stitching round off the makeover for the new Avenger.

Additionally, the Dodge Avenger has high-tech features that are designed to keep you connected with your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You can also operate the radio, hands-free phone, cruise control, and other vehicle functions without having to take your hands off the wheel, thanks in part to the new steering wheel that features integrated controls and new ambient lighting for the interior.

What’s more, you can stay connected through an available media center featuring easy-to-use voice command with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, iPod connectivity, 30-gigabyte hard drive, streaming music capability, and navigation system equipped with SIRIUS Travel Link that provides real-time information.

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