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Chrysler lops 200’s top

200 drop-top: Chrysler's latest is unlikely to see the light of day in Australia.

200 convertible announced by Chrysler but unlikely for Australia

24 Jan 2011

CHRYSLER has issued photos and details of its Sebring-replacing 200 drop-top, giving people planning to visit North America a preview of what their vehicle is likely to look like should they tick the convertible box on the hire car form.

Chrysler has no plans to bring the 200 convertible or sedan to Australia and right-hand drive production is likely to remain on the back-burner until at least the next model revision.

A thorough re-skin and update of the outgoing Sebring – convertible versions of which are still on sale in Australia – the new 200 drop-head will offer the choice of a folding steel roof or conventional soft-top, both of which can be retracted using a button on the key fob.

Like the sedan, the convertible will come with a choice of the company’s new 3.6-litre, 208kW Pentastar V6 or 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, both driving through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Chrysler said the car would arrive generously specified and feature a high level of safety gadgetry.

The new interior design aims to improve comfort, ergonomics and perceived quality with redesigned seats and soft-touch coverings for most contact surfaces.

The centre console will feature a voice-operated media centre with satellite radio that can store music on a 30-gigabyte hard drive and is compatible with DVD, CD and MP3 media.

11 center imageAccording to Chrysler, the suspension has been thoroughly overhauled and retuned to “provide drivers a fun, confident handling performance in all driving situations”.

Chrysler Australia looks to be in danger of having empty showrooms, save for the Grand Voyager people-mover. The PT Cruiser, 300C wagon and Sebring sedan have all been discontinued, with the Sebring convertible in heavily discounted run-out with no replacement on the agenda.

The 300C sedan is also being discounted as a new model is being prepared for production.

Chrysler Australia senior manager for marketing and corporate communications Dean Bonthorne remains confident the next generation 300C will make it to Australia.

“The all-new 300C will most certainly be built in RHD and we expect to see it in Australia early 2012,” he said.

“In the meantime, we’ll continue to offer the current 300C range in line with our sales plan, with some great offers available to customers.

“Similarly, we still have Sebring Cabrio currently in the Chrysler range, along with the impressive Grand Voyager, which is set for an update late this year.”

Mr Bonthorne promised “some very exciting times ahead”, and that we should expect “a significant number of all-new models in categories not previously occupied by the Chrysler brand”.

This is likely to be hinting at models based on Fiat group’s new Compact platform, which debuted on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and is flexible enough to underpin various body sizes and types, including SUVs.

Chrysler sales, which boomed during November in response to heavy discounting of the 300C sedan and Sebring convertible, continued to surge in December with 231 sales, up 106.3 per cent compared with December 2009.

Despite this late rally, Chrysler still recorded a 19.5 per cent slump in volume for the full year.

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