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Unfulfilled Promise: Chrysler's 2009 200C EV Concept

As Chrysler navigates its course toward an all-electric future, a reflective glance at the 2009 Chrysler 200C EV Concept reveals a compelling vision unfulfilled—a design masterpiece poised to redefine the brand’s trajectory in the realm of electric mobility. Exterior Brilliance: A Visionary Statement in Design – “Designed for the car lover, the Chrysler 200C EV … (read full article...)

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crouchta

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I agree. Chrysler as a brand has wasted many
concepts in the last 20 years, this one being the biggest (most beautiful) loss in my opinion.
 

cgseller

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I agree. Chrysler as a brand has wasted many
concepts in the last 20 years, this one being the biggest (most beautiful) loss in my opinion.
Elements made it into the first 200 (exterior) and last 200 (the interior angled console w/ pass through).
 

patfromigh

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The range extended power train was developed by a vendor. The people running the show in Auburn Hills at the time were mainly trying to strip and flip the company. The 200 Concept toured the auto show circuit in 2009 along with other ENVI concepts. The following year the Chevrolet Volt would enter product and be on sale that December as a 2011 model. GM's Voltec power train technology was better than what the ENVI vehicles had, in my opinion. This made the ENVI range extending system obsolete and the dismal performance of the BMW i3 range extender confirms this.

Also, in my opinion, the Chrysler 200 we finally received was trying to be a four door pony car and not a proper sedan. There was no room for batteries and the only hybrid that did show up for the Chrysler brand under the FCA tenure is the Pacifica minivan. (The Aspen hybrid was built under a different management regime.) Before we criticize FCA leadership too harshly for the Chrysler 200 design which did eventually go into production, remember that the previous management from that leveraged buyout firm were planning a rebadged Nissan Altima, CVT and all.

About the other ENVI concepts, we haven't received a Wrangler EV yet, but we do have Jeep Wranglers and Grand Cherokees with the 4Xe plugin hybrid system. We did receive a plugin hybrid minivan. The Lotus based Dodge Circuit EV sports car toured with the Chrysler 200 concept at that time. The previous year there was a Dodge ZEO concept on tour. If one squints their eyes hard enough, then the Dodge Hornet PHEV is what the ZEO concept eventually became. Allegedly the Circuit project was well under way until Sergio and Co killed it. It's not like the Italians lack for coach builders and needed to rely on Lotus. In another thread the Lancia Ypsilon is being savaged, and is basically being a better Dodge Circuit. Since the Lancia is based on a Chinese Made Platform, we won't see a badge engineered Dodge version available stateside.

Speaking of other threads, I wrote previously in a different thread how disappointed I was that there never was a follow up to the Jeep Patriot Re-EV concept. The particular concept has the size and proportions which many potential customers want. The Patriot concept is basic, straight forward, and wasn't trying to be science fiction. So many of today's EV interiors with these door to door laminate touchscreens have no buttons, but do use plenty of hierarchal menus for spending hours just trying to turn off the radio. I have deal with this stuff on a daily basis and hate it.

Could there be smaller range extender in addition to that the massive Pentastar V6 setup in the Ramcharger? Well in another thread there is coverage of the 1.0 liter Turbo Flex three cylinder going into the Ram 700 for Lain America. A naturally aspirated vision of the same motor is also used in other Stellantis vehicles. There are also other 3 cylinder engine designs in the Stellantis universe. The upcoming Wagoneer EV with range extender will be mammoth and anything but entry level. Jeep can't afford to abandon the middle class buyers.

Getting back to the Chrysler 200C EV concept, it remains a path not taken. The Toyota and Lexus brands are going hog wild with hybrids and plugin hybrids, across a wide range of market slots and price ranges. Would a largish electrified sedan be successful in today's SUV obsessed market? We can examine Toyota Crown sales and find out.
 
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200C Ghost

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What a shame! Obviously the FCA Bean Counters messed this up! So much was stripped and changed with the final production model. FCA 'downsized' the final edition comparing it to a Chevy Cruse when in length is was just short of the Ford Fusion! (From the front bumper to the C pillar it was in th Fusion Class, just narrower) The final model was so different from the concept as it should not have been produced The Concept car was beautiful and art in motion carrying the hints of what the next 300 was going to be but was delayed, delayed, delayed and never went into production! I always wanted to see what the next gen 300 would have looked like.
 

patfromigh

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The Chrysler 200C concept was not introduced under FCA oversight. This was still during the Cerberus tenure. The 200C concept is based on a modified Lx platform with a rear drive bias. The front drive Chrysler Sebring was the brand's midsize at that time. Both the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger were worst in class because Daimler's Penney pinching left the midsize cars with cheap substandard interior materials, sloppy suspension tuning, and the Hyundai / Mitsubishi / Chrysler "World" four cylinder engine. When FCA stepped in they poured a ton of money into the midsize cars as well as the Belvedere Trio to make them acceptable in the marketplace. The Sebring's reputation was so bad at this point FCA changed the name to the 200. The next midsize offering waiting in the wings was going to be a badge engineered Nissan Altima. There was no further development on the 200C or any midsize car done under the Cerberus oversight. The 200C and the other ENVI concepts were part of a smokescreen to cover up stripping and flipping planned under the leveraged buyout firm.

Sergio and Company stepped into Auburn Hills and resurrected a dead Chrysler Corporation. While the corpse they dragged back from the curb was free, it cost them a ton of money to bring it back to life. None of the ENVI projects would have been successful. Cerberus put Bob Nardelli and his stooges in charge of Chrysler where they managed to anger many of the suppliers, including the company which was slated to provide the range extender system for the concepts, if they reached production. Chrysler was locked into a contract with A123 for batteries, which was a financial time bomb waiting to explode. There was still a rear drive based Hemi Hybrid setup using an Allison hybrid transmission. GM stilled owned Allison at the time, and was severely gouging the old Chrysler Co. on the price per unit. This situation dates back to the Daimler management who had arranged the deal. None of these electrification efforts could have been successful in the marketplace, but any one of these might have been successful in killing the Chrysler company.

Now about that Chrysler 200 which did eventually show up in the showrooms, I will layout a timeline. Sergio Marchionne had recently saved Fiat from extinction by forcing GM to pay up some two billion Dollars of alimony in a divorce with Fiat. This happened just four years before Mr. Marchionne stepped into Auburn Hills. Alfa Romeo was a unit of Fiat Spa at the time GM was influencing the doings in Torino, just prior to the breakup. Those of us who were paying attention during the early 2000's decade remember that "World" cars were all the rage in the automobile industry. GM was particularly susceptible to this and most likely those dormant Alfa Romeo designs, which became the Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200, were influenced by this.

Going back to the timeline, when Daimler invaded Auburn Hills Bob Lutz went back to his old employer GM. He was midwife to the Chevy Volt project and the beautiful new Malibu which showed up in 2008. Unfortunately that was right at the time the economy collapsed, and once again Bob left an automobile company. The Obama regime got to pick who ran General Motors, but that's another story. That generation of the Malibu was clearly the class leader, but the sedan market was collapsing. The Ford Fusion is now gone as well as the Chrysler 200, and a different Malibu hangs on by a thread.
 

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