Out of the big three US carmakers, Chrysler is definitely looking the worst, as Ford is flying high while General Motors is taking big steps towards full recovery thanks to its solid lineup.
Luckily, for Pentastar fans, the American automaker has some big plans for the end of 2010 and all of next year, which include refreshed vehicles, improved engines and, with some luck, possibly an all-new model, in the form of the Chrysler 200C.
First off, Chrysler is betting big on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, which it hopes will cement Jeep's place among other luxury SUV brands like Cadillac, Lincoln, or even European companies like BMW or Mercedes-Benz. We already talked about the new model, which is heading to dealerships as we speak.
For the next few months, Chrysler is upgrading its Sterling Heights plant, where the Chrysler Sebring and the Dodge Avenger are currently manufactured. Even though the facility was scheduled to be shut down while the company was going through its bankruptcy, it seems that it is now doing better than ever.
What's more, it seems that Chrysler will even hire around 900 more workers, and adding an extra shift, in order to boost production. Besides the existing 1,270 workers at the plant, the Pentastar will bring in laid-off manufacturers from plants located in Detroit, Michigan, Twinsburg, Ohio and Racine, Wisconsin.
Why the boost in productivity? The official reason is that the refreshed Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger models will soon enter production. The two cars haven't exactly been a hit with the American public, even though they are favored by rental companies or fleet customers.
For the 2011 model year editions, Chrysler is planning a few key changes, including a refreshed design, and, for the Sebring convertible, the addition of the all-new Pentastar V6 engine. This is just a halfway step, as in the future, Chrysler, together with its new corporate boss, Fiat, will completely replace the two cars with new models.
Unofficially however, rumors say that Chrysler wants to finally make good on the promise it issued when it revealed the 200C concept at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Just before it started filing for bankruptcy and eventually receiving the government bailout money, the company impressed the media and the general public with the 200C sedan concept.
Now, a batch of patent sketches depicting the new sedan have appeared, and seem to confirm the fact that Chrysler will manufacture the new model. As you can imagine, the company hasn't commented on these rumors, and won't do so until it will make an official announcement, most probably at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of the year.
Until then, the company will be busy working on completely new versions of the Chrysler 300C limousine, as well as the Dodge Charger muscle car. The rear-wheel drive platform underpinning both the models will be thoroughly upgraded, in order to provide better handling and make them more efficient.
It seems that even though Chrysler may have been slow to star recovering from its bankruptcy, things may be kicked into overdrive soon enough.