Chrysler's redesigned / facelifted Sebring, which will go on sale in the U.S. later this year as the new 200 sedan, was only just released on Tuesday, yet we already have news that it may be sold in mainland Europe as a Lancia and as a Chrysler in the UK and Ireland (the Italian firm has withdrawn from these markets). The Fiat Group is considering the move not so much for retail sales as to help boost fleet sales in key markets such as Germany and the UK.
"We are running numbers to see if it could become a profitable business case," Olivier Francois, CEO of the Chrysler and Lancia brands told Autonews Europe.
The news site reports that a major drawback to this move is that no diesel engine will be available on the 200 in the United States, where the car will be offered with 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engines. However, the report doesn't mention that the current Sebring [Convertible] is offered with a 2.0-liter CRDi turbodiesel engine in certain European markets.
The main problem is the cost and the fact that the 200 would be sold for less than three years in the European market since the Fiat Group is planning to replace the car with all-new model for both Chrysler and Lancia brands in late 2013. The relatively short sale timeframe would make it difficult for the company to recover the investment.
On that note, industry sources state that the Fiat Group will have to spend around €50 million ($70 million) to modify the 200 for Europe. This number is said to include adapting the car for diesel engine(s) as well as redesigning certain parts such as bumpers and lights.
If the Fiat Group makes a business case for the Lancia-badged 200, expect to see the car arriving in the market in the second-half of 2011.
Source: ANE [Sub. Req]
*The opening picture is a Carscoop photoshop