Sebring or Avenger? That is the choice as Chrysler looks to cull one of its mid-sized models in a company-wide simplification program that will create more casualties.
Chrysler's Crossfire, PT Cruiser convertible, Pacifica wagon and Dodge Magnum wagon were all given a death sentence last year and the company's new president, Jim Press, confirms there will be more cuts as it looks to revitalise its bottom line.
Press says many model duplications will be removed to ensure three distinct paths for the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands.
Dodge will concentrate on performance, Jeep on adventure lifestyle and Chrysler will be the luxury brand.
The Sebring and Avenger are the same car in different clothes and Press admits one will go.
“Yes. But we don't have a timeline,” he says.
“Directionally, we realise that's where we have to go.”
Chrysler design director Trevor Creed says the decision will be made at model changeover.
“We're not talking about now. We're talking about next generation,” he says.
“At the next generation we'll decide which one will be renewed and which one will be hasta la vista.
“That's something that will have to be determined and marketing will come to me and say, `We've decided we're going to do this segment again and this time only Chrysler — or only Dodge.”
The current Sebring and Avenger were launched only last year, so they should live for at least four years despite the death sentence, making it easier to fit a single replacement into a new strategy.
“Once the strategic direction is clear and we've decided what we want to be when we grow up, it will be relatively easy,” Press says.
“It's tough to make the right decisions en route. We need to change the perception of our brands, and that's a big move. It's like eating an elephant one bite at a time.”
Chrysler Group Australia welcomes the plans for product rationalisation, but believes the Avenger and Sebring are not a complete overlap here.
“At the end of the day, we're driven by customer preference,” managing director Gerry Jenkins says.
“As for Sebring and Avenger, their style and positioning appeal to different tastes. We'll see what the future holds.”