Ralph Gilles is probably known better for his hand in the 2013 SRT Viper, but when he isn’t overseeing the SRT brand, he’s also Chrysler’s chief designer.
Donning the less exciting of his two hats, Gilles told Ward’s Auto that the 2014 Chrysler 200 will herald a new design language for the brand – something he says it couldn’t be farther from representing now.
“The current Chryslers on the road today certainly don’t reflect where we’re headed,” he said. “What I can safely say is we are deviating from where we are today, completely. It’s a very different feeling [and] look. [The new 200] shares no surface language with any previous Chrysler we’ve ever seen.”
While he didn’t elaborate on what direction the styling will go for the 200 and ultimately the Chrysler brand, Gilles did says he felt the vehicle will be “beautiful and relevant;” two things it currently isn’t.
If Chrysler is aiming to compete against midsize cars making a splash on the market now, it will be locking horns with the likes of the 2013 Ford Fusion. Last year, Ford debuted its new sedan wearing what’s called the Aston grille for obvious reasons. While that still can’t offer hints at what Chrysler has up its sleeve, it at least offers an idea of how far the design will need to go to make a splash.
When the car debuts, it’s expected to have a nine-speed automatic transmission while power will remain sourced from a 2.4-liter four cylinder and a larger V6. Previous reports suggest Chrysler is spending a whopping $2 billion to revamp the 200 – a number that makes more sense given what’s likely to be a design language applied across the brand.
Looking more specifically at the 200, Chrysler is aiming to move the 200 from an afterthought in the midsize segment to a front runner with 38 mpg thanks to the new transmission. The interior is also expected to improve dramatically with more luxurious trim like quilted leather upholstery.
[Source: Ward’s Auto]
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