Chrysler's 200 rollout plan: Patience pays

Chrysler began shipping the redesigned 2015 200s to dealers in early May.

CHELSEA, Mich. — Chrysler dealers eager to crank up sales of the redesigned 2015 200 will have to wait a few more months.

The automaker is ramping up production of the car at a deliberate pace, said Al Gardner, Chrysler brand chief. The strategy also gives dealers time to clear out old 200s,

About 17,000 unsold 2014 Chrysler 200s and sibling Dodge Avengers are on dealer lots. Both went out of production in January.

Stocks of the two cars, which have hefty incentives, are sapping potential sales of the 2015 Chrysler 200, Gardner said at a press event here.

“We know we’ve got to get rid of those cars to really see the 200 take off,” Gardner said.

He said he was “looking at September and October when we really crank the new 200 over.”

Meanwhile, the company is carefully gearing up production to ensure high quality, he said.

Gardner: V-6 output first

Chrysler began shipping 2015 200s to dealers in early May. Initial production was limited to units with 3.6-liter V-6 engines, Gardner said.

After building V-6s for “six to eight weeks to make sure that we’ve got the six-cylinder right,” Chrysler’s Sterling Heights Assembly plant began producing 200s with 2.4-liter inline-fours, he said.

The more fuel-efficient four-cylinder versions “are only really just starting to arrive in decent numbers at dealerships,” Gardner said.

He said about 15,000 redesigned 200s are on dealer lots or in transit, but that’s not enough “if you want to sell 10,000 or 15,000 units a month.”

He said it would be “a couple of months” before Chrysler dealers “start seeing some really good numbers out of this.”

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at -- Follow Larry P. on Twitter: @LarryVellequett

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