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Parks McCants's picture

Extreme-robotics enables 2015 Chrysler 200 exceptional pricing (Video)

Looking to and driving 2015 Chrysler 200 left us scratching our collective heads as to what penciled out to be an extreme purchase value in a very competitive segment. How could Chrysler dealers send the 200 out the door at under $20,000? And then we took a look at Chrysler’s Sterling, Michigan facility.
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Like an old friend revisited...

Pulling onto our local Lithia Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep lot was not an new experience for Torque News. Although we focus on Honda and Acura manufactured vehicles, play toys and tools, our daily driver is a Chrysler Pacifica; a Chrysler, Mercedes Benz collaborated effort that remains remarkably reliable. And, then there was that 15 year 300,000 mile stint behind the wheel of a Dodge, Cummins Turbo Diesel, and Chrysler 300 M. We’ve been around Chrysler for decades, but haven't dealt with the Fiat, Chrysler Group.

On the surface, Chrysler 200 looks too good to be true

After viewing a video on Chrysler’s 5 million square foot Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant we discovered the key to exceptional Chrysler 200 MSRP and dealer-volume discounts. Chrysler 200 assembly may be the most robotics intensive automated manufacturing process found in the automotive world today.

Bottom line: Chrysler 200 is effectively a drivable appliance, as are many car and light truck offerings today. That’s not necessarily a bad thing until you look to residual resale value 3 to 5 years down the road.

Great looking, mass produced drivable toaster or refrigerator

A direct comparison between the Chrysler 200 all-wheel-drive V6, and Acura TLX ,had been raised by more than one reader over that last 12 months. Prior to viewing and driving Chrysler 200, we too questioned the canyon-wide price gap between these comparably equipped rivals, and then we drove one.

So, backing up a paragraph or two: Chrysler 200 in any trim variant is not comparable to a comparably equipped Acura TLX, their not the same animal. While 2015 Chrysler 200 presents fantastic initial purchase value and visual quality, it’s a closer comparable to Honda Civic, Accord and possibly(this is a stretch) Acura ILX. And then there’s the question of residual value. We’ll get back to that in a moment.

Dollar for dollar, in a direct comparison to the competition, 2015 Chrysler 200 is a viable contender in the midsize 4 door sedan class. Although when comparing Chrysler 200 to Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Corola, as most prospective buyers do, Chrysler 200 is a bit on the ‘compact’ end of midsize. You won’t find much excess wiggle room, trunk space or rear passenger comfort in Chrysler 200.

Decent visual fit and finish

Chrysler refers to Chrysler 200 as “America’s Import.” and surprisingly enough, when looking to the near 40% of import components integrated into Chrysler 200, there's a bit of irony to that statement. Chrysler 200 actually contains a greater percentage of import parts than Honda Accord.

None the less, the exterior body design composition, aerodynamic flow of line, and standard trim is top notch. The interior fabrics, hard and soft surfaces have a nice touch presenting visual appeal; as does the placement of the dash and center console monitor, level and dial transmission control.

We found the seats to be above average in comfort and support, headroom exceptional in the front cabin, and the overall drive, ride experience to be on par with the competition. Not perfect, yet quite acceptable for what is essentially an entry level midsize 4 door sedan.

The C200 back seat features a 60/40 fold down feature for trunk-long cargo access. While seat construction is pretty decent, accommodations are tight, head, leg and shoulder room limited. Passengers taller than 6 ft. may wish to opt for shot-gun position.

Thinking Honda Accord, we take the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder, 9 speed automatic Chrysler 200 for a spin

Yes, we know that 2015 Chrysler 200 is available in a refined, full-tech V6, 9 speed automatic all-wheel drive. But according to our sources at Lithia Motors, that’s not where the majority of Chrysler buyers go when purchasing 200. Because Chrysler has produced a 4 door sedan with decent features that can be driven off most lots for less than $20,000, Chrysler 200 is targeted squarely at the Honda Civic, Accord crowd. We discover in Chrysler 200 what we believe to be a pleasant driving and ownership value.

The drive

The base 4 cylinder C200 doesn't feature mind-blowing off-the-light tire spinning performance, yet is more than adequate for most of what life brings to the table. We were impressed by Chrysler 200’s agility, drive and ride comfort, interior noise level, and just a notch above basic creature-comfort simplicity.

We encountered zero problems with the 9 speed automatic, found the basic personal connectivity and active safety features to work seamlessly. The high output 2.4L ‘Tigershark’ MultiAir 2 engine produces 184 horsepower and 175 lb-ft torque while sipping gasoline. We like it!, and found it to be comparable in power output to the basic Accord.

Braking was seamless, and road handling sticky enough. For those drivers wishing for a bit more “edge” from Chrysler 200 without stepping up to the V6 AWD, looking to the lineup we discover an “S” trim variant featuring sport-like seating, mild ground effects, up-styled grill, fog lamps, low profile tires and custom rims.

So, we digress to the robotics-manufacturing, MSRP correlation. Thanks to computerized, state of the art robotics, and automated down-line manufacturing practices and principle, 2015 Chrysler 200 is arguably one if not the least human labor intensive constructed automobiles on the road today.

It’s truly amazing. Although Chrysler’s 5 million square foot Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant claims 3,000 line works and 300 managers or so, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one working(much) in this video account of Chrysler 200 Assembly. Good or bad, appliance-like, highly automated, human-hands-off automobile construction is one component of dropping residual lease and trade-in values.

Many of today’s cars are “use and recycle” throw aways. Chrysler 200 is one of the better looking 5-10 year perishables in the business.


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Comments

"Good or bad, appliance-like, highly automated, human-hands-off automobile construction is one component of dropping residual lease and trade-in values." This seems like a conflicting statement to me. I would think highly automated, human hands off construction would probably yield a better product than something with a lot of human hands on construction. As a result, I would thing the longevity of such a product would probably be better and longer for it and thus result in a better than average residual value. And certainly this 200 is better than a 5 year use and recycle product. Don't most cars built in the last couple decades last ten years or more most of the time? Isn't the average age of cars on the road today 11.4 years according to IHS Automotive? If Chrysler has a residual value problem, I am thinking it has more to do with the sins of their past models between the MB marriage and today's hook up with Fiat. Chrysler turned out some pretty dismal product before their current, Fiat influenced, lineup. My guess is any poor residual value issues are a result of those past sins. It takes time for perception to catch up with reality. My 2 cents.
While I agree with much of your article, the reference comparison of this 200 to a Civic and even an ILX in my opinion is wrong. I do own a 2015 200C v6. I did compare it to a TLX fwd v6. While there is differences, the 200 is a larger car. More back seat space, bigger trunk and more shoulder room in the front than the TLX. The Civic and it's upgraded cousin the ILX is smaller and better compared to the Dart in size. I chose the 200 over the TLX, because what little drive difference there was between the two, was not great enough to accept the larger difference in price. Especially after comparing the discounts Chrysler offers and Acura does not. Each car had it's positives and negatives against each other.
Welcome confused on you. TLX is a demensionally larger car than the Chrysler 200. r at least the C200 that I drove... While C200 V6 is arguably a great purchase value, its all-wheel-drive system in not as sofisticated as Acura TLX. As to the Civic and ILX, they're closer in wheel base, length, height and width to C200 than TLX. Just looking to the specifications. Enjoy your Chrysler, it's a good purchase value for the $.
TLX has a wheelbase of 109.3 inches and passenger volume of 93.3cu ft ILX has a wheelbase of 105.1 inches and passenger volume of 89.3cu ft 200 C has a wheelbase of 108 inches and passenger volume of 101.4 cu ft. Seems like other than the single inch shorter wheelbase, the 200 is larger with the greater passenger volume in interior space. But this all is purely academic anymore anyways. The 200 is already being retired in 2017 due to the dwindling sales.
Welcome remyj. You've made some great points while providing thought provoking commentary. Volume of production = lower trade-in residual value. Chrysler 200 is a great entry-level 4 doosedan.
Parks you call it a C200, but what you drove is actually known as a 200 C, the C comes after the 200 not the other way around. I understand your confusion as all you really deal with is Honda and Acuras.