The brand-new 2015 Chrysler 200 started production recently at the automaker's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) in Michigan, and Sergio Marchionne—Chrysler Group chairman and CEO—helped celebrate the occasion with some fun factoids about how far the plant has come in recent years.
The facility was originally supposed to close by the end of 2010, but buoyed by more than $1 billion in investment, the plant instead received a wholesale upgrade that included a cutting-edge paint shop, expanded its footprint by 2 million square feet, and more than doubled its workforce. In fact, per Marchionne, the decision to build the 2015 Chrysler 200 at SHAP meant hiring an additional 800 workers specifically for that project, and that was on top of the 900 employees added to the team in 2011. Today, almost 2,800 people are on the job at the facility, which Marchionne praised extensively at the start of production for the new 200.
“Your resolve has set an inspiring example for everyone at Chrysler, showing what can happen when you find the strength and courage to fight for something worthwhile,” he told them. “I’m proud to be associated with you, and to be on this exciting journey with you. A journey of continued growth that will secure jobs and make a positive contribution to the communities where we live and work. I, too, am a believer.”
As for the 2015 Chrysler 200, it will attempt to make believers of the rest of us when it goes on sale in the near-term future with a notably premium approach to the mainstream midsize sedan segment. Consider: The sleek and sophisticated new 200 will boast a standard nine-speed automatic transmission, a chassis initially developed by Alfa Romeo, available all-wheel drive, a full complement of advanced safety measures and a top-of-the-line Uconnect "multimedia command center" with an 8.4-inch touchscreen. But it also will start with pricing as low as $21,700, for maximum customer appeal.