Chrysler to Build Crossfire Sports Coupe
USDaimlerChrysler AG said on Aug. 19 that it will soon build the Chrysler Crossfire sports coupe, spinning the news as proof that the automaker is not cutting back on its product plans as its U.S. group struggles to return to profitability.Chrysler said it would announce more details about the rear-wheel-drive two-seater when it shows a production-ready version at the Los Angeles auto show in January. The concept Crossfire, powered by a 2.7-liter V6 engine, received a warm reception when it was unveiled at the Detroit auto show last January."That's a slap in the face to the guys who said we're cutting down the product plan. Now we're walking the talk," Chrysler Group Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard told reporters at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance luxury classic car show where the Crossfire was introduced.Jim Schroer, executive vice president of Chrysler group global sales and marketing, said production volume for the Crossfire could be about the same as for Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Thunderbird, or up to about 25,000 units annually.Chrysler executives did not specify when the Crossfire would go into production. But showing a production-ready version in January indicates it could be built in a year or two.Bernhard said that the Chrysler group is on track for its recovery plan. But he declined to comment on some reports that the group could post a quarterly profit before the end of the year.The Crossfire could be a replacement for the Chrysler Prowler, formerly the Plymouth Prowler before the Plymouth brand was killed. The distinctive-looking Prowler never caught on and is expected to be phased out. Bernhard said the Crossfire would not be built on a Mercedes platform. Chrysler currently has few rear-wheel drive cars, except for the Prowler and the Dodge Viper. The future replacements for the Chrysler 300M, the Dodge Intrepid and its other large cars are expected to be rear-wheel drive.