The Chrysler Group announced that production of the all-new 2004 Chrysler Crossfire is underway. Chrysler Group Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard marked the occasion by driving the first Chrysler Crossfire off the assembly line in Germany. Members of the Crossfire engineering team were also on hand to celebrate the occasion. According to the company, the Crossfire is being built in Osnabrueck, Germany in conjunction with Karmann, a long-time DaimlerChrysler partner with more than 100 years of manufacturing experience. Founded in 1901, Karmann is a full-service supplier to the automotive industry. "Today, we celebrate the production launch of the Chrysler Crossfire, a vehicle that combines stunning American design with proven German engineering," said Wolfgang Bernhard. "In just twenty-four months, this vehicle went from a pure concept to the vehicle we are building today, because of the dedicated efforts at DaimlerChrysler to find the best synergies for all of our products." Chrysler Crossfire was developed after a concept version of the car was revealed at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A production version was unveiled one year later at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show. Chrysler Group said it accelerated the speed to market due to the expertise of the Crossfire team and its ability to preserve key aspects of the concept vehicle, while identifying Mercedes-Benz components to be used in production. For example, the design, wheel base and center exhaust system were maintained from the original Crossfire concept, and powertrain and axle components are shared from Mercedes-Benz. The 2004 Chrysler Crossfire is a low-slung, two seat sports coupe with a sculptured appearance. Under its hood is a 3.2-liter 90-degree V-6, 18-valve SOHC engine available with a six-speed manual or five-speed automotive transmission. "The Crossfire represents the future of the Chrysler Brand, with proven quality and technology packaged in a stunning wrapper," stated Bernhard. Chrysler Group has the capacity to build approximately 20,000 units, of which 15 percent will be earmarked for international markets. The Company said it expects to produce 11,000 units this year. Chrysler Crossfire will be available mid-summer 2003.