Chrysler group executives are weighing the future of the slow-selling Chrysler Crossfire, according to Automotive News Europe.
At issue is whether the two-passenger sports car will be redesigned and assembled in North America or whether the model will be scrapped when its assembly contract with contract manufacturer Karmann in Germany expires by 2010.
The rear-wheel-drive Crossfire shares Mercedes-Benz components and is assembled by Karmann in OsnabrŸck where production began in 2003.
Without giving specifics, the key account manager of Karmann USA, Hendrik Loetter, said the contract to build the Crossfire was for about five years.
Chrysler’s group executive vice president of global sales and marketing, Joe Eberhardt, said the Crossfire “has done an awful lot for the brand. It has helped redefine our design and engineering capabilities. I think as an industry and as a company, we have to get away from the fact that every new vehicle automatically has to have a replacement.”
Asked if the Chrysler Firepower roadster concept, which was shown at this year’s Detroit auto show, is the likely Crossfire successor, Eberhardt said “the two are not related.”
When the Crossfire debuted in 2003, the intent was to create a halo vehicle for the Chrysler brand. The automaker set an annual US sales target of 20,000 units. It sold 14,969 units in 2004. In the US, Chrysler has sold 10,276 units to the end of August, 166 units up from the same period last year. In western Europe 2,675 Crossfires were sold in the first eight months, 1,700 fewer than the same period in 2004.
Eberhardt said the “Crossfire is certainly a challenge for us. It is no secret.”