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Report: Chrysler Sebring to be renamed Nassau

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 00:00:00 -0700

The Chrysler Sebring will reportedly get a new name later this year: Nassau.

The midsize sedan is due for a freshening, including an updated interior, along with its Dodge sibling, the Avenger. The Detroit Free Press, citing anonymous sources, says the new name will be Nassau.

Chrysler is not commenting on the possible name change.

"[We] definitely don't have anything to announce about the possible name change later this year," spokesman Rick Deneau said.

The Nassau moniker should ring a bell with car fans. It was the name of Hemi-powered, four-passenger luxury concept shown at the 2007 Detroit auto show. With striking looks and a prominent grille, the concept displayed a dash of panache--potentially for a future Chrysler. The concept rode on a 120-inch wheelbase and was meant to look more visually compact than a comparable Chrysler 300C, summoning the style of a shooting brake.

Still, the Sebring refresh is more of an update, so look for the name change to be the extent of the Nassau genetics that make it onto the new sedan. The Nassau name was also used famously by Chrysler in the 1950s.

Look for the new sedan to get Chrysler's Pentastar V6 and with a Fiat-developed dual-clutch transmission--dramatic upgrades to the powertrain.

Automotive News also reported in March that the Sebring name will be dropped because the updates are so extensive, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The Chrysler Sebring is due for updates to the engine, transmission and interior this year. Look for a new name: Nassau.

The Sebring and the Avenger are sorely in need of updates to increase their competitiveness in a midsize segment loaded with viable entries. Toyota and Honda have long ruled the sales charts, but the Chevrolet Malibu and the Ford Fusion are showing strength in the market as well, as American buyers again consider domestic brands.

Chrysler's midsize products have languished as the company endured ownership changes and bankruptcy. Marchionne has made it a priority to strengthen the company's products in that area with quick changes rather than waiting for full redesigns which could take years.

Last week, Fiat announced that the Sebring will be built in Turin, Italy, along with the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is also a midsize sedan.

By Greg Migliore