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Published: Wednesday, 9/15/2010

Toledo-made Nitro among models Chrysler will update


ORLANDO, Fla. - Chrysler Group LLC executives revealed 15 new or updated models to hundreds of dealers yThursday, hoping the new vehicles will make the company profitable for the first time since it left bankruptcy protection last year.

The models, shown at a closed-door meeting in Orlando for about 2,400 dealers from around the world, included a revamped Chrysler Sebring midsize sedan that was renamed the Chrysler 200.

Also shown were updates of the Toledo-made Dodge Nitro as well as the Chrysler Town & Country minivan and Jeep Patriot small sport utility vehicle that look similar to the 2010 models.

The gathering was the first large-scale meeting with dealers for Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who has run Chrysler since it left bankruptcy in June, 2009. About three-quarters of the company's U.S. dealers attended, many of whom are hurting as customers bypass their showrooms for newer models from other automakers.

Because it takes three or four years to bring new cars to showrooms, all Chrysler can do is update its vehicles and survive until it can roll out totally new products with Fiat, said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of the Edmunds.com automotive Web site.

"I'm not sure if it's enough to actually start to steal back some [market] share," he said.

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