Under the plan, the automaker aims to introduce four new Dodges by 2013 and put new exteriors, interiors and engines on most of its current lineup. The new Dodges include a mid-size sedan for the North American market designed by Fiat SpA, the Italian automaker that now owns 35 percent of Chrysler.
That sedan is a key component of Chrysler LLC's five-year overhaul, which is being outlined here Wednesday. Chrysler currently lacks a competitive product in the segment, the largest in the U.S. car market.
But it will be tough to win back U.S. consumers, who are skeptical of Chrysler's quality. The automaker's sales are down sharply this year as a weak U.S. economy saps overall demand for cars and buyers flee to other brands.
The 84-year-old Chrysler lost upward of $8 billion last year and would have run out of cash had the U.S. government not stepped in with $15.5 billion in aid. Chrysler was forced into bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday the automaker had $5.7 billion in cash at the end of September, up $1.7 billion since the company emerged from Chapter 11 this summer. He also said Chrysler was breaking even in the month of September.
It will need to offer better cars to improve its fortunes. Chrysler's current mid-size offerings are the Sebring and Dodge Avenger, which sell poorly and have received low marks from Consumer Reports and others.
Sebring sales were down 71 percent during the first 10 months of this year, while Avenger sales were off 45 percent. The Auburn Hills-based company has sold only 44,000 of both models combined, far short of the 294,493 Camrys sold by Toyota, the top-selling car in the U.S.