Gas prices are up, which has led to increased interest in midsizers, more specifically, the midsize offerings from Chrysler's competition. The Sebring has taken a 30 percent sales whack this year, mostly due to reduced fleet sales. The Avenger's year has been a little brighter, posting a two-percent gain. Contrast that with everyone else; Malibu, Fusion, and Accord are up ten percent or more this year; and therein lies Chrysler's problem. Ditching Chrysler's outmoded V6 for the four-cylinder powertrain will deliver more competitive fuel economy, if you can stand the NVH increase.

Top heavy with trucks and taking fire over the Avenger and Sebring's interior quality and efficiency, Chrysler's seriously looking at re-jiggering the sedan twins, killing the top R/T and Limited trim levels and sliding some of the good stuff down to the SXT and Touring trim levels. The 3.5-liter V6 will be left out as standard equipment, though, as it doesn't post great fuel economy. The goodies that normally accompany the six, like heated leather power seats, dual exhausts, and 18 inch wheels, will end up as standard gear on the Sebring Touring and Avenger SXT. The prices of those models get bumped - 9.9 percent for the Dodge, now starting at $21,750, and 3.4 percent for the Sebring, offered for $21,670. What's up with the Avenger costing more than the Sebring? We don't know. The Journey is also being considered for this initiative, rumored to be called the "Fight Back" plan, and suppliers had until yesterday to give Chrysler a yes or no on feasibility.

[Source: Detroit News]