All photos courtesy of Cristian Farcas
When FCA US LLC employee Cristian Farcas set out in March on a 2,400-mile road trip to visit family and friends in New York state and Washington D.C., and to attend a work event in Kentucky, it wasn’t the distance that made the trip significant, it was the vehicle. His All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 was among the first to roll off the line in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and this trip, at least in part, was intended to gather “fast feedback,” information that could help designers and engineers back at Chrysler HQ fine-tune the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 before its launch to the general public in the second quarter.
Compounding the significance of the trip was the fact that Cristian had personally played a part in the vehicle’s development. A senior designer in the Interiors Group at Chrysler, Cristian worked side by side with the many talented people who helped take the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 from a concept on the drafting board to a reality on the road.
With that kind of personal investment, it’s not hard to understand why this experience — and this car especially — would be so important to Cristian. In his own words, “The road trip was a culmination of personal and career goals coming together. It was my dream as a child to one day design cars. By helping design the interior of the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200, I was fortunate enough to fulfill that goal.”
Of course, any goal is hard to accomplish without help, and even though Cristian traveled alone, he often felt the whole team was along for the ride. “Every time someone admired or complimented the car, I remembered how hard everybody worked on it back in Michigan.” That was true at the Canadian border, where the border guards let him pose the car near the Canada sign, and true in Washington, D.C., where in heavy traffic one morning, a commuter in an imported luxury sedan shouted, “Hey, that’s the new 200. Awesome!”
Awesome indeed. The exact car Cristian drove from Detroit, through Canada and New York, to Washington, D.C., Louisville and back was an All-New 2015 Chrysler 200C with a 3.6-liter Pentastar® V-6 engine. The car is Cristian’s own and, like any owner can (not just Chrysler designers), he configured it the way he wanted, opting for the available panoramic sunroof and an all-black interior featuring real bronze-colored maple wood and complemented by warm bronze accents and seat piping.
Cristian is especially happy with his car’s center console, calling it his favorite interior feature “by far.” What’s so great about it? “It’s highly adaptable your needs,” Cristian says. “It features class-leading storage space, but it is also well compartmentalized to help separate your items. There are also a number of small, convenient innovations, like a cord-management opening. It just makes sense.” Spoken like a true designer.
As for the exterior, Cristian is a fan of the front and rear LED lighting. “It definitely stands out,” he says. “It announces a vehicle that looks like it belongs in a more premium segment.”
Attractive exterior lighting isn’t the only category in which this car punches above its weight. With more advanced standard and available safety and security features than any other vehicle in its class*, the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 offers an experience unmatched by the competition. “I am absolutely addicted to the Adaptive Cruise Control,” Cristian said, listing off a few more of his favorite features. “The Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist are equally impressive.”
Innovative features aside, the true trip highlights for Cristian were far less technical — watching the sun set over Manhattan, for instance, and stopping in Washington, D.C., to take photos outside the White House, Capitol building and Washington Monument. He also reveled in the opportunity to share his car with the good friends in New York and Washington, D.C., he visited along the way.
Most memorable for Cristian, it seems, was having the chance to stop in Binghamton, New York, the town where his mother lives, to show her in person the car he’d been working on so intensely all this time. “Being able to share my work with my mother was by far the highlight of this trip. It was like bringing something full-circle, all the support she gave me as a young artist and aspiring designer.”
To think of it in these terms — that the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 is a collection of stories like Cristian’s as much as it is a ground-breaking vehicle — one begins to see how the car truly is America’s Import.
See below for more photos from Cristian’s road trip.