Update: Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli has put to rest fears the carmaker’s new midsize global platform - internally known as ‘Project D’ – is taking up too many resources and could be delayed by announcing that several unexpected vehicles and platforms could be unveiled by as early as next year. Nardelli is well aware of the need to quickly adapt to changing market conditions in the U.S. and demand for smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Speaking with The Detroit News, Nardelli explained that Chrysler would “continue to reprioritize its capital" and make sure it’s "responding to one of the most significant changes in consumer buying preferences.”

While vehicles based on the new Project D platform are expected to be launched over the coming years, Nardelli also revealed that some new models could be spawned from partnerships with other carmakers. Chrysler has already confirmed plans with both Nissan and Chery, and is also rumoured to be in talks with Fiat and Tata.

In 2010, Chrysler will launch even more new models, updating most of its fleet with a new generation of vehicles replacing most of its current fleet. “For sure we've got a strong lineup coming in 2010 with all of the traditional brands," Nardelli said, "but with more fuel efficiency, better performance, better fit, better finish, and a lot more consumer-oriented responses."

Original: Development of the car that will eventually replace the poor-selling Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger, a venture known as Project D, is reportedly taking up more resources than the company had hoped. Pinched for cash in the midst of a tough market, Chrysler is now looking for ways to cut that cost while still coming out the other end with a suitable product.

The replacement car isn't due until the 2011 or 2012 model years, so the company does have some time to work out a solution. Nevertheless, the realities of bringing a car to market mean the decision must be made soon. The primary options being considered, according to MotorTrend, include developing an all-new custom platform for the car; using another carmaker's platform, such as suitably-sized Fiat or Nissan products, with unique body styling; or all-out sharing of a platform with another company as it is currently doing with Volkswagen on the Routan minivan.

While the company may have a few years before it brings the car to market, time is of the essence, as midsize sedans will be the bread-and-butter sales items for Chrysler if fuel prices continue as they have. Very small cars won't offer the profit margin the midsize sedans do, and especially in the case of its Chrysler brand, the smallest of cars also won't fit well with the premium image it tries to project. A small Dodge, on the other hand, could do well, as the Neon proved in the 1990s.