NEW YORK – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking to at least defend its midsize-sedan market turf with the new Chrysler 200 model, now rolling into U.S. dealerships, an executive here says.

The new model offers all-wheel drive for the first time and is available in four trim levels, with base prices ranging from $21,700 to $25,995, not including $995 for shipping and delivery.

AWD is not widely available in the midsize sedan segment, with the Ford Fusion and Subaru Legacy the only non-luxury models already offering the feature.

Despite its inviting base price, a fully optioned-out top-of-the-line 200C with a V-6 and AWD could top out at about $38,000, says Andy Love, a senior marketing manager.

He forecasts the entry-level LX model will account for only 2%-3% of volume. The midline LTD trim will be the volume car in the lineup, garnering about 48% of sales, while the sport-oriented 200S and luxury-skewed 200C each will account for about 25%.

Last year, Chrysler sold 122,480 200s, a 3.9% share of the Middle Car segment, according to WardsAuto data. There also were 93,842 Dodge Avengers, a sister model, sold in 2013. The Avenger has been dropped this year and Chrysler is targeting sales of the new 200 to at least equal, if not surpass, the combined 200/Avenger volume while maintaining or bettering the 6.9% segment market share.

Through April Chrysler sold 63,757 200/Avenger models, down 30.8% from like-2013, so considerable ground will have to be made up with the new model.

The ’15 200 is the third Chrysler Group model, following the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee, to be built on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform. In addition, the Lancia Viaggio, a Dart derivative, is sold in China.

Love forecasts about 12% of 200 buyers will choose the AWD option, available only with a V-6 engine at a cost of $4,200. There's a $1,950 premium for the V-6 engine without AWD. He predicts 70% of buyers will choose the less-expensive 4-cyl.

The sell-down of the ’14 model is proceeding in an orderly way. Production of the ’15 200 started with only a 1-month's inventory of the previous-generation car on dealer lots.

The new 200, A 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors winner, comes with a ZF 9-speed automatic transmission, making it the only car in the segment to offer so many speeds in an automatic gearbox.

Chrysler manufactures the transmission in its Kokomo, IN, plant under license from ZF for 200s equipped with the 2.4L 4-cyl. engine. Kokomo also builds all of the 9-speed transmissions used in the Jeep Cherokee.

Chrysler sources the 9-speed transmission for the 200’s 3.6L V-6 from ZF's Gray Court, SC, plant.