Marking what it says is one of the fastest concept-to-reality product executions in history, Chrysler Group begins production of the Crossfire sports coupe at Wilhelm Karmann GmbH operations in Osnabrueck, Germany.

Annual capacity is set for 20,000 units, once the plant reaches full output. Chrysler says production will be limited to 11,000 cars this year; Crossfire goes on sale in the U.S. in mid-summer.

Wolfgang Bernhard, Chrysler chief operating officer, says the vehicle went from “pure concept” to production-ready in a mere 24 months. The sporty coupe debuted at the Detroit auto show in 2001.

The Crossfire will be powered by a normally aspirated 3.2L V-6 mated to either a 6-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic transmission.

Chrysler engineers worked directly with their counterparts at Mercedes-Benz to keep the Crossfire's overall shape, while integrating numerous Mercedes components into the vehicle.

The powertrain and axle components, for example, were borrowed from the Mercedes parts bin.