NEW YORK (AP) _ It's taking Chrysler Corp. longer than expected to get its retro hot rod, the Plymouth Prowler, into production and cruising into America's drive-ins.

Chrysler executives said Wednesday they will meet next week to review pre-production work on the Prowler and decide when it will go into regular production at its Detroit plant.

The automaker has said for more than a year that the Prowler would go into limited production this spring. But the car's all-aluminum body panels have posed challenges for Chrysler engineers, executives said at the New York International Automobile Show.

``This has all-aluminum body panels, an all-aluminum frame,'' said Marty R. Levine, Chrysler-Plymouth general manager. ``So this is a learning exercise, not just for Chrysler, but for the industry.''

Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton insisted there were no problems. Company executives are especially sensitive to past quality problems in the initial production runs of some Chrysler models.

``Don't write problems!'' Eaton told reporters. ``There is not a problem with the Prowler. We're just making sure we've got the body panels exactly where we want them.''

Levine said the car could still go into production this spring. ``It's just that this car is so important to us, that unless it's perfect it's not going anywhere,'' he said.

The automaker plans to offer only 2,500 of the purple roadsters for sale in the United States and 250 in Canada this year. Fewer than 40 percent of U.S. Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships will get one. Another 250 cars will be retained for promotional purposes. The car will list for around $35,000.

Starting next year, it plans to make 4,700 to 5,000 Prowlers annually.