By on February 4, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200S

News that 200 production would instantly end, albeit temporarily, was overshadowed by news that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would, sooner than later, farm out the design and production of their small and intermediate cars to a rival automaker.

The Chrysler 200’s plant in Sterling, Michigan will undergo a six-week shutdown due to an inventory glut at dealers nationwide. Over the last three months, U.S. sales of the 200, FCA’s best-selling car in the United States in 2015, tumbled 46 percent to only 24,111 units, or about the number of Camrys Toyota sells every 18 days.

The rapid decline began in November, when 200 volume took a 28-percent dive. Only 10,332 200s were sold in November 2015, placing the 200 eighth in its category, down from sixth one year earlier.

200 sales in December then plunged 47 percent, a year-over-year loss of 7,650 sales during a month in which U.S. midsize car sales dropped by less than 1 percent.

The beginning of 2016 brought even worse results for the 200, as sales in January slid 63 percent in the U.S. Eleven different FCA products, including the Dodge Charger and soon-to-depart Town & Country, generated greater January sales. Not since the 200 was transitioning out of post-Sebring form into its current generation have sales of the 200 been this low. The new car peaked at more than 20,000 sales last May, when more than 8 percent of the midsize cars sold in America were Chryslers. Last month, the 200 claimed just 3.5 percent market share as midsize car volume slid nearly 7 percent in the U.S.

2014 Dodge Avenger R/T

The current 200 met success quickly, though that success was overstated by year-over-year comparisons which took into account the oft-loathed old Sebring/200’s poor sales achievements late in its lifecycle. Bargain pricing on the current 200 early in its lifecycle also strengthened the collective consumer notion that Chrysler isn’t a serious midsize player. If even Chrysler didn’t think it was worth as much when brand new, why should the consumer consider it a worthy alternative for the Camry and Accord?

Moreover, though FCA was able to overcome the loss of the 200’s Dodge Avenger partner with ease at first, the midsize gains accomplished by the automaker weren’t quite as impressive as the 200’s own figures made them seem. In October of last year, for instance, prior to the sharp decline of the last three months, total sales of the 200 rose 2 percent, but combined sales of the 200 and Avenger were actually down 8 percent. Indeed, one month earlier, 200/Avenger volume was down 10 percent.

Yes, the Chrysler 200’s 2015 tally revealed a massive 52-percent year-over-year improvement. Yet compared with 2013, U.S. sales of FCA’s midsize duo were down 17 percent in calendar year 2015.

Now, Fiat Chrysler is looking out a winter window in which thousands of 200s need to be offloaded from dealers before production can be kickstarted again. As of New Year’s Day, Automotive News estimates FCA’s U.S. dealers had more than 45,000 200s in stock. Approximately 12 percent of those cars left dealers in January.

Making the clear-out more challenging is a general move away from passenger cars into SUVs and crossovers, a trend made most obvious by FCA’s own Jeep division. January sales at Jeep jumped 15 percent. The Cherokee outsold the 200 by more than three to one. The Dodge Journey outsold the 200 by a 3,256-unit margin. Poor reviews of the 200 from Consumer Reports and general criticism of the 200’s 9-speed automatic transmission do the car no favours, either.

After successive generations of small and midsize car failures, it’s no wonder that FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has no intention of funding the development of more such cars in the near future. Fewer than one in five FCA U.S. sales in January were car-derived. The 200 and Dart, the latter having fallen 42 percent to only 4,748 sales last month, produced only 8 percent of the automaker’s sales. Despite competing in the two largest passenger car sectors in the country, the 200 and Dart generated only one-third of the company’s car sales last month.

Do numbers lie? In this case, the numbers simply make a solitary request of FCA: Give up.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

223 Comments on “Chrysler 200 Sales In Freefall, No Wonder Sergio Shut Down Production...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    Well, when it still had the stigma of autojournos *always* mentioning the Sebring’s crappiness in reviews of the 200, what did anyone expect?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      If criticism from auto journalists were worth anything then the Corolla wouldn’t have single handedly outsold the entire Mazda brand for 14 of the past 15 years.

      • 0 avatar
        dpeppers

        Sorry to Barge in…….. 200 sales fell when Chrysler quit using it as the qualifier for objective bonuses. Same for the Dart. Each dealer was given a a “qualifier” number of 200 sales to increase the objective bonus. Sell Forty new Chryslers get X amount. Sell Forty plus two 200’s get two or three hundred retro.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Thank you!

          Yet another person who knows what’s up with dealership games (not a FCA exclusive thing by any stretch, either).

          My comment from another thread:

          “This does not surprise me in the LEAST, and it’s not in any way, shape or form limited to FCA.

          Almost every automaker does this, calling it some type of program with an esoteric name (quota sales system on monthly, quarterly or yearly basis), where dealerships get $250 to as much as $1200 per vehicle they sell if they hit specific sales numbers…***better to “have to sell” an extra 3 or 5 or even 10 vehicles at a loss at the end of a quarter or even month in order to get that $250 to $1200 per vehicle sold on the prior 130 during the month.***

          …this is why you’ll see dealership GM’s and other salaried employees “buy” their wives, kids and siblings or parents a vehicle on the last day of a month, as just one example, and how I’ve gotten some amazing new car deals in the month of December during the last 3 days of the month.”

          http://m.thisamericanlife.org/at-the-car-lot/

          AT THE CAR LOT
          The sales team at Town and Country Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram in Levittown, NY, is hustling to sell their quota: 129 new cars by the end of the month.

          Also – GM’s channel stuffing, payola program that encourages same thing is called GM’s Essential Brand Elements Program, and has also spawned disputes & litigation between GM and GM franchised dealers:

          http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20121105/FREE/121109941/gm-dealer-upgrades-fuel-a-2-tiered-price-war

    • 0 avatar

      AWD, a V6 and less than $35,000.
      What hurt this car was that:

      #1 IT WASN’T SPACIOUS ENOUGH

      #2 Chrysler – under the control of that IDIOT MARCHIONNNNEEEE – is busy trying to push those STUPID fiat pieces of trash instead of advertising the 200 – to Americans TOO LARGE TO FIT IN THEM.

      No one cares about stupid manuals in little I-could-kick-them-over mobiles.

      We need BIG CARS with AUTOMATICS and space for a FAMILY OF 5.

      2 kids and a carseat back there.

      So to make a long story short…when these IDIOTS at FCA have the cohones to show a commercial where Camry and Accord CAN’T GET OUT OF THE SNOW BANK but the POWERFUL CHRYSLER 200 POWERS OUT OF THE SNOW BANK…and then aggressively mocks their products…then and only then will sales tick up.

      These idiots could have had a DART SRT.

      They could have had a 200 SRT.

      Something American buyers could be proud of – instead of more BORING econo snooze boxes.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Denver

        The AWD system in the 200 is a joke. It exists so they could claim to have that feature but it doesn’t actually work. 99% of the time the car is FWD and by the time the rear wheels engage it’s too late to do any good.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “#1 IT WASN’T SPACIOUS ENOUGH”

        BTSR is right on this point. Just build the FWD equivalent of the LX and make it a foot shorter in trunk length. No AWD, no giant console, no fastback roof on a fricking sedan, and certainly not a slightly bigger Dart which is exactly what they offered.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          They had it. It was the avenger. It sold well. It went 0 to 60 in well under 6. Sergio will be the death of Mopar.

          • 0 avatar

            The problem with the Avenger was that back then, Chrysler’s engine/ transmission/ interior tech wasn’t up to snuff.

            The V6 Pentastar is the perfect engine for the majority of Chrysler’s vehicles when added to the 8-speed or 9-speed.

            Uconnect Touch IS THE BEST INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM ON THE MARKET.

            I was using my coworker’s GLC 300 and despite all the luxury and faciness, it was an ANNOYANCE to really use it without the touch screen. Same goes for our S-classes. TOUCH SCREEN OR NO SCREEN.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    It’s a shame because the 200 really is a nice looking sedan.

    However as Phil Edmonston wrote, Sergio just doesn’t get it. FCA’s North American customers don’t want extra gears in their transmissions, or more luxury items. They just want a vehicle that they can trust to not fall apart prematurely.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Then why on earth are they FCA’s North American customers? They’d be better off with almost any other brand.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Quality is certainly a problem with most FCA products but that doesn’t stop buyers from snapping up RAM trucks and Jeep SUVs in droves. The real problem was that the 200 didn’t really deliver the type of passenger and cargo room that buyers demand in this class. Coupled with a coarse base engine and an indecisive 9-speed auto box it was never going to be competitive against the sales leaders in this segment.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree. I would not buy it for only one reason not being of the same size as a typical midsize in US. It is a stretched version of Caliber while Fusion or Camry are built on own its platform different from Focus/Corolla. Old Mazda6 and old Passat had the same issue. Even Malibu did not sell because it was too small for US (how US company cannot figure this out?). Then reputation hurts too but first make it right. Mazda does not sell either, don’t know how Mazda is going to solve their problems – Mazda is in trouble itself and would not exist if was US only brand like Scion. And Mazda has a much higher quality but still does not sell (prob weak engine?).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Junk begets junk. FCA – leave already. Good riddance.

    My daughter had a 200 as a rental and she didn’t like it.

    A friend has a Journey and a Grand Cherokee – both have issues and were bought new.

    Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      eamiller

      The plural of anecdote isn’t data.

      I have a 2015 Cherokee V6 (ZF9 Trans), and aside from some software updates that needed done at the last oil change (nothing critical, smoothed out the trans), I haven’t had a single issue in 15k miles. I drive it quite hard on a regular basis. The engine sees redline many, many times a week, and I don’t slow down for pot holes, crowns in crossing roads (LA is famous for that), etc. It also towed a 5000lb, 12′ trailer across the country with ease.

      The 200 is the same platform and quite nice in upper trim levels (pro tip, most rental spec mass market cars are awful).

      • 0 avatar

        FCA was the #1 seller of C/SUV’s in January in America. They are putting their money where the $$$’s are and demand is. The production capacity can best be used to satisfy the seemingly unquenchable appetite for C/SUV’s. It seems like a smart business move on their part.

      • 0 avatar
        Silence

        That wasn’t clever when the first person said it, and it certainly hasn’t gotten more clever after the 9,000,000 person has tried to recycle that wit as their own.

        Also, you said his anecdote wasn’t data, yet provided your own as if it were.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I call baby shoes (BS) on “anecdote is not data”. It’s one of those phrases people like to toss out, but gather enough of them and compile them, and anecdotes ARE data. Just as “correlation is not [necessarily] causation”, it MIGHT be, and both correlation and anecdote are red flags that merit a closer look. Don’t be so quick to dismiss either one.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I know someone who is going to vote for the Easter Bunny for president, therefore the Easter Bunny will be president.

          I know a guy who won the lottery, therefore everybody wins the lottery.

          Are you starting to understand why an anecdote isn’t data?

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      Your daughter didn’t like it? Well that’s good enough for me!

      Now for something with a little more substance… I too had one as a rental. Drove it from Jacksonville to Detroit in about 16 hours. Ran all day at around 75mph. Turned it in to Avis showing almost 39mpg for the trip. The 9 speed allowed the cruise control to hold 75 even in the mountains of West Virginia, both up and down the mountains. My local dealer is offering base models 200 Limiteds for under $17k. The car is competitive at that price. has experienced

      I’ve had Jeeps since 2000 (’00 and ’05 GC, ’06 Commander, ’08, ’12, and ’16 Wranglers). I have personally found them to be average to above average in reliability. Not sure what the “issues” your “friend” has experienced, but then again, it probably just felt good to pile on without any substance, didn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        My friend and I rented a 2015 200S with the 2.4 and 9 speed auto for a weekend and about 500 miles of total driving and came away a bit sour of the experience. For starters the 9 speed was the single worst behaving trans axle we have ever encountered. It hesitated, jerked and just flat out refused to cooperated 80% of the time when any around town driving was encountered. This car also had noticeably less rear legroom and head room than the 2014.5 Camry rental, the 2015 Altima and either of the two Korean mid size sedans. The 2.4 was also less refined and timed out the slowest at 8.8 seconds by our stop watch which made it slower than even the Camry 2.5 despite having 6 more hp and 3 more gears.

        The interior was decent enough and this is where it trounced the Camry and Altima. Materials, quality and ambiance were superior and the front thrones were overall more comfy than all but the Sonata/Optima. It was also quiet on the open road, engine noise aside.

        One annoyance- the dial shift knob. It’s as daft as it looks and both of us found is annoying over a proper shift lever which we sometimes like to rest our hands on.

        The ride was a bit jittery and outright handling was mid pack. As expected visibility was an issue on the sides and out back making the rear-view camera a necessary feature. Infotainment was a strong point even though you have to use that blasted touch screen to adjust seat heaters which is ridiculous.

        A short test drive of a Limited V6 AWD made one thing abundantly clear- the V6/9 speed combo is the way to go if your even considering this car. It gives the 200 a different feel and seems to correct the weirdness of the 4 cylinder 9 speed setup to a degree.

        Our assessment- the 200 is several notches below the class leaders in 4 cylinder refinement and transmission behavior and it’s rear seat accommodations are sub par. The V6 versions are better but still not up to Accord levels.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    All the mid-size have a similar styling profile.
    It appears from reviews the 200 has the least satisfying driving dynamics.

    Perhaps if they’re reliable long term (at least the powertrain), may be a good low buck buy in the out years.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I drove a 200 for about 1200 miles over a week. It tracked better and rode smoother on the highway than any other midsize I have driven, aside from Lexus/Merc/BMW.

      With no options it felt a litle cheap. But I’ve sat in the v6 200C with the loaded interior and THAT was a great experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        A friend who’s been a one-day-a-week car renter for most of the past three years (supervisor and client refuse to lease him a car even though it’d be cheaper for them) likes the 200. Its biggest fault is the abysmal rear-seat headroom, which is terrible even within the context of today’s sloping rooflines. Journalists don’t care about this, because most of them apparently never try a back seat. (Credit to Alex Dykes, who actually does. But then he always seems to pronounce the headroom adequate even as he’s slouching and his head is touching the headliner.)

      • 0 avatar
        1st_one

        I’m willing to admit, I think the 200 is a very attractive car and really appealing in the fully loaded form. A friend of mine recently purchased a 2016 200 base model and he absolutely loves it. Of course he isn’t much of a car guy being as though he traded in a Dodge Avenger, however, he is the typical car buyer he was looking for transportation. He was looking at a naked Kia Optima and he took the 200 once he saw it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    But but but… BTSR LOVES IT!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Shame, in a sense. I think it is one of the best looking midsize sedans on the road, and you can get a monster V6 with AWD.

    Oddly enough, today is the first time in over a year I’ve checked the 200 inventory at my two local dealers and not seen something like $5000-$7000 of advertised cash on the hood.

    Whoa, scratch that. One of the dealers is only offering $2000 off. The other is offering up to $9900 off. Holy crap. Could this car really be such a turd that a $34K 200S V6 shouldn’t be purchased for $25K?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yup I’m seeing $29,000 MSRP V6 models being advertised for $20,000 within 300 miles of me. Brand new, full warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        It would be tempting to take the risk and then just sell it once the warranty expires. I can’t imagine depreciation would be a problem when the car is almost 30% discounted at purchase.

        • 0 avatar
          Coopdeville

          You might be disappointed then, as depreciation will tend to follow average sale price instead of MSRP.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            A cursory exercise: A 2011 Camry XLE V6 has a kbb trade in of $10K-11.5K, while a similar 2011 Chrysler 200 Limited V6 is $7000-8000. That’s a $2000-3000 difference in trade-in compared to something like an $8000 difference at purchase.

          • 0 avatar
            Coopdeville

            That’s a good point about the trade-in and I’m assuming you found the sweet spot. I’ll note that the percentage difference between new prices and trade-in values is about the same at 25-30%, the numbers are just larger when new so it seems more impressive. I don’t know if that means anything or not – I don’t get paid to analyze.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            On the used car lots near me 2015 used 200 Limited V6’s are 15995 or the same exact price as a 2015 Camry SE with the 2.5 and similar mileage so there isn’t much difference with this new model it would seem.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I was going to say that a loaded V6 shouldn’t be compared to a mid-level 4-pot Camry, but then I saw the Limited trim is midlevel (weird) and the MSRPs weren’t too far off between them. Amazing then that Chrysler still couldn’t make these move.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s rough!

        • 0 avatar
          scrappy17

          Show me the 2011 V6 XLE Camry for 11k with reasonable mileage on it, I will send you a finders fee! The ones I am looking at are close to 18-20k for the same vintage.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            PS. For that pricing (which you have correct for the V6 Camry) the ES350 is exactly the same price. So go for those instead.

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lexus-ES-350-Base-Sedan-4-Door-/321976930210

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Trade-in value, not retail. I was approaching it from a seller’s standpoint, not someone looking to buy the 2011.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            JohnTaurus, man you are actually bragging about driving a Ford festival or aspire? That is a very, very strange pleasure..
            “Warm and faithful shoe” sounds like high praise

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            @formula – John_Taurus is whack like crack. We’re all chipping in to get him Blue Oval “Ford”‘tramp stamp on small of his back.

            His 1988 Ford Taurus is 650% more reliable/durable than any era Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Lexus LS, and he has the data to prove it.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Used V6 sedan > New Chrysler 200 V6

      • 0 avatar
        Zoom

        I’m in the market for a mid-sized or larger sedan, but I keep my cars 8-10 years. I only put on 6,000 miles per year. At that discount, it’s tempting. Haven’t driven one yet. Should I be talked down?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Just check out a used ES (or even Avalon, Accord V6) for same price as the new 200. You’ll be better off in all respects. Don’t dump new car money into a Chrysler product that’s not a Ram.

          • 0 avatar
            Highway Cruiser

            how about 300? also not worth it? acura is better?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Right, if it isnt a Japanese brand, its always scrap metal the day it was pushed by the UAW off the assembly line.

            Cory, hypothetical question: a new Chevy Cruze, or 1986 Camry with 170K, a transaxle that slams into 3rd gear so hard it gives you wiplash during normal acceleration, and enough noise/smoke to trick someone into thinking its actually a diesel? Oh, and it randomly stalls and refuses to restart for 12-24 hours, but no worries as the Toyota dealer says nothing they can find wrong with it.

            Now that you picked the Camry, I would offer you the keys (like youd need them!) but in all honesty, I traded it in on a 1990 Ford Festiva L 5spd about 14 years ago at a PHPH lot. Even trade, although I got the much longer end of the stick I assure you.

            I saw the Crapmry 5 months later on the shoulder of I-5 with 3 hispanic gentlemen looking under the hood. Good luck, fellas. My little “shoe” (what my friends called the Festiva) carried me on home, warm and faithful, as it did every night until I sold it later when I relocated and no longer required a 2nd car as a commuter. I honestly still miss it sometimes when I see one or a 3 door Aspire. Driving such an Aspire inspired (lol) the purchase of the Festiva. I wouldve bought the Aspire I drove, but the owner was too attatched to it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Mr. John I realize you like to spaz, but I own a GM product. Did you miss that bit over the months?

            I don’t have a problem with the Cruze, and I’ve said that many times. The Cruze is a good car, and a good long term proposition. The 200 is not. American cars can be fine, as long as you don’t pick the wrong ones.

            300s don’t age well from what I’ve seen, so I wouldn’t recommend those either.

            Back to John: The fact that you need to quote cars you owned from 1990 to criticize me really says something.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            JohnTaurusLover4everXinfinti claims that every 1988 Ford Taurus was 650% more reliable than same MY Accords & Camrys.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I guess I just haven’t noticed his ranting before since it was never a personal attack.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Dude is whack. I envision him with a blue oval Ford tramp stamp on small of his back.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOLOL

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N:
            “hypothetical question: a new Chevy Cruze, or 1986 Camry with 170K”

            Are you implying that, in order to find a domestic car that’s better than Camcord, the said domestic car needs to be 30 years newer and 30 times more expensive?

      • 0 avatar
        here4aSammich

        Yeah, I have a dealer here offering new base Limiteds for just under $17k. Even goes so far on their website to post “this price is for everybody! no exceptions!”

        If I were in the market for decent cheap transport, it would be hard to pass up that much cash stacked on the hood.

  • avatar
    MRx19

    A really attractive car, inside and out, condemned by poor mechanical’s. In the rental I had, the 9 speed tyranny was abysmal, continually hunting for the correct gear. Sometimes it seem engineers get ahead of themselves. Do we really need a 9 speed transmission? 6 or 7 would seem to be just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I had a fully loaded 200C V6 rental, the interior was pretty amazing. The leather was seriously top quality stuff, they spared no expense there.

      Later I had a more basic 200 rental with cloth seats and the 4-cyl. Unimpressive. It was fine for a rental car, not great but not terrible underpowered, still it’s not something I would spend my own money on.

      The majority of midsizers sold aren’t the load up V6ers they’re mid lvl 4-cyl models like the Camry LE and SE.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The sad part is that the 2011 – 2014 versions of this car came with a much better 6 speed automatic tied to the older designed 2.4 engine. They would probably have been smarter to have stuck with that 6 speed trans axle but highway mileage may have suffered a bit.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    That plant is MASSIVE and represents too big of a fixed cost to sit idle.

    Sergio would be better off unveiling the $3.33 value meal plan to keep the factory running.

    It would be (tailor made for today’s Millennials):

    1) Lease a mid-level 200 for $3.33 per day… (roughly $100/month)

    2) …on a 24 month lease…

    3) …with 12,000 miles per year allowance (enough to get to gig work and back)…

    4) …without any down payment…

    5) …every single person, regardless as to how apocalyptic their credit might be, qualifies…

    6) …can split lease payment with two other friends and/or family members (bros & hoes plan for as little as $1.11 each).

    It will keep the line moving.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      That idea is brilliant. Throw in an additional $2.22 for the absolute state minimum PL/PD insurance – everybody drives today!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Brilliant!

        #Bros&HoesLease

        $5 per day, all in – includes full payment, complete PL/PD insurance (through shady Italian insurance company licensed to sell/issue insurance in all 50 U.S. States and territories through shadier Cayman Island re-insurer, and $250 gift certificate for Diesel brand clothing.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Isn’t this why Mitsubishi isn’t a viable brand in the US anymore?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    wow that fell off a cliff very quickly, my guess is someone at the rental company got a better deal of the mid size car of the day. Not a bad looking car I rented a few they did their job but I am not sure I would pluck down 20K for one, no in fact I am sure no way I would, but who is suppose to buy these? Are they for folks who just want transportation and do not care about cars, if so I assume FCA CR ratings do not help, are they for kids who need a car, either mom and dad paying or them, pretty sure the kids would pick a Kia Sol over this or a renegade for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Those same middling credit, car-as-an-appliance types are probably much happier at the Nissan dealer down the street.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      Also rented a few times and did the job for me as well. I did find the headlights incredibly weak – important as I did a lot of back country driving – and the low fuel light without an indicator of range to empty induced needless range anxiety.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…pretty sure the kids would pick a Kia Sol over this…”

      The 200 is a good looking car. Your above statement is interesting. I’d think the kids would pick a 200/Dart (or Civic/Corolla) over a Kia Soul.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        I assume CUV’s like the sol sell pretty well , we know the Dart does not, I can see the civic, corolla but I think most kids would go cheaper than that aka the SOl but not sure about that.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This was a car I really wanted to love. I find in the top trim it is very attractive, and the first few that I saw in the wild really caught my eye.

    The problem with the 200 is it is still class uncompetitive. It is head and shoulders better than the previous gen 200/Avenger it replaced, but it is still at the back of the pack.

    Seems to me that the 200 is the new W-Body used bargain basement if it has the V6 under the hood. Nothing actually terrible about the car, just not up to top of the pack standards.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      To me it’s an odd size as well, and that doesn’t help the sales. I get why they did it, can’t have it same size as the 300 or the Dart.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Pretty much echos my thoughts. Good looking, great powertrain, questionable long term trust.

      • 0 avatar
        GermanReliabilityMyth

        So, it sounds to me like the problem lies more with the company than the product. Unfortunately, it’s easier to fix a product than a company or repair a reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      It’s definitely a good looking car. It seems like FCA has no desire to sweat the details on it or the Dart.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Seems to me that the 200 is the new W-Body used bargain basement if it has the V6 under the hood. Nothing actually terrible about the car, just not up to top of the pack standards.”

      I think the big difference is the W-body Impala is built on old bones that everyone and their brother knows how to work on. Up until 2012 they had the old 4T65E which was never stellar per se, but well understood and on the whole serves pretty faithfully in most 3800 and 3400/3500 applications. Likewise the old OHV engines outside of some repairable gasket issues (LIM on 3400 and 3800, headgaskets on 3500s). The newer DI 3.6 and 6 speed combination is less tested, but the automatic seems problem free, and aside from keeping the valvetrain happy with timely oil changes and potential DI woes the new V6 seems decent enough. Electrically and interior wise I’ve only heard of some power door lock actuator issues and HVAC blend door issues. If I had to guess, these yet-untried 200s with their already problematic 9 speed automatics are a whole ‘nother can of worms. Early 3.6 pentastar V6s have some issues with heads leading to a massive recall, who knows what the smaller 3.2 V6 might turn up. And like most Chryslers, we can assume weak front ends and wonky and hard to diagnose electrical faults.

      So in sum, no the new 200 has no right to claim tried and true discounted v6 sedan status as the W body can.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        As a back up to your statement my 2013 W-body LT Impala has been 100 % bulletproof over nearly 48K miles of driving and all I have done to this car is oil changes and a recent set of tires and that’s it. Aside from an occasional transmission hard upshift after lifting off the gas in fast moving traffic the drive train has been very reliable and nothing is leaking or has gone wrong. It also hasn’t used a drop of oil between intervals and even the tires have held air perfectly both this Winter and last. Old bones or no it has been a very good companion the past 3 years and serves it’s purpose very well indeed. I would buy another Impala in a heartbeat(no pun intended).

  • avatar
    ajla

    No one wants these things.

    Whenever I am at my FCA dealer for service (often!), the 200s are stacked up like cord wood and the salespeople are begging customers to check them out, so I’m guessing they all have healthy spiffs.

    I was given an I4 one as a loaner. It was an unimpressive experience.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s bekooz it’s too heavy for a 4! What things have gone wrong with your Charger, can you compile a quickie list?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Things I’ve gone to the dealer for:

        Delivered out of alignment, keyless entry doesn’t work about 20% of the time, push button start only works if the key is out of my pocket, seat track creaked when entering/exiting, battery failed, alternator failed, trans makes a whine noise shifting between drive and park, exterior door handle fell off, rear speakers failed, HVAC blend door failed (and is still noisy), HVAC controls stopped responding, TPMS system failed.
        _______
        Things I have not gone to the dealer for but are annoying:

        Glue seeps from the window seals, gear indicator plastic is cracking, clear coat on roof is failing, plastic panels under the hood are warping, door panels and dash board rattles, interior door handles are loose, steering wheel controls rarely work the first time.

  • avatar
    jimble

    The problem with the 200 and the Dart is that they’re both seriously overweight. When your car is hundreds of pounds heavier than the competition no amount of gears in the transmission will overcome that disadvantage.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I really don’t understand. Is the car really that bad compared to the competition?

    I’m imagining the 200 is not getting cross shopped with the likes of the Accord, Camry or Altima…. is it really that far off the mark from the Legacy/Fusion/Sonaptima? I can’t log into CR or True Delta but TD says the 2015 doesn’t have too many trips for repairs. What is missing here?

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      A few things killed it.

      * It’s heavy for the segment, so it feels a little underpowered at times
      * The 9-speed automatic has turned into FCA’s own millstone, they’re probably better off going back to the DDCT
      * It’s reliable enough, but you get as much or more for the money from the Korea twins.
      * It’s frankly unmemorable and doesn’t really shine in one area compared to the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      The cars it’s competing against are particularly strong especially for what buyers want in this class.

      Without a strong incentive to buy one why would you leave Toyota, Honda, or Nissan. And Subaru buyers want a Subaru.

      It seems, with certain classes of cars, FCA and Chrysler before them do the bare minimum and then wonder why sales start to fall off.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “What is missing here?” npaladin2000 makes a good start, and I’d add suspension refinement. The base-level 200s I’ve driven are too soft and have poor body control. At this point, the 200 is basically a Hyundai Sonata with worse interior quality.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        and worse warranty. And honestly at this point worse image/reputation.

        EVERYONE, even non car folks, see the 200 as a rental car. Nobody wants to buy a rental car.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    A low margin segment where FCA has never really been competitive and is now disappearing anyway…one has to wonder why it took THIS long to decide to stop throwing money down a hole building compacts and midsizers. Unless they were planning a Hellcat version anyway, which I’m sure every redneck wants to ornament his overgrown lawn. :)

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      When gas prices go back up their “no cars” gamble will backfire in a major way. Doesn’t help that their CUVs have less than great fuel economy as well. A CR-V can survive in an expensive gas period…. it gets 29 MPG combined. 200 4 banger only musters 28 and the 4 banger FWD Cherokee only does 25. I am too lazy to look it up now but I bet that all comes down to weight. They really need to cut weight out of the next gen of this platform if they want to survive.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        CUVs have much better fuel economy than traditional SUVs, that’s why this is less of a risk than it would have been before. And frankly, not shelling out for extra car variants of their platforms lets them concentrate on things like weight savings and the next-gen of MultiAir engines for better FE. And maybe put some money towards working the kinks out of the DDCT and the 9-speed automatic.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          CUVs do have better gas mileage than traditonal SUVs, but FCA’s CUVs and cars still have worse FE than the competition, and to be frank I don’t know if they have the money to develop new engines and chassis in time, nor am I sure I would trust those new engines in early builds, particularly if they were loaded with new tech like DI and the like.

          That 9AT is going to be a problem forever. They can’t ditch it and they can’t really change it without completely redesigning it. It should have been a conventional 8AT. Decades in Chrysler still struggles with transmissions,.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I really want to love the 200, and I have a few V6s saved on my phone app.

    But when it comes down to it, I can’t get around that terrible 9-speed transmission, and the tight interior. The trunk is enormous; FCA should have donated 4 inches of it to the back seat, and it needs more headroom.

    Given the choice, I’d get a 1.6T Sonata or Optima instead.

  • avatar
    shaker

    An attractive car (especially in that blue), but it’s a weird size, and heavy, and lacks interior space.

    The opposite of the TARDIS.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    They took the incentives off the 200 and it tanked. It is not only because of weak sales. One the reasons they are shutting down production is that they are moving Crossover/Truck production into to the plants that the 200/Dart are being currently built. This was done as a result of the new UAW contract. They are shifting truck/CUV/SUV production to the US. Future car production will most likely be in China/Asia/India/Eastern Europe…IF they see a need for it. Making cars with incentives on the hood is not worth it in the US Anymore.

    I rented both a Dart and a 200 and I liked both cars. The problem is the resale value, reliability, and the dealer network are not very good. So it is difficult to take a chance on them.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “In this case, the numbers simply make a solitary request of FCA: Give up.”

    Tim I think its a case of Fiat sourced product vs legacy Chrysler sourced product.

    To this point Fiat sourced product has consisted of:

    Fiat 500
    Fiat 500L
    Fiat 500X
    Dodge Dart
    Chrysler 200
    Jeep Cherokee

    Product recently added:

    Jeep Renegade

    Product coming online:

    Chrysler Pacifica minivan

    You’re the numbers guy but I think of this list the Cherokee has been the only truly successful product, with Renegade maybe coming in second (but it hasn’t been out long enough IMO).

    Renegade sales: 60,946 (2015 USDM)
    Cherokee sales: 220,260 (2015 USDM)
    Source: Wiki

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(KL)

    Maybe its as simple as Fiat product sucks?

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      The 500X seems to be doing OK also. That being a close cousin of the Renegade they can probably be counted together (they’re built together after all). Not sure how well the regular 500 is doing, but I actually see a decent number of them on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Wiki doesn’t have sales figures for 500X. The 500 Pop (or whatever it was called) has been out since I think MY12 so there are a fair amount of them floating around vs the two MY old 500X.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Hey 28, Tim has the 500X numbers right here:

          http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2015/06/fiat-500x-usa-canada-monthly-yearly-sales-figures.html

          I think you have your nomenclature backwards; the 500X is a MY2015 product. “Pop” is the base trim level in a 500, 500L, or 500X.

          In 500X form, the Pop trim has the 1.4T with a 6-speed stick. This version is the only one I’d consider, and it gets good reviews, actually.

          In the 500, the Pop trim is just the 1.4 non-turbo. I’ve driven it, and it’s pretty anemic.

  • avatar

    What do you get when you cross Fiat with Chrysler? A BIG car that doesn’t start.

    The problem with the 200 is that its just the latest in Chrysler proud legacy of garbage cars. Every Chrysler car (meaning sedan) is just an excuse-laden depreciation queen. Beyond that, the products themselves have become a punchline for the general public – “I drive a DODGE STRATUS!” “He must feel like a loser/Valet-ing that 2006 PT Cruiser” “It [300] do like a Phantom…until a REAL Phantom pull up!” Its hard to overcome that with decades of slipshod and unappealing product to boot.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m starting to see why Exor wants to unload this.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Hey, I DID drive a Dodge Stratus (95) – impressed?!

      • 0 avatar

        Only if you can also do 100 pushups in 20 minutes.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          When I got into Ranger School, I could bust out 100 in under 3 minutes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I thought I read in order to get into Ranger School the minimum number of push-ups concurrently was 60. Do they allow a brief rest in those three minutes to get to 100?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s been lowered to 49+ in 2 minutes, no rest during but 10 minutes between exercises. Don’t do the minimum though. Set the standard. High PT scores directly correlate to success in Ranger School. If someone wants to be a Ranger when they enlist, they should be aiming for perfect PT scores by week 2-3 of basic training, if not before they get to basic.

            The Army Physical Fitness test used to be 2 minutes of push ups, two minutes of sit ups, and a 2 mile run. My best was 80 push ups, 95 sit ups, and a two mile run in 11 minutes. I was Captain (er, Private) America back then.

            The Ranger Physical Fitness Test push ups (50+), sit ups (60+), chin ups(6+), and a five mile run (under 40 minutes). That is easy after Basic and Airborne school (During Airborne School I was running 8-10 miles a day because I never got tired of it). Florida Phase of Ranger School has a 10-day field training exercise poop sandwich that is way worse.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “My best was 80 push ups, 95 sit ups, and a two mile run in 11 minutes.”

            Dayyyyyyymmnnnn.

            When I run the treadmill, with a 3 min warmup I can close 2 miles in just under 20min @ 6mph and I thought that was kinda good.

            I was also semi-impressed with the fact I could do 40 pushups in a row… need to get a newer body or maybe drink the blood of children. Something.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    To date, I have rented four 200’s, I wasn’t impressed – there is something amiss with the herky-jerky throttle response of the 4 cylinder engine and I loathe the rotary gear selector.

    That said, this car could be saved with some adjustment and improvement. The problem with this vehicle class, however, is that you have to really do it right to survive or you’ll be done in by those that do as this is a contracting segment. Doing it right is something that FCA seems unlikely to do.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      I heard good things at the start, but, then again, didn’t they run them with the V6 pentastar mated to some German-sourced six-speed automatic for the first many months? I bet those are the better ones.

      I have a 6-speed and a 4-speed auto presently. The 6-speed gets so much more fuel economy, but the 4-speed is utterly predictable – that is, when I mash the gas pedal, it goes. The 6-speed may go in the current gear, it may shift right, or it may do something incredibly stupid like shift down to first and cause my car to hit the rev limiter. I have to coax it so much more. A 9-speed would just drive me nuts – make a CVT correctly at that point.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        They’ve had the 9 speed from the start.

        62TE was in the previous generation…..and that was barely any better.

        • 0 avatar
          justdave

          Yep, that 9 speed is wretched; partly programming (I guess) but partly inherent to the design. I read a detailed breakdown on how it works, there is an unavoidable long delay between 4th & 5th (or maybe 5th & 6th, can’t remember), up or down, which really puts the hurt on passing.

          I’ve had a couple of the 1st gen 200 rentals with v6 & 6spd, and was very impressed – veritable rockets, seriously! Roast the tires on a whim, or 60 to 110 WAY quicker than I woulda guessed, and more on tap, but I ran outta balls before it did. They were my go-to rental, until the damn 9spd :(

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Yes, rotary gear selector is utter garbage. I rented this for a week, and that gear knob is the worst I’ve used in any car… ever.

      Average size trunk, small back seat, middling fuel economy for a 4 banger, terrible and noisy engine and tires. The only thing I liked about it was the beverage holder in between the front seats slid back to reveal a huge storage area. That was great.

      I wouldn’t rent one again.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My F-I-L has one as a lease. In higher trim levels, it is a rather attractive car. My wife was kind of jonesing for one when we went looking for a four-door family hauler, but seeing all of this kind of makes me wonder if we didn’t dodge a bullet by not picking one up. Not that I think the 2013 Cruze 2LT we got is the paragon of sexy/cool, but the wife truly likes the thing, so there is that…

    As others have said, beyond price, there really wasn’t too much there with the 200 to separate it from the entrenched competition.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      With the sole exception that the seats contort me, (seats of course being subjective, and the Verano’s seats fitting me well) a 2LT Cruze is a really solid buy. Decent space, rides well, feels solid, seems to hold up well to abuse.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Agree RE: Well-equipped Cruze. You’d have to give me some discounts on one, as the price gets up pretty high on that trim. But I don’t think that’s normally an issue at a Chevy dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          We bought it used about a month ago. With just at 40k on it, we were hard-pressed to find another four-door so well equipped. Leather, sunroof, RS package, etc…makes my 2004 Lancer Sportback Ralliart feel like a 75 Super Beetle in comparison. We’re quite pleased with the purchase so far.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    In a shrinking market, the marginal players are the first to go. Sedans sales are down, and the old 200/Sebring did a lot of damage to Chrysler’s rep in that area. They had a lot of inertia to overcome, and the disappointing Dart and improved-but-not-great 200 couldn’t get the job done. I’m sorry to see them go, more choice is good and their products had potential, but I can’t blame them for bailing on this segment.

  • avatar
    dwford

    When you come out and publicly say that your midsize sedan is junk and your designers screwed up, and that you are cancelling it, what do you expect customers to do? Same thing at Cadillac. All we hear from management is that all their current cars suck and that the next ones will be better. You can tell these guys have never been in car sales before.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      When has the Cadillac management triumvirate stated the obvious fact their current product sucks?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @dwford: Yes, I was stunned when Sergio called out the designer(s) who cloned the Sonata’s poor rear door entry. “Stupid” was the term I think he used, really throwing his people under the bus.

      For perspective, I’d like to see him own the abysmal 9-speed automatic decision, which plagues the entire FWD FCA line – Jeep included. THAT was “stupid”. Remember the thousands of Jeeps that piled up at the factory because the 9-speed’s software wasn’t right? Well, it still isn’t, and I have to wonder if all that weird, uneven shifting will take a toll in reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        It did on a friends Cherokee…..she loves the thing but the transmission is garbage. Back to the dealer for a total of just over a month out of service. They’re now replacing the entire transmission—with just under 30K on it.

        Everyone heard the same crap from them when the Ultradrive came out—“we’ll fix it!”—the never did.

        Dear Chrysler,

        Just buy your transmissions from someone that can make them correctly. Ditching the Jatco CVT for the Hyundai 6 speed in the Compass/Patriot was a decent move.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone claim ZF doesn’t know how to make transmissions. honestly I’d wager the issues with the 9HP are just design choices which had to be made (dog clutches, gearset reversals) to cram 9 forward ratios into a transaxle. Apparently the same box in Acuras are getting the same complaints. but are these problems actual failures, or dislikes of shift quality?

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Maybe a 9 speed automatic is just a little beyond what can currently be built while preserving the experience customers are looking for?

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            ZF is hit or miss in transmissions. The 8 speed RWD unit is fantastic. This 9 speed is garbage.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @SC5door:

          The Hyundai 6-speed automatic is a fine transmission. FCA also used it in early Darts (don’t know about now). The one I drove with a 2.0L wasn’t bad, except for the engine.

          Swapping out the 9-speed with the Hyundai 6-speed would help across the board.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    “I see a Bad Moon Arising” for FCA in the near future.

    Chrysler have historically struggled to maintain it’s existence.

    FCA only has the NA market to rely on to keep it afloat, even then I is reliant on products that are not the best sellers in other markets.

    1. Ram, this is hardly known outside of the US.

    2. Jeep, it is not iconic in most any global market, like it is in the US.

    These are the only real winner that FCA has. Most of FCA’s global markets that like Fiat are highly variable economically and can’t be relied on to pull a constant growth/profit. Look at Brazil for starter, and even Italy to a degree.

    I wonder when Sergio will breakdown FCA into profitable and not profitable parts and sell off what is not needed.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    seems like Chrysler just cannot compete in either the mid-size nor compact class.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    If they had 45K at dealers at the beginning of Jan and they only managed to move about 12% of them by the end of the month it sounds like they should pull the plug for the rest of the model year not just 6 weeks. There are only 7 months remaining in the model year and by my math 7×12= 84 suggesting that they have enough in stock to last them through the year.

    It is time to just call it quits with the 200 and the mid size segment, and stop throwing money away.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Basically, Chrysler cannot compete on practical cars with mass appeal. They do better with image cars because their reliability reputation is just no good.

    On top of that, the base (mass-market) engine is paired with a schizophrenic transmission. The driver’s visibility is poor. The roof is low and the pillars are thick blocking important lane change and parking sight lines. Style is great to look at, but that does not sell midsize family cars.

    I rented a 200 and desperately wanted to like it. Perhaps in V6 trim (with the 6AT) and fully loaded it’s a good alternative premium sedan. But for a family on a $25k budget and planning to rely on the car forever, this is a hard sell compared to the no-nonsense CamCords.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      “Basically, Chrysler cannot compete on practical cars with mass appeal. ”

      Actually, your definition is out of date. Practical cars with mass appeal these days are crossover SUVs, not sedans.

      Agreed on the schitzo 9AT.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Which are built on the same platforms using the same drivetrains and are fundamentally of little difference other than “oh kewl a trucklet”.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        I last read that the Accord and Camry are still the top sellers in the US. But sure, let’s switch segments. How are those Jeep Cherokees selling in comparison to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4? Better than the 200 in relation to the CamCord for sure, but the CUV segment is fuelled by image, at least to a deep enough extent that the Jeeps have an undeniable appeal.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          To be fair to the Cherokee, they can’t make any more than they are currently producing. They could sell more if they had more capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Which is exactly what they’re trying to do. Stop building a car that doesn’t seem to sell, and build more of the car that people actually seem to want.

            Strange that so many seem to object to this? Or maybe they like getting $10k off a V6 midsize. :)

          • 0 avatar

            I guess not everyone listens to consumer reports. I have noticed this publication has put just about every Jeep on its “not recommended” list.

            Do Jeeps suck?

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            For what they’re designed to do they’re generally awesome. But they’re not the most reliable vehicles in the world, and they tend to get treated a little rougher than regular cars by their owners. CR places a very high emphasis on reliability, you can’t get recommended without at least average reliability per their survey, even if it’s the most absolutely awesomest vehicles on the face of the earth otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The V6 does not come with a 6 speed, it comes with the ZF 9 speed.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Fiat + Chrysler = P.O.S. Two bad car companies, do not make one good one.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Seemed to work for awhile.

      • 0 avatar
        Corollaman

        When exactly?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          When FCA gained all that market-share from what 2011 to 14?

          • 0 avatar
            Corollaman

            Americans were fooled by Sergio just like many are being fooled by Bernie now.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Americans weren’t fooled. They like SUVs and the Jeep brand.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Granted its biased, but numbers don’t lie:

            http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/06/best-june-market-share-since-2007-for-fca-29062

            I have argued in the past it was core DaimlerChrysler product which had been the success story here, Fiat’s product influence appears to be blowing it. I’m not sure if Sergio M. is a snake oil salesman or not but with all of his merger talk he appears to be heading for the exits and I can see why. If there’s nothing brand new in the pipeline, well…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            FCA/Sergio have done a good job at refreshing existing vehicles. I don’t know which ones his team is specifically responsible for, but the Charger, 300, 200, JGC, an RAM pickup all have had good refreshes.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      The ironic thing is, Fiat doesn’t make objectively bad cars anymore. They make OK cars that look cool, but are faced with a psychologically closed American market. The journalists are complicit in this, taking too many sensationalist jabs at Fiat’s quirks and other subjective issues.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I know 2 people who purchased FCA products during that period and they both regret it now, I am not a dick, otherwise I would say to them “I told you not to”

  • avatar
    redapple

    I rented a Cherokee last week. 600 miles – almost all Expressway. Indy-Dayton-Anna-Dearborn.

    I got 31 MPG. Gallons/miles driven. (not the worthless lying trip computers)

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Edmunds is getting 24 mpg HIGHWAY with their rotten long-term Renegade.

      http://www.edmunds.com/jeep/renegade/2015/long-term-road-test/2015-jeep-renegade-trailhawk-six-days-on-the-road-la-to-detroit-in-numbers.html

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I’ve learned that when I ride with someone who complains about their car’s poor gas mileage, it takes me only a matter of seconds to figure out why. Jackrabbit starts, late braking, constant accel/decel while supposedly cruising. There are a bunch of people out there who think “driving gently” means “I don’t smoke the tires from every stop.” I have no problems getting in the mid 30mpg range on a 1.5l Fusion, driving like I normally do.

        people simply are terrible at evaluating their own driving style and skills.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Decent rig but way smaller than an Equinox.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Remember the fairly recent Chrysler commercials mocking the German and Japanese makes? Ouch.

  • avatar

    The 200 has a pretty face, and may explain why the new minivan is using it. Its interior is a step of above what I have seen in most GM midsize cars.

    Lets be honest the mixed reviews the car gets in consumer reports in mostly due to the fact it was picked to the segments whipping boy. The 200 with a pentastar v6 will run circles around the Camry.The Camry is a rubbish car that the autopress has made an agreement to praise. In way it is in the opposite situation the 200 finds itself in.

    The general consensus is that Fiat DNA in FCA cars has back fired.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    About 178,000 units were delivered in the US last year. That isn’t a small number by any measure.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I think the biggest problem with the Dart and 200 is that FCA doesn’t have a great reputation for small and midsized cars, and are they are not front of mind with potential buyers.

    Both the cars may have their flaws, but at least they seem relatively competitive in their segments – and are by all accounts a vast improvement over their predecessors. FCA has tried to differentiate their products, for example, the 200 has a powerful V6, AWD, and plenty of gadgets available that may not be offered in competitive midsized mainstream sedans. Unfortunately, Chrysler doesn’t have a strong enough brand to command a premium price for a loaded 200 – and there probably isn’t much margin on the lower trim versions.

    Fixing this would take another 5 – 10 years of investment and continuous improvement, and would only gain them a stronger position in a shrinking market. Sergio probably sees this, and figures it makes more sense to play to their strengths, and focus their scarce resources on vehicles that they can sell more profitably. They have stronger brands – and more pricing power – in Trucks, SUVs, and Muscle Cars.

    Partnering with another automaker gives them a way to maintain some presence in the C and D segment market, and allows them to hedge their bets in case small and medium car popularity increases in the future.

    I didn’t reply to the story about who might make the new C and D segment products, but I think Mazda might be a good guess: they have strong products in this segment, North American production capacity, and are open to collaboration with other automakers. I don’t think the Mazda Mopars need to be simple rebadges – they could be more differentiated like the old Mazda 6 / Ford Fusion or Mazda 3 / Ford Focus / Volvo C30.

    All of this makes perfect sense to me – although I do agree with a comment made in the other thread: “what good is Fiat if they can’t produce a competitive small car”…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ve driven both the 200 and the Dart, and the common thread between both is easy to spot: no one sweated the details. The 200 looked great and had terrific power from the Pentastar, but the doors made a clunky sound when they closed, and that rotary shifter feels like pure junk. Body fits were questionable. The transmission hunted constantly. Plus, all the class leaders in this segment are VAST inside, and the 200 feels more like a big compact than a midsize.

    The Dart was also a pleasant surprise in terms of power and handling dynamics, but again…crappy interior materials, uncomfortable seats, and an engine that sounded like a John Deere when you started it with the door open. Plus, the hood prop burned my hand when I tried to use it – Ronnie’s Dart review from a few years back noted the same issue, and it’s just amazing that they couldn’t fix something that easy in the YEARS they had to do so.

    Drive either of these cars back to back with something truly class leading and it’s obvious why they don’t sell. It’s maddening, really, because the car guy in me sees the potential. But they just cheaped out when it counted.

    And everyone’s exactly correct – if and when gas prices spike, this company and all the gas-eating product it has that does sell, will be well and truly boned.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed on the Dart’s engine(s).

      I drove a 1.4T-6M and 2.0-6A in the Dart, and the 2.4-9A in a Renegade. That Tigershark is rough.
      Hard to believe it shares some components with the 2.4 ‘world’ engine used by Hyundai, although I think the Hyundai version has balancing built in to it.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        This is a company they decided a V10 wasn’t bad-boy enough, and decided to make a twin-turbocharged version of a Hemi V8. Somehow I don’t think smoothness is high on their priority list. :)

  • avatar
    eliminator

    First of all, it’s really sad to see Chrysler / Dodge go like this.
    I agree giving up this not so small (although shrinking) market segment is the best short-term (stop loss!) strategy, but I wonder if it’s the best long term one.
    Maybe FCA recognize it’s not, but do it anyway because they know there’s not too much long term to look for.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I’m thinking that the UF 200 is experiencing poor sales is largely due to the 9-speed transmission sourced from ZF. Many owners are having major issues with this transmission. I’ve overheard bits and pieces of the story from service managers at my local dealership while getting my 2013 serviced. I initially thought that this was just some bugs that haven’t been worked out as it was completely new.

    However, the severity of this problem became real when I requested a 200 as a rental just to compare it to my 2013. Every single one that Enterprise had–at least at the location I visited–was out of commission until Chrysler could address the issue.

    I could only imagine that this issue alone has a lot to do with it. Granted, I am content with my JS-platform 200 and actually prefer it over the current UF-platform. Nonetheless, it’s still disappointing.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I’m thinking that the UF 200 is experiencing poor sales is largely due to the 9-speed transmission sourced from ZF”

      This isn’t the reason. Few customers know or care how many gears are in the trans. Few customers notice the behavior of the trans. The customers that do hardly talk about it. FCA isn’t pushing them to dealers, that’s why they aren’t selling, plain and simple.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I think that the 200 and the Dart never really had any good engines. None of the engines offered seemed very sporty or very fuel-efficient. The 3.5 V-6 in the 200 was really a bit too big.

    Then, of course, the interior of the 200 really was too small to compete with the best mid-sized competition. In addition to competing with various mid-sized cars, I think Chrysler was trying to also compete with the Buick Regal, and it really wasn’t as good.

  • avatar

    Rented one for a week. It didn’t really suck, as a transportation appliance. Decently quiet, gadgets inside OK. Not a sportscar but for the class better NVH than, say, an Optima.

    I swapped it back because it had the infamous Chrysler Seat. The seat bottoms are too short, so if you are long legged, you will end up with back pain as the bolsters end about mid thigh, so you are always perched on the edge of the seat. I’m convinced it looks “more roomy” in the showroom and saves two-four inches of material per seat.

    How you get a seat wrong always amazes me. I know you have to accomodate a 90 lb female and a 300 lb six foot male, but…. I rented a LeBaron Convertible back in the 80’s and my wife and I wanted to burn it by the end of a week-we had rolled up towels in a vain attempt to find support. To drive a car 20 years later with the same flaw ? For the record, we are both well within normal height and weight ranges…..

    • 0 avatar
      Speedygreg7

      If you don’t like a short seat, then don’t ever set foot in a Subaru or Toyota showroom. The current Forester has perhaps the worst seat of any car on sale today and any Toyota I’ve tried has been nearly as bad.

      For what it is worth, The 2014 RAM 1500 I drive every day has a fantastic seat with a long bottom cushion and plenty of support for me at average height.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        I concur about the Subaru seats in the Forester. They are rock hard and short and not at all comfortable on long trips. My friend who owns a 2007 (that has been a real exercise in repair bills) tried out a new one and wrote Subaru off on his next car purchase which is quite telling.

        • 0 avatar

          Agreed. I’ve been in a few rally equipped Subies and know they are stout and fast-and all have had race seating. When I get in a street version, no fit….no buy.

          Now that you mention it, Toyota Jan is on the tiny side, too. I’d try to make a witty comment about her seat but she creeps me out too much.

          The best approach is how BMW on the sport seat has a movable bottom bolster. Short or very long, your call. Of course, this is at a much higher price point, and you have to pay again for the sport seats package….but my late Golf TDi with standard seats had a long enough bottom cushion….really, it comes down to paying for, or not, three inches of material and cushion per seat.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    FCA would be better off to kill off Chrysler and Dodge and just put their resources into expanding Ram and Jeep. Part of the problem is not Chrysler but that crossovers and SUVs are eating into the market for sedans. Too many manufacturers making compact and midsize sedans and most of the competition has at least as good or better automobiles. Even if FCA made a midsize sedan with more interior room and better quality it would not be enough to match the competition especially in a dwindling market for sedans. FCA needs to cut their loses and get out of the car market, at least in the US and Canada. If FCA wants to keep their minivan then they could market it under the Ram name. FCA should also kill off Alfa Romeo. The value in FCA is Ram and Jeep and without those brands FCA is a dead.

  • avatar
    rreichar

    I bought a 2015 200 for m 16 year old son. It was $20,000 with leather and nav and the premium audio system. While the car isn’t huge inside we have done medium road trips with 5 people with no complaints. My wife liked the car so much that she is driving it now. My son has my 2015 Jeep Wrangler and I bought a 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. I am thinking about another 200 for my daughter who is in college. The car drives nicely. I certainly prefer it to any Camry. I haven’t driven an Accord recently but I can’t imagine a similarly equipped Accord for 20K. The FCA 8.4 infotainment system is best in class IMO.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Here is the truth: Sales are falling off because FCA decided to stop pushing them.

    The 200 is a generally good car that FCA makes little money on and will lose money on as CAFE tightens.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    20k with leather and navigation is a good price. I rented a 2012 4 years ago with a 4 cylinder and it was not bad, but I would choose an Accord over it. Maybe for 20k with leather and navigation I might be more interested.

  • avatar

    Last year the 200 was the bestselling Chrysler mid-sized sedan since the 1996 intrepid. If Chrysler cannot be profitable selling 165,000 200’s a year then the company is indeed sick. I now know why the Japanese and Koreans have surpassed Detroit in every segment with the exception of large trucks and SUVs. Unless a car is a smashing success it seems the US carmakers just cannot make a profit selling them.

    At this point I would take a 92 year old Iacocca over Sergio. If Iacocca can convince American’s to buy over 200,000 Aries imagine what he could do with the half way decent 200. Unlike Iacocca, Sergio has no instinctive feel for the US market. I think he actually believed American’s would be enthralled with the 500 and would see Alfa as a competitor to Audi.

    In 2015 the 200 knocked the Malibu off as America’s second bestselling family sedan behind the Fusion. However, the Malibu will still survive because GM is now simply a better run company. I wonder how long people at Chrysler are going to tolerate Sergio’s odd behavior and inane decision making. Look for Ralph Giles (Designer: 300, Jeep) to be one of the first major players at Chrysler to leave the company.

    I just hope ten years from now Chrysler is not broken apart. I can eventually see a Chinese company taking over Jeep. I know Sergio is still looking to find a suitor for Chrysler. I just hope before that happens Chrysler is not weakened to the point it is not worth taking over.

    It is time for a Chrysler dead watch.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Unfortunately @akear you are correct. Chrysler at one time was a leader in innovation with torsion bars, alternators, hemi engine, and some other innovations. Iacocca was a real car guy and a real leader and even at age 92 he would still be more capable than Sergio. Spending money on Alfa Romeo is a waste. The value in FCA is Jeep and Ram.

  • avatar

    I would not call Iacocca a true car guy, but a brilliant marketing person. He was given limited resources with the K-car and somehow made the company profitable. Of course he is mostly known for Mustang and Minivan, which are two niche markets he created.

    Iacocca stated a few years ago that the 500 would not fly in America.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Maybe so but Iaccoca is more of a car guy than Sergio. Iaccoca was the right person at the right time for Chrysler. Lee was a master marketer and could read the pulse of the car buyer much better than Sergio. The number of competitive midsize and compact cars on the market is comparable with the number of Republican candidates running for President, not everyone will survive. I do agree with Sergio that if Chrysler and Dodge brands are going to continue selling cars then they should outsource the production of them. I believe that FCA would be better off phasing the Chrysler and Dodge division out similar to what Chrysler did with Plymouth. FCA will have a much harder time finding a merger candidate with Chrysler and Dodge. Again the value in FCA is Jeep and Ram.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Kamil Kaluski, United States
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States