By on March 4, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200S AWD, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America

The plan was straightforward. With demand for conventional midsize cars gradually decreasing and buyers in Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. showrooms increasingly turning to flexible Jeep SUVs, Chrysler 200 production would be temporarily shut down. Inventory was piling up. Inventory needed to be cleared out.

Rather than build more sedans, which would simply be piled up on top of existing unsold 200s, a six-week production hiatus would allow time for 200 supply and demand to realign at more realistic levels.

But the clear-out of those existing, unsold 200s — Automotive News says Chrysler had a 217-day supply of 47,000 200s at the beginning of February — isn’t having any measurable impact on 200 sales. In fact, while FCA wants to see 200s leaving showrooms in order for space to be created for new 200s once production is reignited, demand for the 200 is drying up.

We reported this one month ago, helping to explain why FCA announced in late January that 200 production would be paused. January volume tumbled 63 percent, an 8,957-unit year-over-year decline for FCA’s sole remaining intermediate car.

Surely this was nothing more than an anomaly though, right? Surely surging Fiat Chrysler could sell a swoopy design with a class-leading V6 powerplant and available all-wheel drive in one of America’s most popular new vehicle categories, right? The strange timing of incentives and product mixes and winter storms and GOP debates must have briefly caused 200 buyers to temporarily disappear, right?

Chrysler 200 sales then plunged 58 percent in February 2016, a 9,208-unit year-over-year decrease.

U.S. sales of midsize cars actually increased in February. The segment is slowing, but it’s far from dead. Overall, February sales of new vehicles jumped 7 percent in the U.S.; midsize car volume was up little more than 1 percent, a modest improvement powered by big gains at Chevrolet (Malibu up 53 percent), Ford (Fusion up 12 percent), Honda (Accord up 19 percent), and Hyundai (Sonata up 25 percent).

Total Chrysler brand sales are down 24 percent so far this year, a startlingly poor result for a namesake brand at a fast-growing manufacturer in an exceedingly healthy market. U.S. auto sales last month rose to the highest February level since 2001. It was the best February for FCA/Chrysler Group since 2006. Year-over-year, sales across the FCA conglomerate increased 10 percent.

2016 Chrysler 200S and 2016 Chrysler 200C, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America

At the Chrysler brand, however, the losses which have occurred through 2016’s first two months all stem from the 200. In advance of the Pacifica’s arrival, Town & Country volume rose by a quarter to 18,030 through January and February. Sales of the 300 are also up 25 percent, producing the best start to a year for the flagship sedan in three years.

January and February are low-volume months on the auto sales calendar, but the bright spots in FCA’s car division are still worthy of note. Working with the 300’s 25-percent uptick are improvements from the Challenger and Charger, the latter of which is roundly outselling the 200 in America this year.

The list of of FCA products currently outselling the 200 would be too lengthy to list if this was a print publication. Every Jeep, even the the Patriot, Compass, and Renegade. Both minivans. Ram’s lone pickup truck (by nearly six-to-one). The Charger, Dart, Durango, and Journey, too.

Only 3.5 percent of the FCA vehicles sold in January and February were Chrysler 200 sedans.

The car’s midsize market share, rising to 9 percent at this stage of 2015, fell below 4 percent in 2016’s first two months.

2016 Chrysler 200S, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America

One year ago, only 17 nameplates — and only eight cars — were outselling the 200, sales of which had jumped 31 percent year-over-year. But presently, the 200 is America’s 68th-best-selling vehicle and the 24th-best-selling car, a fall from grace typically witnessed only with discontinued cars or when cars are in the midst of transitioning into a new generation.

In the case of Chrysler’s midsize sedan, even if the car had debuted in mid-2014 to industry-wide “best-in-class” declarations, it would still have taken more than a generation for Chrysler to cement a positive reputation. But Chrysler did not introduce a car that was widely praised as best-in-class. Chrysler is not synonymous in the midsize sector with reliability, perceived quality, and long-term durability. And the midsize sector is chock full of buyers who turn most often to the sedans with the most deeply entrenched reputations for reliability.

Fortunately for Fiat Chrysler, none of this appears to relate at all to the company’s ability to succeed with pickup trucks and SUVs. Jeep, Ram, and Dodge’s two utility vehicles, which produced nearly seven out of every ten FCA sales in January and February, collectively produced a 19-percent improvement equal to 36,000 additional sales.

Not only does such a gain offset the loss of 18,000 Chrysler 200 sales, it also offsets the 2,400-unit decline from another FCA namesake product, the Fiat 500.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America]

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.

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127 Comments on “Chrysler 200 Demand Dries Up As FCA Tries To Clear 200 Inventory Glut...”


  • avatar
    RyleyinSTL

    I rent the new 200 from time to time and other than the 9 speed I don’t really have anything bad to say about it compared to the average midsize.

    For me though the 9 speed would be a deal killer. But your average commuter, living way out in the slums of the future, is unlikely to find it a problem…. most of those people have an issue differentiating between a CVT and an automatic.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    I see a number of these around and they are good looking sedans, the interior looks nice on the trims I’ve seen so what is the problem, why are they not selling?

    My boss is looking at mid-sized sedans so if this one is a good choice with money on the hood I’ll suggest it.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Only if you were hoping for an unemployment check…

      Kidding. The 200 isn’t terrible like its predecessors. But it isn’t a great car, either. And in a class brimming with great, inexpensive cars (Accord, Fusion, Mazda6), why settle for mediocre?

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        I can not for the life of me figure out how the fusion gets this love. The old one wasn’t bad, but I’m just not getting it for the newer models. It’s not as fun to drive as the old fusion (or the 200). The back is awful (I have to bend my neck 90 degrees to fit).

        I understand the Mazda and the Accord, but I’d rather drive the 200 than a Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Hey, I’m sure a Chrysler dealer will finance me a 200 when I bring them proof of my $362 weekly unemployment check.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I keep looking at them (online, on principle, comparing in the segment).

        The 200 isn’t *bad* (on paper), but it’s not compelling, either, with that competition.

        Drop the price a few grand on the high-end models and they might have a chance.

        (It does have the “available AWD” option if you care – but nobody stocks those.)

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeSlinky

      Honestly, I have no idea. I drove one for a week as a rental car, and I was incredibly impressed. It looked sharp, had a stout, rattle-free chassis, and was very smooth and precise (for a family sedan). I’d willingly drive a C200 over a Camry any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > My boss is looking at mid-sized sedans so if this one is a good choice with money on the hood I’ll suggest it.

      You are looking for a career change, aren’t you? :)

      PLEASE take it as a joke that it is… :)

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Same reason the Camry continues to sell despite an aging powertrain and platform: back seat.

      No amount of entry-level luxe can overcome a worthless second row in this class.

      It’s also possible that so many people had awful previous-gen 200 rentals that the name plate is unsalvagable.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “Same reason the Camry continues to sell despite an aging powertrain and platform: back seat.”

        No, I think the main reason the Camry continues to sell despite the old technology, obvious cost cutting, and awkward (to my eye at least) styling is that people trust it to be the safe choice for reliability and resale value. The Camry has a good reputation for both of these things going back 30+ years.

        The current 200 seems like a decent, class competitive car that Chrysler has attempted to differentiate by offering a lot of car for the money with entry lux features such as swoopy styling, nice interior, smooth powerful V6 with AWD. This makes sense, as they don’t have a strong enough brand to compete head on with the likes of the Camry.

        Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working out for them and they can’t sell these things at a price that allows them to make a decent profit. There’s probably almost no margin in the base models, and the loaded models must be heavily discounted to sell. I suppose most folks that are in the market for a deluxe Chrysler sedan would rather step up to a 300 – I know I would.

        Since they don’t seem to be winning in this market, it makes sense to cut their losses and focus their resources on areas where they can compete and make good margin – such as trucks and SUVs. Sergio’s plan to maintain some presence in the C & D segment by partnering with another automaker doesn’t seem all that silly to me. There’s no reason for the next generation compact and midsized Mopars to be simple rebadges – they could be as differentiated as the previous Ford Fusion / Mazda 6, or Mazda 3 / Ford Focus, for example.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Nice post, and I agree.

          Chrysler may have had a shot if they attempted to build the equivalent of an XX30 Avalon minus a foot or so but trying to emulate the 300 in slightly smaller guise clearly hasn’t worked. Even despite the 9-spd it could have still worked with the Dart’s chassis just drop AWD hump and center shifter completely and add 6-8 inches or rear seat room.

          • 0 avatar
            kychungkevin

            My friend bought the new 300C v6 AWD was nav last year; still trouble free and love it. The msrp was like $33k and he was able to get one for around $24k before tax and fee. Now at the price it is unbeatable. But I would not recommend to friends as I really don’t trust Chrysler reliability (doesn’t help when I recommended 3 of my friends for Ford cars with POS dual clutch that all got burned…)

            I guess somehow people think of Chrysler and Dodge as a unreliable cars (true) but Jeep is tough and good (not true)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Your friend did well indeed.

            MY15 Chrysler 300 “C” AWD V6

            02/11/16 FRDKBURG $27,800 9,099 Above BURGUNDY 6G A Yes
            02/16/16 DETROIT $27,300 9,619 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            02/16/16 DETROIT $26,100 15,158 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            02/11/16 DENVER $26,700 15,430 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
            02/25/16 DENVER $26,100 19,494 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            02/25/16 DENVER $25,900 19,784 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
            02/18/16 MISS Regular $23,400 32,200 Below GRAY 6G A Yes

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Wow, that’s stunningly cheap for a V6 sedan with AWD, 28.

            I’d pass, tho.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          Every Camry virtue you mention, penguin, while true, would be invalidated if the Camry compromised on rear-seat space and access the way the 200 has. People buy mid size sedans in large part to stuff in child seats and to carry adults in comfort. The 200 is simply less capable in that regard than its competitors. I like the car on its own terms, but every other mid sizer except maybe the 6 beats it on rear seat practicality.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I was very impressed with the 200C Rental I had, they really spared no expense with the interior. However, this is the most competitive segment in the whole industry and not Chrysler’s forte. They may be better off sticking to what they do best with SUVs, Trucks, Performance cars, etc.

            Even if gas prices go back up, I really don’t see small/midsize SUVs going anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      bertvl

      I hear you. I know the car’s supposed to be a heap of crap with a dodgy gearbox, but at least from outside it is clearly the best-looking vehicle in its segment, bar none.

      Being a bit crap hasn’t normally affected sales in the past, so why isn’t the 200 selling? Is it just that the type of buyer previously bought mid-sized sedans have all moved to CUVs?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Upon reflection, perhaps declaring the 200 a failed orphan was not Sergio’s smartest move.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Upon reflection, maybe he just waited too long to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      On the other hand, what percentage of midsize sedan buyers are reading industry news about what the Fiat chief says to determine their car choice? I agree that dissing your own product is a bizarre thing to do, but I can’t imagine Sergio’s slight having a huge impact on actual sales.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        The thing is, Marchionne’s comments weren’t just reported by the industry press—I saw plenty of bold “Chrysler to Kill 200, Dart” headlines in the mainstream media, too. NYT, USA Today, etc.

        His public comments were, frankly, idiotic.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “We aren’t going to make these any more. Let production commence right now! Buy them!”

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I don’t know what was the problem with Sergio’s announcement. What could possibly go wrong?

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Marchionne failed car sales 101. Never badmouth your product to the customer – they are less likely to buy it. Announcing to the world that you are disappointed in the design and then announcing that you are discontinuing it – 2 sales killers if there ever were. He didn’t need to say anything, but if he insisted on saying something, all he should have said is that there will be a next generation Chrysler 200 and that he was looking for another automaker to share costs with.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        In the long run though he’s pretty much saying “Hey we don’t really make cars but we DO make these *cough*more profitable*cough* SUV’s and trucks for you to look at and buy!

        He’s smart enough to know that Daimler killed Chrysler’s sedan business with the Avenger and Sebring.

        I’ll pick one up when they’re BOGO at year end.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        dwford has nailed it. Who the hell in their right mind would say this about their own product? He publicly says, “this car is $hit” and then sales fall off of a cliff. I wonder why…

        I remember the plaudits after Fiat took Chrysler off of the government’s hands; the improved cars that were released about the same time as the takeover was complete, were “proof” that Sergio was some kind of genius. The changes were under way before Sergio & Co., got there. If Geely would have gotten Chrysler instead, they would have gotten the genius accolades, instead.

        If Sergio doesn’t find some way to sell off FCA to God knows who, he’ll run the company into the ground and crater any value left in the vehicles themselves. If it wasn’t involving one of our bigger industries, it would be almost comical to watch this guy begging “take my business, please” (with apologies to Henny Youngman).

  • avatar
    Sobro

    My Nashville Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep, Ram, AMC, Eagle, EIEIO dealer has several 9-speed 200 Limiteds on the market for the low, low price of $21985.00.

    $5000 too much? $6000 too much? What will it take to get these cars off the lot? How about $50/month leases?

    • 0 avatar
      ericb91

      Love this comment. Cracked me up! EIEIO.. Hahaha!

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Yeah, local dealers are advertising some hefty discounts on the 200 and the Dart. This is nothing unusual, though. I remember you could buy a Taurus for about $12k at some point and Mitsubishi Galant was also heavily discounted when it fell out of favor.

      Passat S manual for $15k, Leaf S for $14k after federal money… the list goes on.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      If they’re willing to pay me $50 a month to drive it, yeah that might work….oh, you meant the other way around? No thanks. :)

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      Ouch. I don’t know, but around here the lowest price for a ’16 Limited, as advertised on the internet, is $17700. So, four thousand bucks? Maybe they’re be willing to deal a little bit yet, but I didn’t bother to find out what invoice is on there.

      There are dealers around who still have new 2015s for about the same price.

      • 0 avatar
        StuckInWI

        ^
        /
        |
        |

        This. I bought a ’16 200 (Limited, popular color combo but no packages, MSRP of $25.6K) for $17,488 in December, a “free” life-time powertrain warranty w/$100 deductible, and got mid-book on my trade. That deal hasn’t existed since. No wonder the sales are down.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Anyone still think discontinuing it was a bad idea?

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The issue FCA will face is that if you don’t engineer your own midsize car, then you will be challenged to engineer all the crossovers and other vehicles that are based on it.

      Without the Accord, Honda would not have the TL-X, MDX, Pilot and Odyssey. That’s a lot of high margin sales.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Unless, of course, one engineers the frigging crossover (something FCA actually does well) and doesn’t worry about the car at all. There’s no reason a crossover has to be based on a car platform. It can be based on it’s own platform. In fact, it might make a better SUV that way.

        Granted they won’t be able to amortize the platform through both sedan and crossover sales. But it’s not like FCA has appreciable compact and midsize sedan sales anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Except that FCA CANNOT engineer a competent crossover going forward.
          -The GJCDurango were co-developed with MB. Without that partnership, how will FCA engineer its replacement?
          – The Cherokee is based on the 200/Dart, which will die on the vine. No replacement platform available in house.
          – The Journey never was and never will be a good crossover
          – The ComPatriot twins were based on the Caliber, and were pretty lousy when they were introduced a decade ago.
          – Do we have to mention the Nitro?

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            The Cherokee seems to be doing fine, so now it becomes the Cherokee platform after the Dart and 200 go away, so what? At least they’re getting something profitable from the platform.

            The platform underpinning the Renegade and 500x seems to be pretty decent, I’d keep that around a while too. Despite it being distantly related to a GM thing.

            The next gen GJC can go on a BOF platform if it really has to, but Fiat Commercial also has some stuff that could be tapped, and it could also end up distantly related to the Pacifica.

            Not having entries in the compact and midsize sedan markets is NOT the end of the world. Despite what some people seem to think.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            So what exactly will Chrysler and Dodge dealers be selling in 3 years?
            – old 300/Charger/Challenger
            – Pretty but poorly reputed Pacifica
            – AND??????

            Don’t be surprised when FCA becomes Ram/Jeep only in the US and the other 5 brands disintegrate.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            About that time they’ll find a merge or contract builder, so they can relabel someone else’s crap.

            DSM 2.0

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Dodge will sell Challengers and Chargers. Chrysler will sell 300s, Pacificas and rebadged … something … in the 200 class. Watch carefully to see if there are any signs of PSA engineering its new C- and D-segment platforms to be federalized.

            The rebadged “Chryslers” will be something to show people who don’t have the credit to get written on a Cherokee.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Chrysler was always going to be the “Chevy/Toyota” of FCA anyway.

            I could see them doing something with the 500L…that thing is ugly as sin but it’s otherwise a pretty decent 4 door 5-seater and might make a nice Chrysler 100 if they hang a trunk off the back and completely re-style it.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Platforms don’t need sedans as a base to exist. It’s not like they make the sedan and then modify it after the fact to make CUVs. If anything freeing the next Cherokee’s platform from having to be shared with sedans might make it a better (lighter) CUV.

            FCA dealers will be selling a bunch of cars, including whatever CUVs they can spring off the next Cherokee’s platform.

          • 0 avatar
            eamiller

            Settle down, VoGo.

            CUSW is derived from a Fiat platform (Giulietta) and also forms the basis for the Pacifica and the unannounced Journey replacement. There’s plenty of development that is and will continue on CUSW (which is a modular platform in the vein as MQB from VW). It is also likely to underpin the Compass/Patriot replacement.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            I thought they weren’t bothering replacing the Compass and Patriot, and it was being essentially replaced by the Cherokee on the large end and the Renegade at the small end?

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I read that the ComPatriot twins were being replaced with one model sized between the Renegade and Cherokee.

            According to Allpar a Chrysler 100 is still in the works in the C-segment with a 2.0 and 2.4 and the 9 speed from the other models.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Since 2014, MDX is on its own platform.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Do you know what’s funny…..

    I would LOVE to have a 200 instead of my Jeep !

    I had a chance to lease a 200S or a Jeep Patriot 4×4 High Altitude two months ago for the same price. I was talked/pushed/convinced by my wife to get the Jeep. I loved the power and ride of the 200S (even had the same (2.4L) 4 cyl. engine. Big difference in performance.

    But I got the Jeep Patriot….

    W O R S T M I S T A K E E V E R !!!!!!!!

    If Chrysler would take my Jeep and give me one of the those “unloved” 200’s I’d be at the dealer right now. The Jeep SUCKS! Hard to get in and out, TOTAL LACK OF POWER – My lawnmower has more acceleration.. Terrible seats, uncomfortable ride, etc. Car has 3K miles are already creaks when doors open and close. My last car (2007 Dodge Magnum) was rock solid without issues.

    I’ve tried to trade it in and it’s dropped over $10K in 2 months. Unless I want to bring about $6K-9K in cash, I’m stuck with that turkey for 23 more months !

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I was talked/pushed/convinced by my wife to get the Jeep.”

      Don’t let Baruth know! And also don’t tell the people that claimed this situation never happened.

      But at least now you know to always get the car.

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        I know. My wife agreed to drive it and then after a few days stated that it was uncomfortable, hard to get in/out of, etc.

        I’ve learned. Next car is mine, and mine alone to choose. No switching!

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      >My lawnmower has more acceleration.

      I’d like to see a lawn mower that can go 0-60 in 8.7.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Perhaps it’s a Honda:

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        Drzhivago138:

        This one……

        http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/8/prweb9817697.htm

        World’s Fastest Lawn Mower?” Is a Dixie Chopper Jet Mower, with a 150 horsepower Chinook military jet engine World Land Speed Record For A Lawn Mower of 96.529 mph

        Now, do you do realize that I was being sarcastic. But in all reality, if that Jeep can do 0-60 in 8.7 seconds, is it downhill ? According to Motor Trend, that slower then a Ford F-450 Platinum ?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Didn’t Top Gear do that?

        And then there are the folks who put a rotary in a lawn mower, but I only think they used it for burnouts.

    • 0 avatar
      eamiller

      Aside from the deal, not sure why you’d pick the Patriot over the far nicer Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      You leased a bad car. You have to drive it unless you want to pay for something else. You can probably get out 6 m early if really wanted to roll it into the new lease. 24m isn’t that bad in any new vehicle, especially a top trim level High Altitude.

      Patriot was a horrible vehicle 7 years ago… My next door neighbour drove a 2dr wrangler and traded it for a new fully equipped Patriot. 6-8months later she traded it for a 4 door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. That’s all the time she could take as a 26yr old kindergarten teacher.

  • avatar
    threeer

    it doesn’t help sales when your CEO goes public stating how badly the car sucks.

    That said, my FIL owns a 200 and is pretty happy with it. We (nearly) picked up a used one, but came across a loaded 2013 Cruze 2LT that was hard to pass up.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s a better choice there with the Cruze.

      I was considering as well, the Cruze is good enough to have escaped the compact car stigma. Think of how bad the Cavalier was for the last what, 10 years of production. Everybody knew it, and when you saw someone in a Cavalier (or Neon, or Caliber, Accent) the stigma was quick and sudden.

      None of that now for Cruze. It’s just a good car. Underpowered, but pretty good.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Given it primarily goes back and forth to work (15 miles each way), the power is fine. The fact that we found it with leather, sunroof, etc (2LT with RS package)…made for a nice bonus, especially for what we paid. Wife is happy, so there ya go!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Depending on where you are – do you find the AC can keep up? It had a hard time in Ohio in PA in late May last year, when it was about 77 or so and humid with the sun.

          I suspect tints would have fixed the issue.

          • 0 avatar
            Corollaman

            Sister’s Journey also has trouble with the a/c keeping the car cool in the So Fl heat, must be kept on high with recirc on all the time

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “Sister’s Journey” – sounds like the name of an 80’s cover band.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If A/C couldn’t keep up at 77, even in direct sunlight, it was probably low on refrigerant.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I would have hoped it was too new to be leaking refrigerant already! It was cold air, there just wasn’t enough of it.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      It doesn’t help, but I doubt it hurts that much. The majority of potential buyers have probably never heard of Marchionne, let alone heard his quote.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    When was the last time anyone saw an advertisement, either regional or national, for the 200? I can’t recall seeing any in the past 6 or 7 months. Then again, I tend to fast forward through commercials, but still.

    If you want to sell cars, you have to advertise the thing. Sad really, it’s a good looking car with a great V6.

  • avatar

    Sales Bank 3.0, baby!

    Here’s two reasons no one wants it – Chrysler. 200.

    Should’ve called it the Saratoga because people DO still know the 200 as a junk DSM-based Sebring.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    At a time when new car sales are at a 10 yr high, this thing just doesn’t sell. No one wants to buy a soon to die car, I guess. Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, open up your wallets.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Less junky than the previous 200, but still junky. Middling build quality and bad suspension. Why buy junky when Toyota is selling well-built, and just as satisfying to drive, Camrys for the price of a few bottles of water, and Honda keeps blowing out Accord Sports and EXes?

    Increased discounts on better midsize sedans took away the market for these things.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Accord gets my vote in that comparison. It has a distinctly less cost cut feeling than the Camry. And the Sonata is a no-go.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The new Civic might just be as functional if you don’t need 3 across the back seat.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Accord is also a bit more expensive in real-world transaction prices. Want a Camry SE with no options (MSRP ~$24k after destination)? I bet you can convince someone to sell it to you for $20k. An Accord Sport won’t be that cheap.

        The 2016 Camry SE I drove was a bit jarring because, on the one hand, it looked SO cheap inside, and on the other hand, it drove great and was exceptionally well put together. It was the nicest-driving midsize sedan I’ve driven recently by a considerable margin. Accord Sport wins out on engine, but Camry SE wins on handling/ride balance.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        +1, Corey.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Accord gets my vote in that comparison. It has a distinctly less cost cut feeling than the Camry.”

        Having test driven the current Camry and Accord back to back, I’m not seeing where this argument is coming from. It’s not that the Camry isn’t cost cut (it is), but the Accord is just as bad. Cheap feeling hard plastics, faux silver trim, flimsy door cards, and unimpressive details. The Honda and Toyota use the same quality of stuff but just arrange it in different forms and shapes. Likewise the driving experience, the Accord didn’t feel any more expensive or engaging. Why am I not understanding the Accord Luv everywhere on the internet?

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      I don’t have any problems with build quality and mine is a 2013, so it’s squarely a first-generation 200. No squeaks, no rattles, and the suspension is nice and soft. The current 200 is even better; I just prefer the first generation.

      Most of the 200’s detractors have only rented them and haven’t driven a fresh, new one. Rental cars tend to be subjected to a whole lot of abuse by those with a “it’s not mine, so who cares” mentality, so any car will squeak, rattle or exhibit minor glitches after so long.

      • 0 avatar
        thejohnnycanuck

        Late last year we picked up a ’13 200 Limited for the missus. She couldn’t be happier and on the odd occasion when it’s my turn I always make a point of burying the throttle at least once to blow the carbon out of the wonderful Pentastar V6.

        I won’t lie, a big part of the reason we ended up with a 2 year old Chrysler was because of the depreciation factor. I still shake my head at what we paid for that much car. By the way we started out looking for a SE V6 Camry and perhaps that’s exactly what’s killing sales of the current 200. Too many people know that if you’re not in it for the long term most FCA products will cost you big time.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Shame about this model, and it really makes me wonder about the Fiat end of FCA.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Buddy had one as a rental when he was out here last year. It didn’t seem bad – certainly a huge step up from the previous 200/Avenger.

    I’ve seen a couple in the top trim and they are handsome on the outside.

    I’ve heard the 9-speed leaves a lot to be desired, but have personally never driven one.

    I don’t think this is a bad car, as I’ve written previously, I just think it is at the bottom of a very tough class – class competitive, but barely. The 200/Avenger before it was not in the same league as the other players.

    FCA is going to be in HUGE trouble if there is a spike in gasoline prices with really no viable car products across the line. They are as badly positioned today as they were in 2003. It is in very sharp contrast to where GM is today.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I’m not sure why this car is doing so badly, either. When I see them on the road, I find them eye-catching. The interiors look really nice. I haven’t heard anything good about the Chrysler 9-speed autos, but as it’s often stated, most buyers don’t even know what a transmission is.

    I had a new Altima as a rental this week and I know that car sells like crazy. The car was rental-spec “S” trim, white with black cloth. It was bland but competent. While the CVT was worlds better than a few years ago I still found it hesitant and annoying to drive. The interior was a lot more “meh” than even the most base Chrysler 200. The Nissan’s steering was also horrible, numb and it never felt to respond intuitively and I felt like I was always having to correct what I thought it would do. The Chrysler felt quieter and more upscale to me in almost every way when I had one.

    But “good” and “sales” don’t necessarily correlate. Mazda6 comes to mind.

    Mix in a tainted brand reputation in the case of Chrysler, dealers who probably push customers to SUVs and may act less than excited about the 200, transmission issues, and online bashing. Perhaps it’s just hard to claw back up that hill?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I’m going to have to rent a car soon… thinking about trying a 200. I don’t get the hate or lack of interest either- they are easily the best looking midsizers by a wide margin; they are competitively priced; get decent gas mileage; available AWD… what is the problem?

      Shame this thing is going to get the axe… I feel like it’s failure is more a reflection of the market and its biases than anything to do with the car itself.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “I’m going to have to rent a car soon… thinking about trying a 200. ”

        I thought the 200C V6 AWD was hard to get into and out of. But the best seat in the car was the driver’s seat, an infinitely-adjustable electric seat that fit “me”.

  • avatar
    e30driver

    I’ll add to the voices in support of the otherwise un-loved 200. I picked up a ’15 200C about a year ago. Loaded with upgraded leather, heated wheel, uConnect, self-parking, double-pane glass, etc. etc. The value is untouchable considering I was out the door for just under $23k. It’s a soft, quiet, comfortable isolation chamber perfect for my urban commute. The 9-speed is meh but not a deal-breaker. Certainly not a car for canyon carving, but that is not what I do on a daily basis.

    Cross-shopped with Fusion, Camry, Passat, and Accord. The interior quality and NVH of the 200 put it in a different league than Camry and Accord in particular. I don’t understand why the Accord especially gets such love with its cheap and nasty interior and flinty ride.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “I don’t understand why the Accord especially gets such love with its cheap and nasty interior and flinty ride.”

      I’m truly glad I am not the only one who feels this way.

  • avatar
    Chan

    It looks and feels great, but upon driving you can find a few dealbreakers. Dealbreakers are the sort of thing you’d expect in a sports car, not a family sedan:

    1. That it has taken FCA this long to troubleshoot the 9AT is really bad news. You do NOT want powertrain issues in a segment that sells on reliability, perceived or otherwise. The violent gear hunting, especially at low speeds, will turn off almost any buyer who is doing any form of cross-shopping.

    2. The visibility is viciously compromised by the low roofline and thick pillars.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s something no one is citing as a reason for horrid 200 sales – FCA made the horrid blunder of apparently selling a crapload of these to rental fleets last year, all of which are now flooding used car lots now at crazy bargain prices.

    How bad is the flood? I just found 154 – that’s right, 154 – used 2015s for sale in the general Denver area alone.

    Think about that for a second. I did a search on Camrys – which are also heavily sold to fleets – and found only 62 for sale in this area. I only found 20 used 2015 Accords. And both the Camry and Accord outsold the 200 by well over two to one. That’s astounding.

    And these used 200s are at EPIC bargain prices – I found one for $14,000 (asking) with only 11,000 miles. Above, 28 listed 200s with the Pentastar and AWDs in the mid-20s with low miles. That’s just astounding.

    So, no wonder Chrysler can’t sell new ones – the market’s absolutely glutted with lightly used ones that are $10,000 cheaper than new.

    Therefore, I declare the 200’s problem isn’t that it isn’t competitive – it could be better but having driven a S model with the Pentastar, it’s actually quite appealing – it’s comfortable, quick, looks good, is decently screwed together (if not Accord-quality), and modestly priced.

    The problem is that FCA made a massive mistake selling such a huge number of them to rental agencies. It was a short term win and a massive long term blunder – now this brand new model has the reputation in the market of being an EPIC fleet queen that you buy a year old for almost half off. And it’s not like the 200 had an Accord-like rep before 2015 to coast on – this is known as the junky cousin in this segment, and selling a huge percentage of them to fleets just reinforces that impression. FCA should have swallowed hard, not sold so many of these to fleets, and let the model re-establish itself in the marketplace – the basic product was good enough to do that, but instead they went for the short term victory. And now they have absolutely nothing in the midsize or compact segment that sells. They better pray that gas prices stay low so that Jeeps and Ram pickups still sell, or they’re going to be deader than Francisco Franco.

    Between this, and the epic-fail Dart launch, I just shake my head at FCA. Do they WANT their mainstream sedan models to all fail?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      FreedMike, CNBC did an interview with Sergio many years ago, but after the bailout and $1.3B bribe, and Sergio said at that time that whatever was coming down the pike was a direct result of the conditions set forth by the US gov’t to make the sale and bribe happen.

      My understanding was that meant that all the new stuff henceforth had to be small, fuel efficient, and primarily built in the US of A with UAW labor.

      That was an interesting interview, I can still visualize it in my mind, but I cannot find it archived anywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I didn’t see this interview, but I remember reading things to this effect at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        You’re trying to blame this fail on the bailout, which is nonsense. Every car manufacturer builds small and midsize cars that are fuel efficient, and almost all of the best sellers are American-made.

        Sales for the Camry and Corolla ALONE probably account for somewhere near a million units a year.

        People aren’t buying them because of “big bad gummint sez” – millions of buyers obviously want compact and midsize cars that get good fuel economy. That’s why automakers build them. There are obvious nods to CAFE, but the truth is that this segment, along with domestically made pickups, is the meat of the whole market.

        The Dart and 200 fall right into this category. FCA had every reason to make both cars. In fact, given that the market fluctuates toward and away from trucks and SUVs based on economic conditions and gas prices, having a viable fuel efficient family car that sells for a lot less than a pickup or SUV is an absolute no brainer. FCA’s first mistake was not making their compacts or midsizes great cars, and the second mistake was mis-marketing them.

        If you or Marchionne want to blame this on the bailout, go right ahead. In Marchionne’s case, he’s just deflecting blame from where it should lie, which, of course, is with the guy staring at himself in the mirror. Your argument, of course, comes from your political perspective, but it’s no less false.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Your argument, of course, comes from your political perspective, but it’s no less false.”

          What fvcking argument? I merely commented that I saw an interview on CNBC and heard what Sergio had said. 28 stated, “I didn’t see this interview, but I remember reading things to this effect at the time.”

          FreedMike, it’s @ssholes like you that are driving away readers of ttac.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Seemed like you were making a political argument to me and blaming the failure of this car on having to build it due to the bailout, HDC. Honestly, it’s not out of line with what I’ve read from you in the past. Now, if I misread what you were saying, then I honestly and sincerely apologize and appreciate you setting me straight. My bad, for sure.

            But on a site called “The Truth About Cars” we all get to call ’em like we see ’em. Sometimes we don’t see ’em correctly. If that was the case here then that was my fault.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, forget it. After the ttac hammer&sickle article I have become more sensitive to how I offer my comments for fear of being banned…..

            The words I used in my comments were actually salvaged/borrowed from other articles I read on different automotive sites over the years since the death of GM and Chrysler. Nothing original on my part.

            And while I was against the selective bailouts, handouts and nationalization of the failed American automakers, I have long since reconciled myself with the fact that this is a done deal and that those working stiffs paying taxes are more than welcome to pay for anything they vote for, as long as I don’t have to contribute.

            Try to find that Sergio interview on CNBC archives. It was worth my time and I think you would find it interesting as well.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          …Sales for the Camry and Corolla ALONE probably account for somewhere near a million units a year…

          Closer to 725K, and closer to 650K retail…but I get your point.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Wow, I knew both 200 and Dart are huge fleet queens because I’ve never seen a non-rental 200 or Dart around here, but I didn’t know they were already starting to flood the used car market. I thought the rental car companies were keeping their cars longer these days. Are Chrysler 200 reliability that bad that the companies need to get rid of them so quick?

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      Fleet sales are the only way they could move the cars. It was either fleet sales or close the factory until Ram production moves there in a few years. Since FCA spent a lot of money revamping the Sterling Heights factory, closing it for years wasn’t an option. So they dumped the cars anyway they could.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Can someone explain to me why FCA doesn’t offer a Chrysler branded crossover based on the 200? If CUV’s are the new family car this should be a no brainer.

  • avatar
    cls12vg30

    Add me to the list of people saddened that the 200 doesn’t get more love. I spent a week with a ’15 200S last fall, and came away impressed. Of course the Pentastar was excellent power-wise, and I was surprised to observe 28 mpg in mixed driving, considering this is a car pushing 300hp. There were a few instances of rough shifting at low speeds, but not really any more than I would expect from a computer-controlled “learning” transmission with less than 100 miles on it. The ride, noise and overall interior were, to my eyes, top-notch.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I SOOOOOOO glad I unloaded my 2015 200S AWD V6!!! I have to say it was a good car for the 30K miles I put in it. It got looks every now and then. The 9spd was ok for me after it was reflashed.

    I bought a Cherokee Trailhawk to replace the 200S. Most dealers were offering $16-18K. I thought I was screwed and would have to drive it for a while. But my home town FCA dealer popped me at $21,300. I jumped in that like a possum eating sh-t!!!!

    I unloaded the 200 after FCA said they were going to phase it out. Glad I did. I can only wonder how low trade values will go.

    I got $6K off the $35K trailhawk.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    True Car is showing a little over $900 off list is a good price with no large incentives. If this is true, if they really, really want to unload thse cars, they aren’t trying very hard.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    My wife and I rented one of these in Vegas last year and it was not a horrible car. Looked pretty good, drove OK and had some pep. Fantastic gas mileage. My biggest gripe were the transmission knob and radio knob being the same shape, nearly the same size, and on the same plane of existence. Horrible design there.

    My home town is home to a large corporation and has a lot of business visitors. Just this week my wife and I got takeout from a sweet Taco joint that’s attached to a long-term-stay hotel near downtown and the parking lot was literally half full of 200’s. Given their current poor sales and likely terrible resale, I think buying one of these off a rental agency might just be a screaming deal if you wanted a late-model transportation appliance.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Sad. I like the current 200. If I were in a position to take advantage, Id probably cross shop 200 with a base three door Golf manual trans, gas of course. Just to see how low they will go, because I like both cars well enough that Id consider them.

    The 200’s styling is, to me, greater than or on par with the better end of the current midsize crop. Its somewhat elegant, and very clean. It was really well done IMO. Its classy, certainly not trying too hard thereby failing like Camry and the outgoing Malibu. Honda Accord pulls this off as well, so does Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Impala (yes I know its not midsize but I’m using it as an example of styling alone).

    I was very hopeful when it debuted that it could take a decent chunk of the midsize pie. Its easily the best looking FWD Chrysler ever, and a genuinely good car to boot (from what I gather, havnt driven one yet)!

    It was a very good and strong effort, it deserves more than to just rot on the vine and die. The Compass/Patriot is awful, yet they sell enough to justify keeping them in production. They deserve the fate of the 200, not the other way around.

  • avatar
    redapple

    REally, you d want to look at a 2016 Camry for the next 3-6 years?
    Butt a$$ ugly.
    2015 Accord – Very pretty. 2016. Fugly. Simply Fugly.

    I rented a 200 2 weeks ago. Excellent car. Quiet. Pretty. Smooth and powerful. I even liked the funky center controls. Good Stereo.

    Only issue is resale value.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    The name 200 is dumb. They should have given it a proper name. Same with the Dart. The Dart name conjures up visions of the rolling turds of the 70s.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    The thing is…even here 5 miles from the factory where the thing is built, I don’t see very many. I see far more of the Fusion, Malibu, Sonata,Accord,Optima, and WAY MORE Altima’s. If FCA can’t win in it’s class in their own backyard(I was just at the movie theater less than 2 miles from the factory. Not one 200 in the lot), then FCA can’t win period.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I can’t for the life of me figure out whether this is compact, midsized or in between. To my eye it looks too small to be a proper midsize. Having ridden in a Dart (platform mates? I honestly don’t know) it feels closer to my Focus, and looks very similar.

    Do Dodge or Chrysler even sell a car that would compete in the compact market or is this thing competing there too?

    As for how it drives, I’ve only ever driven 3 Chrysler products: a very tired 1991 Dynasty V6 which had been beaten to snot by my brothers; a 1996 Ram 1500; and a 1998 Neon, weighed down with 1000 pounds of passenger, that was utterly terrifying, so I can’t comment.

    This car seems confused.

  • avatar

    Well, I loved her butt, but could never get over the fact that she had no chin.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    The problem with Chrysler is that it doesn’t stand for anything anymore. Chrysler was the upscale answer for MOPAR to compete with lincoln and cadillac (now cadihack after its road rabies styling). Now Chrysler is at a level (or lower) than Honduh or Toyoduh. There is nothing special here. The 200 should have been a Dodge and Chrysler should be working on premium products that are more exclusive (lower volume that can command a higher price tag).

    Now if Chrysler wants to continue what it is, it needs to get rid of Dodge and consolidate its models into Chrysler and then just be a step up from Dodge’s former rancid level). I don’t know if Chrysler is premium enough to compete against Kia.

  • avatar
    1st_one

    I rented a 200 last summer and it actually wasn’t a bad car, I’ve been in far worse. IMO, the 200 is one of the best looking cars in the midsize segment but Marchionne’s comments to kill the car that was plastered across the internet sealed this cars fate. If I was into midsize vehicle’s, the fully loaded 200c would certainly be near the top of my list.


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