By on March 7, 2016

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

The midsize sedan that can’t catch a break is continuing to darken a plant where workers can’t catch a shift.

The Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant that produces the Chrysler 200 will remain closed for another three weeks, Automotive News reports, extending the temporary closure to a total of nine weeks.

Slow sales and a steep inventory glut are to blame for the shutdown, which was needed for supply and demand to regain equilibrium.

The Chrysler 200 has lately been a sales disaster for Fiat Chrysler Corporation. While its Jeep and Ram brands are selling as fast as they can be cranked out, FCA reported a 59 percent year-over-year sales decrease in February, following a 63 percent plunge in January.

With public interest like this, it’s no wonder FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to farm out the production of its small cars to another automaker, assuming one can be found. In the meantime, the 200 and Dodge Dart compact will be left to wither on the vine — a process, it seems, that buyers are already helping expedite.

The past two years have been great for automakers who pitch a popular product, but the 200 and Dart failed to ignite a flame in the buying public, trailing their domestic and foreign counterparts by a mile. Although buyers are increasingly turning to crossovers and away from traditional sedans, other automakers haven’t abandoned the category for a reason: they’re still selling enough of them.

Currently, the 200 lingers at the 24th spot on the U.S. best-selling car list, and is the 68th most popular model overall. To put that in perspective, the Ford Fusion is in sixth place on the car sales list and Chevrolet Malibu is in eighth.

The Dart, it should be noted, comes in at 26th on the car sales list.

The Sterling Heights plant employs 2,100 United Auto Workers members, all of whom will be receiving reduced pay until production restarts.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

112 Comments on “Plant Shutdown Extended as Chrysler 200 Continues to be Unpopular...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    FCA and Sergio and possibly a large number of other automakers and most ‘automotive journalists’ still don’t get it.

    They will probably offer big discounts and other incentives to move 200’s.

    It is a decent looking car. Has a nice interior. From what I understand the 6cyl powerplant is a decent one. Yet the 200, Journey, Caravan, etc consistently rank low in reliability and earn scathing remarks in Consumer Reports, etc.

    So rather than discounting them and offering incentives, why didn’t FCA invest perhaps another $1,000 in better parts and quality control?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t get this one either. We often hear of a car with “cash on the hood”, yet at production, the costs of a better interior, or better ICE, would be way less than the cash on the hood, and obviate the need to pimp the car…..

      I had one for a week rental, and it wasn’t a BMW (but now even a BMW often isn’t), but other than the accursed Chrysler short seat, it was far from “bad”…..

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        That usually happens when the automaker miscalculates the direction of the market. VW famously did this when it released the down-graded MK.6 Jetta, at about the same time that competent, world-class cars like the Focus and Cruze were being redesigned / released. Honda did the same with the 2012 Civic. Both companies ended up spending more money to re-tool and add those features back in, too…

        In FCA’s case, the Dart and 200 seem pretty competent. The 2.4 is no more thrashy than offerings from other automakers. I do feel like the 200 could be a tad longer. But other than that, I can’t think of any major shortcomings that those cars have (yet I still wouldn’t buy one). Their sales woes seem to be due to FCA’s tarnished reputation. FCA may just not be able to cater to the mainstream markets of the sedan body style. Which means it’s a wise idea to focus on making its profitable crossovers and SUVs more fuel-efficient and sell more of those instead.

        • 0 avatar
          Whatnext

          How could you say VW miscalculated when they released the Mark 6 Jetta and watched it shoot up the sales charts? Every automaker should have such a failure!

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          There are two reasons to not buy a 200, not counting the short seats. Try getting into the back seat without kranging your head and I’m only 5 9. The second is that life is to short to waste any time having a car with that 9 speed Clunkodithermatic transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      If you look at the more specific reliability ratings, they are mostly related either to UConnect or the 9 speed.

      The 9 speed isn’t broken per se, but it hunts and doesn’t feel right.

      The UConnect just has bugginess.

      If you look at the long term reviews, like Motorweek’s, they have actually been pretty positive.

      In my opinion, 3 things have happened: the 1st is they already have a bad rep and so people are looking for it. Anything that happens, then people go “yep, its a Chrysler” and put a black mark on it and go straight to the lowest marks. If it’s a Toyota they go- hmmm, that’s wierd and give it a second chance. 2nd is, they actually did spend the money to try to be future prepared thinking the 9speed will help with mileage, nvh, smoothness, etc. But that isn’t working out. Even the v6 doesn’t have enough torque to settle the tranny down. And UConnect is one of the best-when it works right. They clearly spent a huge budget on UConnect, but it’s often the weakest link. Finally, for a lot of their cars, they are selling to people seeking the biggest deal (not best, BIGGEST) and those aren’t always the people who RTFM, get oil changes, etc.

      I think the 1st one happens a lot. For a completely anecdotal example, I know people (yes more than 1) who have late model Audi diesels that have been in and out of the shop quite a bit. Ask them how they like the car and they say they love it. A Chrysler goes in the shop and people are wanting to invoke the lemon laws. You can see it with Ram too, the Ram is top 10 for JD Powers reliability but they are using the same UConnect that is driving other Chrysler products down to the bottom.

      I’m personally kind of a Chrysler apologist because I’ve had great luck with their trucks and now with a Challenger for 2 years. So take everything I say with a grain of salt. But my anecdotes are as meaningful as anyone else’s I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Mr.Icky, I agree with much of what you wrote. Item #1 is most certainly true. On Bimmerfest, the BMW boys will overlook glaring defects in manufacturing or materials. Had those failures happened on a domestic the hate would be flowing. Yet for the 3 series, hey, cooling system components that should be considered lifetime parts become service items. No biggie, gotta love the Roundel.

        I received a 200 as a rental recently and was expecting to hate it. I didn’t. But it was nothing special. There was nothing that would compel me to buy it over a Fusion, Accord, or Camry. I’d rather pay a bit more for a car that I really like – I keep cars too long to be in something that I will tire of in 6 years…

      • 0 avatar

        In August 2015, I sat in the front and back seats of a 2015 200 while buying a Grand Caravan. If I were in the market for that size car I would mos def test drive a 200.

      • 0 avatar
        blockmachining

        I have a 2014 Ram 3500. It’s a beast when it comes to hauling and towing. But, but, but…..I’ve had it for 18 months and it has already been recalled 4 different times. I owned 13 Nissan vehicles over 27 years and had one recall to check for a potentially under-torqued bolt for a seat belt. As much as I want to recommend a Ram or other FCA vehicle….I just can’t. I’m so disappointed.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      People will overlook flaws in a car they love. That’s why Jeeps still sell, as do Fiats and Alfas, and your more muscular Dodges. The 200 was too generic to inspire love though, and the Dart hit the wrong notes.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Pretty car…wouldn’t even entertain buying one. Between FCA’s iffy reputation and dim future prospects, and the horrible ZF transmission, you’d have to be stupid to buy one.

    The only thing that MIGHT entice me would be a super-cheap lease, along the lines of $99/mo Cruze deal.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      FCA put their money on NO#9 and it doesn’t work. A good #6 would be good enough

    • 0 avatar
      mattwc1

      I feel the same way. The 200 is actually quite handsome (especially in the upscale trims) but the big question is how reliable will these be. I tend to drive the wheels off of my cars and the idea of buying a newer car with a known problematic transmission does not do wonders for FCA’s long term resale. While the 200 and to a lesser extent the Dart may be new car “bargains”, the real issue is what lurks several years down the road. (For the record, I was on the the first people in my area to buy a new Neon when it debuted. I always thought that Chrysler had great design elements hampered by middling build quality. It was a shame in the mid 1990’s when I bought the Neon (fun initially but reliability demons crept up quickly) and I had hoped the FCA would have excised these lingering doubts.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The ZF-9 speed transmission, whether in a Chrysler, Acura, Jeep or whatever, is a terrible transmission.

      Chrysler’s ZF-clone 8 speed is so far superior that it’s night and day.

      This obsession automakers and transmission suppliers have (fuel mileage & CAFE driven) with more gears is reaching the point of negative returns.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The 200 should check all of my boxes. It’s handsome, it’s ceremonial, it has a great infotainment suite, and it drives reasonably well. And yet…something about it just turns me away completely. I think it’s that it tries too hard, in my mind. Certain brands make you look like you’re flossing without substance, and I think Chrysler in general is just one of those brands. Plus, there’s the 9-speed, which I have personally had bad experience with in a rental (it overheated in a 2015 Cherokee and we had to limp it back to the airport).

    For what it’s worth, I feel that way about Lincoln, too…to the point that I’d rather have a pre-owned Fusion Titanium than a pre-owned MKZ, even if both are the same price. I know that a $22K CPO MKZ Hybrid is just plain good value for the money…but I still feel like it promises more luxury than it can deliver, and that has the effect of making it look like a poseur-mobile.

    That’s just a complex of mine though.

  • avatar

    The mere fact that even I would choose the Sonata 2.0t over a 200cAWD means there is something seriously wrong here.

    Bottom line:

    IT’S NOT BIG ENOUGH and the CHEROKEE is.

    It’s easy to see why crossovers are dominating sedans – especially when AWD is a factor. Crossovers aren’t expected to handle, accelerate or stop in the same manner sedans are. Therefore a a below-average crossover, can easily outshine an above-average sedan – especially when interior space is a deciding factor.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    It’s all about the interior space folks, the previous gen had the same issue, smaller than all its competitors, suffered the same problem as the Kizachi. Nice car, too small for the class

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Regal and preivous-gen Malibu also suffered from this issue.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “The Regal and preivous-gen Malibu also suffered from this issue.”

        I owned a 2013 Malibu, and yes, the rear legroom was bad, but there was a lot of elbow-room and spaciousness in the front seat for the driver and passenger – I don’t think the 200 has this feeling.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Agreed. I have rented several 2013-2016 Malibu/Limited LT and 2LT models and they were better cars overall than the 200 in several areas especially power train refinement, performance and front seat space room and comfort. Neither were great at back seat space but the 2014-2016 Malibu sculpted the rear seat out for a bit more knee space making it livable.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I said this just a day or so ago!

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Besides the base engine is the least refined in the segment

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    No surprise here, when it was announced that they were shutting down for 6 weeks I predicted it wouldn’t be long enough to return their inventories to a somewhat normal level.

    At this point they really need to fire the plant back up right now and burn off any body shells and then call it good for the 2016 model. They have enough inventory to last them until the time that should be making the change over to the 2017. In the meantime they seriously need to consider if they want to produce a 2017 or wait for a badge engineered 2018 that maybe has an early release, and hopefully a new name.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Sergio should follow Toyota’s lead in moving unpopular vehicles via ‘assured financing’ for verified Uber/Lyft drivers as Toyota is doing to move Prius vehicles. I think the 4-cyl 200 could very well find a second life as the official vehicle for ride-sharing. Gas is cheap now, although driving 8 hrs with the bad tranny might be a pain-in-the-ass

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The plant where this is assembled is about 18 miles from my house.

    I remember when Daimler owned Chrysler and they were shipping the largest stamping presses I’ve ever seen in my life to this plant using 4 and 6 ginormous tractor trailers at a time (each press – if that’s what they were – were the size of a small commercial building) to slowly bring in each one.

    I’ve never seen presses or machines that large in my life.

    Dodge (or RAM) makes the RAM Trucks at the Mound facility, which is about 8 miles away from the 200 SHAP, so I’m curious what other vehicles this plant can be used to make given a reasonable cost of retooling?

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Cherokees built on the same platform.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      DW….That would probably be an IHI transfer press, with a double action draw press,and a set of progressive dies.

      Standing within 20 ft, while she is pumping body sides at 10 strokes a minute,even with full hearing protection on, is quite an experience.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Could be, mikey.

        They looked a massive pianos in terms of their approximate shape (it’s hard to describe them).

        I also know that this plant (SHAP) has had at least 3 (and maybe as many as 5) autoworkers crushed to death in presses in about 15 years, tragically.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Sergio killed sales by announcing that it sucked and it would be discontinued. Great marketing genius.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yeah, right after he decided to apparently pump the entire run of 2015s into fleets, ensuring that when 2016 rolled around, all those ’15s would be clogging up FCA dealer lots, making it impossible to sell a new one.

      Brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Exactly. Sales 101: don’t tell the customer that you think your product sucks.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Anybody sees something here? – Remember when Honda and Toyota started to look cheap vs Hyundai (and others), or at least, not better than. They beefed up quality of materials and selection/options. For example, in 2010 Highlander couldn’t have dark interior. Now it has. So, with typical sale leaders bringing back some more textural quality, we see fall of those that for the moment grabbed some sales. sonata was selling like pancakes during one stretch.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “The midsize sedan that can’t catch a break…”

    Is it really that, or did Chrysler epically screw up the marketing? I’m going with the latter.

    The other day I did a little digging on this and found something like 150 2015 model year 200s available here in Denver alone, compared to about 50 Camrys or Accords – both of which outsell the 200 by a minimum 2 to 1 ratio. That’s just astounding. This doesn’t just make the 200 a fleet queen – it makes it the all time b*tch queen of fleet queens.

    As a result of all that ex-rental iron on the market, you can pick up a used example around here for $14,000 with 15,000 miles. To make matters worse, these are glutting the lots of Chrysler and Dodge dealers – who in his right mind would buy a new one when there’s nice used one 200 feet away for ten grand off?

    Clearly the 200 was never the best car in the segment, but should it be epic-failing the way it is? I don’t think so. FCA’s harebrained “pump ’em all onto Hertz lots and worry about it later” sales strategy clearly went a long way to destroying this model’s marketability.

    Am I the only one who is wondering what Chrysler was thinking? Maybe Marchionne’s plan was to just pump a zillion of these into rental lots to make the sales figures look good to GM in a possible merger. I can’t think of any other reason.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      For 80204 within 50 miles Autotrader shows:

      53 listings for a 2015 Chrysler 200

      22 listings for a Honda Accord

      50 listings for a Toyota Camry

      64 Nissan Altimas

      15 Mazda 6’s

      31 Ford Fusions

      22 VW Passat

      So not sure where you’re getting your data from showing that many 200’s as the ratio isn’t 2:1.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        You’re right, SC5, I might have messed that up so I just redid it for 75 miles of 80134 (the part of Denver I live in, so it encompasses the entire Denver trading area – probably the fairest comparison).

        I just returned:
        89 2015 200s
        45 Honda Accords
        59 Camrys

        By comparison, I also found 42 Malibus and 26 Fusions using the same model year and search area criteria.

        But here’s where the comparison gets really astounding –

        2015 model sales (from Good Car Bad Car)
        200 – 177889
        Accord – 355557
        Camry – 429355

        I think my point stands – that is still a RIDICULOUS number of used 2015 200s compared to two models that outsell it by a 2:1 and 3:1 margin, respectively.

        Put differently: if the 200 had sold in Camry-like numbers, with an equal percentage being sold to fleets, there would be 267 (TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN!!!) 2015 models using the same search criteria. That’s astounding. And this is for a car that was in its first model year – I can see pumping more of a model into fleets when it’s in its fourth or fifth year, but the 2015 200 was a brand new, clean-sheet car, and right from the word go, it was not just a fleet queen, but the queen of all fleet queens from the look of it.

        The 200 may have some basic product issues (small-ish back seat, fussy transmission, etc), but I think they pale in comparison with FCA’s harebrained decision to pump such a massive percentage of this product right onto Hertz lots…in its’ FIRST MODEL YEAR. If you’re a Chrysler dealer, how the heck do you sell a new 200 for even a discounted price when there’s a $15,000 one with 15,000 miles 200 feet away in the used car department’s lot? Not a chance.

        Clearly all the used ones flooding the market right now have killed the market for new ones. I think that’s the main problem. FCA dropped the ball on this badly.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      2015 used rental buyback 200’s with under 20K miles are selling for $14995 at two local dealers. Ditto LE/SE 2015 Camry’s, Altima’s, Malibu LT and Fusion SE. If they have under 15K miles or moonroof they are typically 15995.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Might be a good opportunity. I’m seeing new base models as low as the 15s in my area.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Given them a 1-1/2″ lift, put some plastic cladding over the fender archers, some knobby tires, change out the grille so that it is chrome with 7 slits, slap Jeep logos on them.

    Profit.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    The thing is, even with its slightly cramped back seat the Chrysler 200 should be an excellent commuting vehicle when optioned correctly. I’ve never driven one. Is the 200 even a bit more interesting than the Camry or Sonata?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      With the Pentastar it’s interesting indeed.

      I still wouldn’t buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      My parents were very recently shopping for a new car in the midsize to large sedan range. So I took them to see a whole slew of cars and they went to see a bunch themselves as well, these included the Impala, the Avalon, Camry, Chrysler 200, Sonata, and the Accord. They ended up with an Accord V6 EX-L which was a choice I was pretty happy with as a car guy since it’s a legitimately good car.

      Of all these cars, the one car that my mother immediately dismissed was the Chrysler 200. Mind you, she didn’t even know of it’s dubious 9-speed transmission, she sat in it immediately felt that it was WAY too cramped compared to any of it’s competitors and frankly it is.

      The Chrysler 200 doesn’t sell for a very simple reason: the interior space is poor considering the size of the car. It’s to the extent where the new Civic has almost the same amount of interior space while being 10 inches shorter. Even worse, the front seats don’t do well with what space they have and the whole cockpit just makes things feel more cramped than they need to be.

      The Chrysler 200 has 115 cubic feet of interior space. The Civic has 112 cubic feet with a much more open feeling cockpit. Meanwhile competitors like the Accord have 119 cubic feet (so the 200 is technically closer in interior volume to a Civic than an Accord) and much more open feeling layouts.

      Having available AWD is good, having the Pentastar is good, having lots of neat options like ventilated seats, automatic cruise, parking assistance, etc. is all great but the claustrophobic interior layout and interior volume that’s actually closer to a Civic than an Accord means that the car seems really cramped compared to other cars it’s supposedly competing with, and also means that a lot of people who would be happy with that amount of interior room will just go buy a Civic instead and have an easier to park car.

      Add in that question mark of a transmission from ZF and you have a formula for pure failure.

      One other car that suffers poor sales that I’m pretty convinced is due to packaging issues is probably that Buick Lacrosse-you see the Impala flying off the lots while the Lacrosse just sits there-it’s to the extent where a used Impala is way more money than a used Lacrosse with similar equipment. And then you sit in both and you realize that the layout of the Lacrosse makes the driver seat rather terrible-your knee is hitting the super wide center console on the right while there’s no room for a real dead pedal for your left foot. The lousy packaging also means a tiny trunk compared to the Impala’s huge trunk. Same platform, same manufacturer, but the Impala sells like crazy while the Lacrosse doesn’t.

      The formula really isn’t hard-make a car that is roomy and usable on the inside, keep the exterior proportions reasonable enough that people can parallel park it on occasion without needing a pickup sized spot, make the car reasonably reliable, give it a usable trunk and price it competitively. Do that and you get a hit like the Impala or Civic.

      On a side note, has anybody else noticed just how lousy the stock headlights are on a bunch of FCA products? I drove a rental Dodge Charger once and the lowbeams were ridiculously dim, I honestly thought they were broken until I realized that they really were that horrible. It felt like the throw distance was half that of any other car. I’ve seen people complain about Ram pickups and other FCA vehicles having the same problem unless you equip them with HIDs but I’m kind of shocked that the low end lights can be that bad-I was surprised it was legal. This also seems to apply to the base headlights on the 200: http://www.carcomplaints.com/Chrysler/200/2011/lights/headlights_are_ineffective.shtml

      Seriously, how is it legal for FCA to equip their cars with such horrifyingly lousy headlights? Is it just that nobody has bothered to update headlight regulations since like 1960?

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        This is going to change soon now that safety ratings are going to have a headlight rating. I think we’ll finally see HIDs on more cars instead of being reserved for top trims even on luxury vehicles, which is a freaking joke in 2016.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          “I think we’ll finally see HIDs on more cars instead of being reserved for top trims even on luxury vehicles…”

          I hope not, as the pinpoint size, bluish color and extreme brightness of many HID’s are annoying at best, and distracting at worst.

          As I get older, the effect gets worse. (/grump)

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        You touched on several things that I have observed renting various cars.
        The Impala does indeed feel roomier than the cramped LaCrosse up front. Ditto the current Taurus. Ditto the trunk. The 200 feels tight inside and it’s front seats grow tiresome over long trips and are a bit short.
        I agree on the headlight issues on several Chrysler products I have rented including a 2004 Intrepid, several Caravans, the Charger and of course the current 200. The current Accord is a fine choice in a mid/full size sedan but I would avoid the Sport model due to it’s larger harder riding and noisier tires.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Roberto will be around shortly to call you a jerk for dissing Chrysler. Just wait.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Two things sunk this cat. The coupe roof line and the 9 speed. If they had gone with an audi a4 roof line and a 6 speed, the car would be selling so much better…also consumers hate the knob shifter, even if it makes a lot of sense.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      You should experience that trans at high altitude…wonder how long it will last shifting like the way it did…I get the thin air and steep grades conspire against it but I’ve had many rentals over the years on trips in the Rockies and the trans was never this busy…

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      @ Nickoo.

      My apologies for not reading down further before I posted the exact same thing above.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      That knob was the single most dumb thing about my rental 200’s. I never could get used to it and kept thinking it was there to adjust fan speeds or radio volume etc.

  • avatar
    dartman

    I cant understand why FCA just doesn’t continue to put more money on the hood; with central banks offering negative interest rates in Europe and Asia, FCA should be willing to offer leases and financing to Tier 1 credit customers that would pay them to take the cars.

    At least that would keep the factory running and help FCA meet sales targets and allow continued payment of performance bonuses to management.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      There has been incredible money on the hood of these for at least a year at my local dealerships. Like $5000-8000 off the upper trims. If that kind of incentive doesn’t move them, I don’t know what can.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Given that you can buy lightly used ones for $10-$14,000 off, no rebate is going to work on the new ones.

        Whatever product related issues this model has pale in comparison to the utterly mind boggling decision to pump a massive percentage of these right into rental fleets.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Change the name to the “Chrysler Checker” or the “Chrysler Marathon”. That’ll fix it.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    2 model years in, one of the most striking exterior and interior designs in the class, available AWD, a strong V6, and it’s already come to this.

    How do you screw up a major entry this badly?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Simple – sell an unholy percentage of them to fleets, where a year later they’re selling for at least ten grand lower than the new ones sitting a few hundred feet away.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Perhaps this car would have done better had Chrysler waited until the redesign to change the name from Sebring to 200…

    Nah. Mopar mid sizers have been predominately fleet/discount specials since 1974 or so. It’s a shame that most of the 200s I see have a rental barcode in the back window, because with a bit of fine tuning they seem like they’d be nice cars. I imagine most buyers, even if they’re aware of the product, stay away in droves due to the (real or imagined) poor reliability or the (most definitely real) poor resale associated with anything Chrysler.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Maybe they should have called it the Fury or even a Newport. Not the same body or style of the 1978 luxury coupe, but “numbers” don’t always sell a car.
    Remember FORD “Five Hundred” or Fiat 500? Both disasters.
    And to think Sergio was going to build a Chrysler 100, probably based upon the spectacular Dart!

  • avatar
    pleiter

    How hard would it be for the Tuning Enterprise people to come up with a re-flash of the transmission logic, something that damps gear changes? Could it be this simple to turn this vehicle around by anybody who is not-FCA ?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      pleiter, my understanding of the situation re the 9-speed is that the smaller engines do not have enough twist/torque to keep the tranny in the higher gears, often even on flat roads.

      No such issues with the torque of the 5.7L and up in the Grand Cherokee since the torque band extends to the lower rpm when in 8-cyl mode.

      The 4-cyl and 6-cyl engines using the 9-speed have a narrower torque band and have to spin faster to get peak hp AND torque.

      So the firmware constantly adjusts the 9-speed to the ideal rpm and gear ratio which is perceived as gear-hunting.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        A friend has a Grand Cherokee and the tranny still isn’t right. Also constant niggling problems with the check engine light staying on. It still is as of last week, too. FCA can’t seem to be able to fix it, either. Pity, as it is one nice vehicle I would never buy.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Zack, you’re right. It’s a problem that’s still bugging the 2014 and up JGC.

          My wife’s sisters each bought a 2014 JGC, different trims but all with the V6 and they’re all experiencing problems with the transmission hunting, rear-end clanking, V6 stumbling, running rough on start up and the check-engine light coming on.

          OTOH, both 2012 JGCs our family gave to my grand daughter for her wedding, are doing terrific.

          Both JGCs have a lot of miles on them, but aside from fair wear and tear, no mechanical problems.

          And the 2008 Highlander we gave to my other grand daughter is also doing great.

          My recommendation if someone wants to buy that type of vehicle is 1) Highlander and 2)4Runner {if money is no object}.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The Acura TLX has the same ZF 9-speed, and I hear the same complaints about that transmission. I don’t think anyone can get it right. And I don’t see people buying TLX’s either.

      • 0 avatar
        mattwc1

        Strange, because the ZF 8 speed seems to be the darling for modern automatics. I wonder what the core problem is with the 9 speed. It seems that it is software related judging from many forum posts. It also seems that the 200 isn’t the only casualty from this malady.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          The 8 speed is a longitudinal transmission.

          The 9 speed is a transaxle and thus it has to make too many compromises to package 9 forward gears.

        • 0 avatar
          glen gray

          Let the japanese build the transmissions
          ZF builds the most unreliable transmission hands down the Germans build great engines but transmissions never were there best..
          In the Mid to late 70s Volvo had Asian Warner
          manufacture all the automatic overdrives, because
          ZF had so many problems that they never did fix ,a lot of dealership took the transmissions out along with the driveshafts and replaced the problem ZF transmissions …

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    So when can we expect $0 down $199/mo leases on the 200?

  • avatar

    They should just the nameplate to “Chrysler 200 or Similar” since they all end up at Hertz anyway.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Dart & 200 should have been CUVs, replacing the god awful Compass/Patriot/Journey. Maybe that is the plan.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      I think that’s sort of the plan, there’s a C-SUV coming that’s replacing the Compass/Patriot, supposed to slot between the Renegade and Cherokee (I didn’t think there was that much room between them personally).

      I think when all is said and done, Jeep and Fiat are going to be the “mainstream” brands, Chrysler may have the Pacifica and 300 but will otherwise wither on the vine. Fiat and Jeep have got global equity as brands, Chrysler not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        So, Dodge is dead?

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          Dodge was supposed to go “performance.” What that means I don’t know, besides giving every model an SRT trim. Probably a move to RWD vehicles, maybe end up a slightly less premium version of Alfa Romeo, though I bet they end up cannibalizing each other. The Dart will probably get replaced by a Dodge-ified Giulia (which I figure will be a Hornet), and the Charger/Challenger will probably underpin a new larger Alfa.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            That ought to sell well lmao.

            I think some Chrysler/Dodge rebadges of the Cherokee would help. For some unthinkable reason people are still buy Dodge Journeys. Amazingly 2015 was the Journey’s best year!!! Timothy that might be a story worth following up on. How is the 200 in the dumps while the Journey has doubled its sales since its debut 8 years ago?

            But yea it’s clear people want trucks so they should give em what they want. People DON’T want performance cars and halo cars don’t work.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            I can see FCA trying to compete with BMW and Cadillac, maybe at a slightly lower level and price point that is more accessible, lose some of the bling but keep the performance. But I don’t think they need two nameplates to do it, and neither Dodge nor Alfa is premium enough to go at BMW or Caddy yet. I think Sergio just didn’t want to part with either brand. He’s gonna have to though, FCA isn’t nearly as big as GM, and GM had to drop Pontiac and Hummer. Fiat dropping Lancia still leaves Alfa, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, and RAM. That’s a few brands too many.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            There’s no there there.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I can see FCA trying to compete with BMW and Cadillac…”

            Not when some crazy percentage of their product goes right to Hertz.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And yet when Dodge went performance, they immediately separated off the SRT into a separate brand.

            Good ideas, all round!

  • avatar
    JimInRadfordVA

    When the 200 first came out, I was appalled at the MSRP. “They want THAT much for THIS car? Fuggedaboudit.”

    I don’t care how much cash they put on the hood, in order to access that cash, and bring the 200 to a reasonable price, you realistically have to enter the buying process. Based on MSRP, I wouldn’t get near enough to one to find out.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Here you go, Jim…
      https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/659203563/overview/

      Pentastar, AWD, leather, moonroof, nav, 9000 miles. And appears to NOT be an ex-rental (hallelujah).

      Asking $21000…for a $35,000 car that’s not even a year old.

      Buying this car new is simply NOT an option. I hate to even imagine the beating the owner of this one took on trade-in.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The MY15s came out in 2014 and sold through spring 2015, so its one and a half to two years old. 21 is still a nice make on one of these, I say 19,5 is the offer because F the dealer (they’re not even a Chrysler dealer so forget the additional warranty after 3/36).

        MY15 Chrysler 200 “S” AWD V6, extra clean

        02/24/16 PITTSBGH Regular $19,100 3,573 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/11/16 ARENA IL $18,100 4,287 Avg BLACK 6ET A Yes
        02/18/16 PHILLY $20,200 4,657 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
        02/10/16 RIVRSIDE $17,500 5,959 Avg CERAMIC 6G A Yes
        03/03/16 PHILLY $20,000 6,137 Above GRAY 6G A Yes
        02/25/16 FRDKBURG $17,800 6,416 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
        02/09/16 NEWENGLD $18,600 7,130 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        03/01/16 DENVER Lease $18,000 8,740 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        02/25/16 FRDKBURG $17,900 8,934 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
        03/03/16 PHILLY $19,200 10,197 Above GRAY 6ET A Yes
        02/10/16 MINNEAP $20,100 10,801 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
        03/01/16 DETROIT $18,500 11,911 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
        02/16/16 OHIO Lease $13,000 12,708 Below BLACK 6ET A No
        03/01/16 DETROIT $18,500 12,841 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        03/03/16 PHILLY $20,800 12,938 Above BLUE 6ET A No
        02/25/16 CHICAGO Lease $18,000 13,002 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 KC Lease $17,300 15,034 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        03/01/16 DETROIT $16,600 16,263 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        02/26/16 PA Lease $17,600 16,461 Avg BLACK 6G P Yes
        02/11/16 PA Regular $18,200 17,002 Avg Black 6G A Yes

        from the seller:

        “This superb Chrysler is one of the most sought after used vehicles on the market because it NEVER lets owners down. ”

        Except in resale, you buy one of these you’ll be lucky to source 12 in a year or two.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          If I had any interest in the car I’d consider it a steal…but no way on this one.

          Nine speed transmission AND AWD…in a Chrysler?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hNLl7_W0ds

          I’d need a LOT more data to show this thing wasn’t going to self destruct in a year.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I like the dark blue leathers on that, a lot. Pity there’s no nice dark wood to go with it. And the white looks very rental on this model. It’s so flat, and makes the cheap running lamps on the wheel arch stand out like warning stickers.

        Notice, manufacturers how the black trim around the windows works on the 200 S. This is because it’s gloss, and not cheap matte. Looking at you, VW and Subaru.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    FCA would have been far better off using the old 6 speed automatic from the former 200/Avenger than the goofy clunky weird 9 speed from ZF. I was impressed with former 2012 and 2013 Avengers with the 283 HP 3.6 and 6 speed. It was the car that needed the work not the transaxle. Speaking of the new car they went too far with the current 200 with the low streamlined rear coupe like roof, the too many geared 9 speed, the silly knob shifter and the over done seats. It’s a shame because hiding here is a rather decent car. If it had the 6 speed, a normal shift lever, better quality control and better seats the 200 would be a decent mid size car choice, especially with the 295 Hp 3.6.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So Chrysler wants to farm out small car production where Fiat is a leader in small car production in most of its markets. If Marchionne can’t get his Fiat sourced product to sell in the US, instead relying on aging DC era platforms for profit, this whole thing is coming down hard simply in a matter of time. Not that I’m rooting for it, but it would be nice if it would self destruct while the President is still in office, only fitting for his “legacy”.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, unless Obama called Marchionne and told him to sell some crazy percentage of 200s to fleets under threat of the CIA making him disappear, I don’t see how this gets pinned on the president.

      Marchionne and FCA blew this all on their own, 28.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I completely agree, all of this is on Marchionne and FCA leadership. The Chrysler deal was far more simplistic, and to this point, successful. But if the ships going down, the irony would not be lost on me.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Well, the rest of the world’s definition of “small” is different from ours. Witness the 500. :) They essentially took the Giulietta and “bulked it up” for the US market (turning it into the CUSW platform) in the form of the Dart and the 200…which is probably why things didn’t work out. The CUSW platform SUVs seem to be doing OK. The 500L didn’t sell because it’s ugly.

      A non-ugly 500L might work as a Chrysler if styled right, remember the PT Cruiser?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        500X?

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          The 500x is doing relatively well given the small dealer footprint. Better than the 500, which, while a nice try, was just too small for most non urban American tastes. The 500L was a better size, but it’s just too ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I suppose Fiat “small cars” intended for other markets may not do well here due to different tastes, but the “F” in FCA was supposed to bring small car knowledge which could be adapted for use in USDM. Wanting to “farm it out” suggests FCA leadership simply does not believe their Fiat product will ever be successful in the US market precisely when small car technology is the most important thing to have long term. Then we see a series of special editions (Hellcat) and cheap to build customizations (Jeep Truck) because they can bring short term profits and make the company look healthier than it actually happens to be on paper. I’m truly perplexed why the leadership has just given up on small cars after one generation of some also rans. Dart isn’t Civic but with an adequate motor, a restyle, and a name change to Neon why can’t it sell? I’m not sure whats wrong with 200 exactly but maybe take it fleet only until its tooling is paid for and pretend it never happened. Have you guys given up on the Alfa Giulietta already? I realize 500e was a loss making model for the PRK, but couldn’t we work on getting the economies of scale in order so the model could at least be sold at a thin margin?

        My personal thought is FCA, as it stands, is not long for the world. The auto industry will see further consolidation in the upcoming recession and maybe FCA will be part of this industry movement.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          “I’m truly perplexed why the leadership has just given up on small cars after one generation of some also rans. ”

          It’s because they don’t have the money to add more production capacity and they want to sell more Jeeps and RAM trucks. Plus their limited capital means they are happy to shed the cost of improving these cars that make no profits for them.

          It’s all about streamlining the company, leveraging limited capital, and improving margins and profits to make FCA a more desirable target for a merger in the next few years before gas prices go up and the whole house of cards comes crashing down.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          It was supposed to, but I think with those first two tries they left too much in the hands of the same designers that produced the previous also-rans in the category, like the Caliber and the Sebring. The 500L would have been a better entry if it wasn’t so ugly, but I think a restyled version might work. The Cherokee is weird looking but it’s selling well, and the Renegade and 500X seem to hit the right notes. Ultimately, I think the Fiat input is actually paying off, it just wasn’t enough to overcome Chrysler’s absolute insistence on designing horrible compact and midsize sedans. They should have just let Fiat handle 100% of it.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    mark em all down, blow em out. sign n drive. 0 down, 0% 0 payments for 90 days. zerozerozerooooooooo

  • avatar
    daviel

    Didn’t TTAC and other journalists like the new 200?

  • avatar

    Last year Chrysler sold 265,000 200s making it the best selling Chrysler sedan in 20 years. For some reason Sergio is orchestrating the 200 demise by stating it will be cancelled in the near future. If any company can’t make money selling 265,000 vehicles a year than that company is not functioning properly. The guy at autoextremist is right Sergio is a fool.

    The 200 is still the face of Chrysler since the new Pacifica has the same grill design.


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
  • Alex L. Dykes, United States
  • 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

Get No-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners Automotive News in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked