By on June 3, 2016

Chrysler 200 Limited grey

The 200 is certainly approaching death’s door more rapidly than first anticipated.

First, there was a temporary plant shutdown as a reaction to an inventory glut. Then, in response to the market’s clarification that, yes, the 200 has truly fallen out of favour, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles instituted layoffs at the Sterling Heights factory where the 200 is built. News that the current Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart would not be followed up by FCA-developed successors was made all the more real when FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said 200 production may be suspended by the end of this year.

From a corporate standpoint, there’s no doubt that FCA’s compact and midsize U.S. market passenger cars are not long for this world. Marchionne even kicked the 200 while it was down by publicly declaring its faults, design errors which play a part in Consumer Reports’ anti-recommendation.

But dealers still have tens of thousands of Chrysler 200s to sell. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2016

2015 Chrysler 200

Significant incentives did not alter the Chrysler 200’s dreadful U.S. trendline in April 2016.

As the decrease in demand for the 200 became more obvious, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles temporarily shut down the midsize Chrysler’s Sterling Heights factory in order to clear out excess inventory. But 200 demand continued to decrease, and FCA was forced into laying off workers at the Sterling Heights plant while ramping up incentives on the 200. So dreadful is the 200’s marketplace performance that FCA has no desire to develop their next midsize car.

Heading into April, inventory levels remained high. Enticing deals were thick on the ground. But apparently, those deals weren’t so enticing after all, even as TTAC published a positive rental review of the four-cylinder Chrysler 200 at the tail end of April, just as consumers headed into showrooms to capture the best deals of the month. (Read More…)

By on April 26, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200 Exterior, Image: FCA

A few months ago, my esteemed colleague Ronnie Schreiber found himself in possession of a McLaren 675LT for the week. Not having a tremendous amount of personal experience with supercars, and not in a position to kill $10,000 worth of consumables in a single day at Thunderhill, Ronnie decided not to write a conventional review of the 675LT. Instead, he wrote an “Appreciation” of the Macca, eschewing the world-weary, seen-it-all shtick of the print-rag supercar review for an honest description of what it’s like to be a regular fellow who just happens to be holding the keys to something truly outrageous. Check it out, if you haven’t already read it.

Last week, I had the occasion to put 515 miles on a rented close-to-base-model Chrysler 200 in about a ten-hour period. It’s safe to say that most of you don’t like Chrysler’s entry-luxury take on the Fiat Compact platform. As a matter of fact, the 200 is currently a strong contender for Mr. Stevenson’s reanimated TWAT awards.

I’d like to see if I can change your mind about that.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2016

sergio-marchionne

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, could shed light on the company’s uncertain future this Tuesday when the company reports earnings. However, as the Detroit Free Press reports, Marchionne may not take the opportunity to clear the air, which would leave employees at FCA plants wondering about their futures for months to come.

The sweatered one has already stated in no uncertain terms that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart will get the axe. Just when that will happen, and what product will fill freed-up plant capacity and dealer lots, remains a guessing game.

(Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200S

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

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

By on February 1, 2016

car-brands

FCA’s sweater-in-chief Sergio Marchionne has a plan to turn around the debt-laden and ailing automaker: stop building cars that lose money. That sounds like common sense, so long as oil prices stay low and the demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers remains high.

But that plan introduces a new set of problems, chief among them the fact that ditching the car market leaves FCA exceptionally exposed to future volatility in oil prices. Crude prices affect prices at the pump, which affects the demand for certain types of vehicles. Sergio is betting oil prices will stay low by focusing on vehicles with ever-increasing price tags and ever-growing gas tanks.

Still, there will always be some demand for small cars. It was true in 1950 and it is true today. So what will Mr. Sweater do to meet that demand? Simple: he’ll buy those vehicles from another automaker and badge engineer them the old-fashioned way.

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2014

20141221_122332

Two Chryslers, both alike in dignity
(In fair Miami, where we lay our scene)

(Read More…)

By on November 11, 2014

2015 chrysler 200Canada’s best-selling midsize car? The Chrysler 200.

At least, that was the case in October 2014, a month in which sales of the 200 jumped 120% to 1800 units. Even with the near-disappearance of the Dodge Avenger, the fraternal twin of the new 200’s predecessor, Chrysler Canada midsize car sales grew 64% last month.

Odd as this may sound for U.S. observers, it’s not completely out of the blue in Canada. Nor did we arrive at this point without an explanation. (Read More…)

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