By on July 27, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200C Platinum - Image: ChryslerAt Hyundai dealers across America, there are 964 copies of the discontinued Azera strewn about, waiting for the final 964 Hyundai Azera buyers.

A raft of recently discontinued models has resulted in opportunities for consumers to potentially snatch up terrific deals while attractive financing terms remain on 2017 models. The Azera, a large volume-brand sedan unable to function in a market that’s rapidly turning its back on such vehicles, is only one such dead model. Production of the first (and only) generation of Jeep’s Patriot, for example, ended late last year, but there are more than 6,600 in dealer inventory, according to Cars.com.

Don’t wait too long, or you’ll end up like that buyer of a new 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution who paid $138,000 just this month, July 2017. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2017

2016 Chrysler 200 - Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. dealers entered 2017 with more than six-months’ worth of Chrysler 200 supply, according to Automotive News.

That’s enough inventory for America’s latest discontinued midsize sedan, production of which ended eight weeks ago, to linger well into summer, assuming demand remains on an even keel.

Of course, demand for the Chrysler 200 has not flatlined, but rather continues to shrink. This means 200s built in the fourth-quarter of 2016 — or earlier — may well be readily available at a Chrysler dealer near you, not just this summer, but even toward the end of 2017.

You therefore have plenty of time to decide whether you want to take the plunge into a world of defunct nameplates. Based on recent results, it appears that more than 98 percent of midsize sedan buyers don’t. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

You read it here this morning, but perhaps a friend already texted you the bad news. Maybe a few Facebook acquaintances or Twitter followers changed their avatar to reflect the loss.

Yes, the Chrysler 200, formerly the Chrysler Sebring, has shuffled off its mortal coil, leaving behind only memories and a hefty inventory of unsold models.

As TTAC’s Timothy Cain said in his heartfelt obituary, the 200’s passing is more than just the loss of a slow-selling model — it’s the death of FCA’s midsize car portfolio. Formerly numbering one (after the death of the barely facelifted Dodge Avenger), the warehouse’s tenant list now registers zero occupants.

Think back to any previous decade. Back then, could you picture a day when the Chrysler stable contained just two models? That’s where we’re at: an aging rear-wheel-drive sedan and a minivan are the only things keeping Chrysler from joining Plymouth, Eagle, and DeSoto in the cold, cold ground. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2016

2017 Chrysler 200C Platinum - Image: FCA

It’s over.

Consider the bucket kicked, the farm sold, the dust bitten. We have long been aware Sergio Marchionne was preparing a Chrysler 200-shaped coffin for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ remaining midsize sedan. On Friday, December 2, 2016, the lid of that coffin was slammed shut at FCA’s Sterling Heights, Michigan, assembly plant.

The Detroit News reported last week the Chrysler 200 is officially dead. Fortunately, the Sterling Heights plant lives on. (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2016

2017 Chrysler 200C Platinum

Thom writes:

Hi Bark,

Your RC F article got me wondering: what are some of the cars out there you think are actually good, enjoyable cars that get crapped on for no good reason other than inherent bias and/or groupthink in the automotive world?

I always wonder what’s out there that’s actually decent, if not outright good, that everyone seems to think is garbage. (Notwithstanding that sometimes everyone thinks a car is garbage because it actually is.)

This is gonna be fun.

(Read More…)

By on October 31, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

There is something sincerely wrong with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ math, although things are starting to add up for why some of its sales numbers were so inflated.

That, Ford decides to get a little less global at the expense of the small car, Hyundai pays the price for lying, and parts suppliers see doom and gloom on the horizon for the automotive industry… after the break!

(Read More…)

By on October 11, 2016

Katt Williams

sportyaccordy writes:

Hey Bark,

My current ride is a manual Civic sedan, which I’ve modified but in which I’ve lost interest. It’s just not powerful enough, and I think I want something a little more relaxing for the daily grind. I commute about 400 miles a week and offspring are hopefully coming in the near future. I’ve grown to accept that my next car may break my all-stick-shift streak (six since 2003). I don’t want or need all-wheel drive as I live in the South.

So what do I want?

Well I definitely want a sedan; preferably a smaller one. I definitely want something with six cylinders and liters no less than three by the Lor’t’s decree. I also don’t want to spend more than $20,000, so it will obviously be used. It wouldn’t hurt to have a decent aftermarket—I want to lower the car and put an intake and exhaust on it. The obvious choices to me are the Infiniti G37S, followed by the previous-generation Lexus IS 350 and BMW 335i.

Still, I just can’t shake the idea of at least checking out a 2015+ Chrysler 200S. Why?

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

After an attractive design, all-wheel-drive availability, a powerful V6 (and incentives) powered the Chrysler 200 to 16 consecutive months of improved U.S. sales through October 2015, demand for the midsize 200 suddenly dried up.

During that 16-month stretch between July 2014 and October 2015, sales of the 200 jumped 72 percent, an increase of more than 6,000 sales per month for the Sebring’s replacement. But between November of last year and January 2016, U.S. sales of the 200 were essentially chopped in half.

As a result, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles skipped quickly from a temporary shutdown at the 200’s Sterling Heights assembly plant, to a prolonged shutdown, to an announcement that the 200 and its Dodge Dart cousin would be gradually wound down. It wasn’t so gradual: Dart production is about to end and 200 production will be over before year’s end.

Coinciding with these sedan cancellations, FCA also mired itself in a sales fixing scandal. FCA now claims in 2011, 2014, and 2015, the company was under-reporting real total sales volume, FCA also clarified that sales through the first-half of 2016 were 7,450 units lower than the company first announced.

Though lacking specific monthly data for the early part of this year, we now know which brands and models were the key offenders with July figures in hand. No drum roll required. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2016

2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 EcoDiesel

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles knows what models bring home the bacon, so there won’t be many corporate tears shed over its decision to axe the Chrysler 200.

Yesterday, the automaker announced $1.48 billion in funding to retool its Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant, paving the way for the next generation of Ram trucks. To free up space for lucrative pickup production, FCA just sent the 200 on the long walk to the gallows. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2016

2015 Dodge Charger V6 AWD Rallye (2 of 13)

There’s nothing new here, nothing unusual at all to see.

U.S. sales at the increasingly popular Jeep brand jumped 17 percent in June 2016 as the overall market climbed just 2 percent; as SUVs and crossover sales grew 10 percent. Jeep sales have increased on a year-over-year basis in 33 consecutive months.

FCA’s need for Jeep to outperform was all the more clear in June, as Jeep attempted to follow-up an all-time record performance in May with sustained demand. Car sales across the automaker’s Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat brands plunged 40 percent, a loss of nearly 19,000 sales.

And so the trend continues. 17.4 percent of the new vehicles sold in the United States by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in April were cars. That figure fell to 16.9 percent in May and dropped to just 14.2 percent in June.

These aren’t typos. For every 86 pickup trucks, minivans, commercial vans, SUVs, and crossovers sold at your friendly local FCA store in June 2016, there were only 14 cars sold along with them. (Read More…)

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…)

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