By on January 15, 2009

Chrysler will stop building PT Cruisers this summer. OK, they’re not actually building anything until next month, and maybe not even then, but you know what I mean. Displaying the link between stress, huge salary, government begging and multiple personality disorder, ChryCo Co-Prez Tom LaSorda got on the blower with Bloomberg to acknowledge that the entire PT model is for sale. “Would we sell those assets? Yes. Do we have any offers to sell those assets? No. Would we be pursuing a buyer? Yes.” In China? Yes. Would they buy it? No. Despite the idea that China wants our cast-offs, they’re way beyond that point. And make no mistake, the PT has gone all the way from hero to zero. “U.S. sales of the PT Cruiser plunged 49 percent last year to 50,910 units, outpacing Chrysler’s 30 percent slide and the 18 percent tumble in the domestic auto market. Deliveries peaked at 144,717 in 2001, according to Autodata Corp. in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.” For those who lament the death (dearth?) of American automotive production, remember that the PT is hecho en Mexico. Still sucks for them, obviously.

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37 Comments on “Who Wants to Buy A PT Cruiser? How About the Tooling, Then?...”

  • avatar

    They began the parting out of Chrysler with the PT Cruiser? Good luck with that.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Someone in a BRIC country might buy it. Okay, not India. But BRC. Or maybe southeast asia – Malaysia, Indonesia or who knows what.

  • avatar

    Ha! Buy a car design. I don’t think these Cerberus guys understand how we do things in China.

  • avatar

    Keep an eye on the Toluca Craigslist for a bargain. Now would that be under Cars+Trucks or Garage Sale?

  • avatar

    no_slushbox :

    Uhm… yeah… because Chrysler hasn’t previously done the same thing with ye olde Jeep Cherokee…

  • avatar

    You know what, it really isn’t a bad car, just one that’s way, way past it’s sell-by date. On refreshed mechanicals and made by a company that had a life expectancy that wasn’t practically measured in minutes, it would work well.

    It could be, say, a Kia Rondo with style?

  • avatar

    I had the unfortunate experience of getting one of these as a loaner while the subaru had the valve spring replaced.

    UGH. I can’t figure out why anyone would buy one.

  • avatar

    Somebody in Serbia might want to buy it, you know Yugo Redux.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “hecho en Mexico”

    “The US Department of Defense considers Mexico one of the two governments in the world most likely to suffer a “rapid and sudden collapse” that could require military intervention. A section on “weak and failing countries,” of a report recently released by the US Joint Forces Command says that narcotraffic and organized crime could generate a chaotic scene and the army would be obligated to respond for reasons of national security. At the end of 2008, the US government declared the Mexican drug cartels to be the greatest threat to its territory.”

  • avatar

    I thought it was an okay car for the money and still looks okay. Too bad these guys can’t figure out how to make money selling 50,000 cars a year.

  • avatar

    “Too bad these guys can’t figure out how to make money selling 50,000 cars a year.”

    Especially when the tooling should have been amortized a long time ago.

    The irony of the PT Cruiser is that (with the exception of on efeature) it was the first of the CUVs. It’s built on a car platform, has fold-down rear seats, five doors and tall wagon profile. The only thing it lacked was an AWD system.

  • avatar

    I think it looks good and is pretty comfortable inside. MPG sucks, though. SUV-ish bad.

  • avatar


    Yeah, Chrysler was one of the first to do joint ventures in china. A first mover advantage that they completely wasted.

    But right now the Chinese want brands and distribution, not the rights to some old car design. If the Chinese want a car design they’ll put a new Korean or Japanese car, or maybe even a Fiat, under one of their fancy laser design stealing measuring machines.

  • avatar

    I always thought that the PT Cruiser was an excellent execution of the idea of how to make a Dodge Neon get 18 MPG.

  • avatar

    I can’t really disparage the PT cruiser that much. It’s not my cup of tea but I see them all over the place. If they’d updated it as another poster said, then it would probably be a strong seller.

  • avatar

    Wait a minute… Chrysler sold 50k of these last year??? To who??

    Seriously, unless there were 50k people (or rental car companies) that just love the styling, what’s the point?

    I rented one of these things a few years ago, and thought it was one of the bigger P’sOS I’ve driven.

  • avatar

    Mention product development to the US 2.8 and you get a furrowed brow.

    Imagine if Chrysler had tried to turn it into a Mazda3 killer. Even if they only got 70% there the PT would have been a classic forever.

    Instead the PT got abandoned and all we got out the deal was the Caliber and the pleasure of a bailout.

  • avatar

    Sell it to Hyundai and let them upgrade it and tack on their warranty.

  • avatar

    under one of their fancy laser measuring machines.

    Is that how it’s done? Interesting. Is that how they concot some kitcars also?

    I don’t know, I can see this design being sold to some country with the large population that need a (relatively) diminutive people-mover/utility vehicle. India, Brazil, Indonesia… How much they’d pay is another question. But it’d definitely past it’s expiry date so if they can raise some money…what the hell.

    Jeep to R-N, the PT Cruiser to someone, I wonder what would be next in line?

  • avatar


    Renault-Nissan already has dibs on the new Ram pickup as well.

    VW has the minivan platform.

  • avatar

    The interior on a subcompact Honda is roomier, more comfortable, and luxurious.

  • avatar

    This car has some good points but it is bound to disappoint a car enthusiast.

    The naturally aspirated base engine idles so roughly, you may mistake it for a diesel engine. The four speed transmission is sluggish. The elevated seating position meant for SUV refugees.

  • avatar

    I like the PT Cruiser concept, including the short length yet large interior (like the old xB). But I think the styling is a sucky execution of a good idea. Pokemon eyes on something that’s supposed to be retro???! And that grill is just plain goofy. Plus, the retro lines need greater definition.

    And yeah, performance wise it doesn’t do anything well.

  • avatar

    I actually own one so I have to defend my PT.
    6 yrs and 93K and it is doing fine. Is it the best car in the world? NO. But it has had only a few minor problems.
    Mine has a clutch (the original) and performs pretty well if you keep it above 3000 rpm. The engine or trans has never been open, so I guess it has better valve springs than a Subaru. It idles fine and gets 25 MPG in mixed driving. You can haul a lot of people and things. It also has the best of the ten best heater controls, in my opinion. Knock it all you want, but the people who own them like them.

  • avatar

    Chrysler (and everybody else, frankly) has done this in the past. A plant in Russia is making last generation Sebrings as we speak.

  • avatar

    I used to make what’s in the foreground, now I make what’s in the background. Even if things turn around, I doubt I’ll ever go back. Lovely picture though.

  • avatar

    The last generation Stratus/Sebring was sold to GAZ in Russia. They put a different grill and tail on it and sold it under their name. So I can understand Chrysler hoping they can sell the tooling to someone.

    The PT Cruiser was one of the most reliable Chryslers according to Consumer Reports.

    The car had a big following at one time and lots of sales. But Daimler didn’t like it and since they were calling the shots at Chrysler they let it whither on the vine. By the time Cerberus took over it was considered too far gone to resuscitate. Don’t worry about the factory, they also make the Dodge Journey there. Unlike some so-called flex facilities that can only build 2 or 3 variations of the same platform, Saltillo (sp?) Mexico can actually build two different vehicles, like the PT and Journey.

    What you’re really seeing is the very last Plymouth. The PT Cruiser was never supposed to be a Chrysler. It was supposed to be sold along with the Prowler and the concept Pronto Spyder if they had made it. Dumbler got rid of Plymouth and the Cruiser which was already in development became a Chrysler, which didn’t suite the brand being as it was an inexpensive down market car, but there was no where else to put it (similar to the situation they had with the Compass, which has no business being a Jeep).

    I once saw a PT Cruiser with a tow dolly lugging a late model Corvette behind it. I’m not kidding. That’s at least 3,000 lbs., right? No problem for the PT. I’m sure acceleration was slow but it had no trouble keeping up with the flow of traffic.

  • avatar

    @ Pig_Iron

    I used to make what’s in the foreground, now I make what’s in the background.

    May I ask, how did you come to that decision?

  • avatar

    If Chrysler lineup were as successful as PT Cruiser, Chrysler might have some chance of survival.

  • avatar

    ok ok…I cant really hate my experience with the PT Cruiser. We took it up north and calculated it was getting 34 mpg on the highway (the digital calc was off so we did it manually)…but that dropped significantly in the city areas. Great highway car with a smooth ride.

  • avatar

    @Conslaw: I always thought that the PT Cruiser was an excellent execution of the idea of how to make a Dodge Neon get 18 MPG.

    Having had the Neon inflicted upon me as a rental car, I thought the Neon was an execution of the idea of how to make a Neon get 18 MPG. At least, that’s what I got from the thing. From my Subie, and from rental Cobalts and Calibers, I tend to get somewhat closer to what the EPA says I should.

  • avatar

    If they could have kept gas mileage more competitive, it would sell better.

    I’ve always liked them.

  • avatar

    And to think: A woman I once worked with paid thousands over MSRP for one of these when they first came out. Now they can hardly be given away.

  • avatar

    How about we take the tooling at fair value against the loans from the US government, and donate it to the Palestinians. Then they can build the cars in Gaza. Maybe that will give them something to do other than take cash from other muslims for harrassing the Israelis. I doubt most palestinians presently have anything nearly as nice or safe as a PT cruiser. Hell, maybe the Israelis will buy them just to keep them busy as well.

  • avatar

    Maybe the Mexican drug cartel will buy the plant, and stuff the PT’s with cocaine and mary jane (if they don’t already).

    psarhjinian :
    It could be, say, a Kia Rondo with style?

    For my last drive to Wisconsin for work, the Enterprise-supplied Sebring cruise control was broken, and it developed a loose ball joint which prompted me to trade it out for a PT at Mitchell Airport.
    I drove the PT around Waukesha for a couple of days, and found that it’s only saving grace was its high seating position and lack of a knee-crushing center console (that the Sebring had).
    I found out on the day I had to drive back to PA that the cruise control in the PT didn’t work either, so I traded the PT (I insisted on NO CHRYSLERS) for a Kia Rondo.
    The Kia got the same mileage with its “gas-hog” 2.7 V6 than the PT with the 2.4, and I didn’t have to fold the second row seat down (as in the PT) to stow my gear.
    The Kia DID have a “knee crusher” center console, but the cruise control worked.

  • avatar


    The decision was made for me. After pouring two decades of pouring heart and soul into automotive, the bomb bay doors were opened on thousands of us. After months of searching, the only industry that saw my skills as transferable was construction, specifically structural steel.

    Civil guys are a different breed, but I’m flexable and adapting. I’m lucky, a lot of other guys (and gals) are temp’s stocking shelves at Home Depot on 3rd shift (or worse). Thanks for asking.

  • avatar

    Justin Berkowitz:

    You can take the “B” out, too. All major manufacturers here are foreign and have a “fine” tradition of taking on their own in-house old tools and “re-tooling” them to make “fine” brand-new old cars (Fiat Tipo and Palio, VW Gol, GM Corsa and Celta, Ford Ka among others in a never ending list).

    The “national” car makers are too small and only make special hand-made “knock-offs” (Chamonix makes an interesting Posche 356 replica, and Troller, recently bought by Ford, why? why?, makes a back to basics old-style, eeringly-similar-to-an-old-Jeep jeep) or “sports” cars like Lobini. These cars usually cost a fortune and are the playthings of financially well-endowed people, except for the above mentioned Troller whose jeep finds favor among the off-road crowd.

    So, no sale for Chrysler here.

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