By on June 17, 2009

The PT Cruiser tooling in Toluca, Mexico couldn’t be pawned off to an unsuspecting Chinese firm, so they’ll just keep selling the things to unsuspecting Americans (or die trying), reports Inside Line. Originally set to be axed or updated in 2004, the PT Cruiser (hated by many, loved by at least one) will live on until the summer of 2011 when production at Toluca will switch to the Fiat 500 and a Fiat Panda-based Jeep product. That means the PT will have been produced for 11 years by the time it finally, mercifully dies.

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61 Comments on “PT Cruiser Refuses to Die...”


  • avatar
    Juniper

    (hated by many, loved by at least one)
    Make that TWO!!!

  • avatar

    That picture looks retarded.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Good news for Michael Scott!

  • avatar
    akear

    The PT Cruiser is one of Chrysler’s all-time classic designs. This is a leftover vehicle from a era when Chrysler was the industry’s design leader. Man, that seems like ages ago. Now the company gives us the Sebring.

    The Fiat 500 and Panda will be absolute failures like the current Astra. Detroit never learns from its mistakes.

    Bring on the crap!

    Here is a picture of the dull Panda. At least the PT Cruiser looks interesting.

    http://foto.autozone.be/fotoseurotax/450/fiat-panda-4×4-4601.jpg

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Given the PT’s “light truck” status, it might be considered “better” in terms of CAFE than the final Fiat 500 that actually ships in the US. The PT almost meets the future CAFE guidelines right now and at a low price; we’ll see how the Fiat 500 fares with a 9 MPG higher burden.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    The PartTime Cruiser definitely isn’t what I’d call an exciting, or even good, product, but people that own them sure seem to love them. I’d probably buy one if I were looking for a cheap ride that fills a strictly utilitarian need. It’s not a terrible car, and for the most part they seem to be pretty reliable, they’re just goofy looking and don’t drive particularly well. Some people are okay with that.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Steven Lang’s article from last summer reminded me:

    What becomes of the “Refuel America” program for anyone who may have had fuel remaining? Once prices dropped below $2.99 I was under the impression that you can save your balance until the price went up again.

    Is that deal gone now that Chrysler went TU? Or was that a fully-funded program at the outset?

  • avatar
    Jason

    I can think of several vehicles for sale in NA that are worse then the PT. Faint praise, I know, but the basic packaging of this car at least makes it suitable for its use. More then some automotive models can say about themselves.

  • avatar
    akear

    What is going to happen when the 500 has trouble even breaking the 30,000 annual sales mark. Come on, we all know it has flop written all over it. It maybe a fine car for Europe, but poor reliability and odd looks will doom it in the States.

    Toyota must shake their head when they look at how GM and Chrysler conduct business. No wonder they are so arrogant.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the Fiat Panda 4×4 is actually a very very cool car – it has won a few awards but like the 500, it clearly is not designed for the american market and i doubt it will ever succeed

    the problem with the PT cruiser is the design is from the bad retro school and it looked aged in 2004… by 2011 it’ll be like another time zone

    i wonder how chrysler will even fare in 2011

  • avatar
    rpiotr01

    Why does Fiat think Americans want cars without trunks or cargo space? Even if it’s empty 90% of the time, we like to know that in the event that we find a broken down and abandoned truck carrying sugar/ new packs of underwear/ cigarettes we can load that sucker up and high tail it out of there. And drive over a mountain if need be.

    A Jeep based on the Panda? That’s called a Compass without a rear cargo area. They somehow managed to take a terrible vehicle and make it worse.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Fiat 500 and a Fiat Panda-based Jeep product.

    A JEEP are they f*cking kidding. Why doesn’t Fiat just sell Fiat’s here and skip the rebadging crap.

  • avatar
    BDB

    The Fiesta will kick the Panda’s ass.

  • avatar
    shaker

    It’s not a bad rental car, but the mileage and performance with a “large” 2.4 liter motor were very disappointing. The ride and handling on smooth roads were acceptable. Not an unpleasant “Sebring” at all. It’s actually an xB with Chryco shortcomings.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Superbadd
    “but people that own them sure seem to love them”
    Isn’t that the very definition of a good product?

  • avatar
    akear

    The Panda will make a very bad JEEP. Well, we can again kiss another American icon goodbye. At least we still have the Big Mac. I now know how British car fans felt in the late 70s. It it horrible to watch the US car industry die a slow painful death.

    Didn’t Chevrolet hire the PT Cruise designer to design the HRR. I actually think the HRR looks a little cleaner.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Lived with one of those for a few weeks two years ago, and can’t figure out what the bitching is about. Sure, it’s a vanilla four door sedan with a bit more than vanilla styling, and the ability to haul more than a couple of racing bicycles, plus necessary tools, etc.

    Only disappointment was in not being able to get the gas mileage out of the mid twenties.

    If I could find one with a five-speed (yeah, they exist in theory), I’d probably jump on it. Nice little load hauler, not a bad four wheeled transportation module.

    Of course, if I wanted excitement, I’d look elsewhere. But it’s an incredibly underrated car (or am I just listening to the usual B&B “if it’s Detroit we have to slag it”?)

  • avatar
    paul_y

    Panda Jeep!? At least it will be better (and a more credible off-roader) than the Compass/Patriot twins.

    As for the PT: eh, there’s worse things, I suppose. They aren’t completely shitty (if you ignore their reason for being– “How do we make a Neon get 18mpg?”), just long in the tooth and sorta goofy.

    In all seriousness, the 500 and Panda are cars I could see replacing/supplanting my xB with eventually.

  • avatar
    86er

    Here is a picture of the dull Panda.

    It kind of does look like a Panda.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Juniper: “but people that own them sure seem to love them”
    Isn’t that the very definition of a good product?

    No, the definition of a good product goes beyond that, I think. The PT never really struck me as being unreliable, but it also never seemed to be an especially high quality piece, which is a large part of what makes a good product IMO. The interiors just always seemed flimsy, the dash vibrates so hard at idle you could make a milkshake, and for a car of its size it gets pretty poor fuel mileage. IMO it’s not a great product, but if people like it then so be it. Far be it from me to tell someone not to drive a car they like.

    RE: the Panda, is that thing gonna be Trail Rated®?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    If Fiatsler can’t pawn off the tooling on an unsuspecting Chinese carmaker, maybe they can rename it “Panther II” and sell it to Ford.

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    And so this wonderful product will end not with a bang but a whimper.

    Wonderful? Absolutely.

    First, PT was a love it or hate it model. Internet posters fall in the hater camp so what you read in places like this is skewed. But there are definitely lovers, and lots of them. The other morning I was passed by a long, long line of modified PT’s heading for the coast. You don’t see that with Camry’s. It may not be to my taste, but I appreciate a car that people can fall in love with.

    Second, Chrysler designers turned a lemon (Neon) into lemonade with the PT (OK I don’t really think the Neon was a lemon either, but if the cliche fits…)This car started a mad fad when introduced, almost entirely on looks alone. There were waiting lists. There were price surcharges. All based on the designers’ creativity. And I have to think that charging more (at least initially) for a new body on an old chassis couldn’t have hurt Chrysler’s bottom line. I call that wonderful.

    Last, this could have been the halo vehicle that moved non-domestic buyers back to the homeland. I know two PT owners; one traded in an Accord, the other a Volvo. Both remain very satisfied with their now longish in the tooth Cruisers. It turns out that as cars they weren’t too bad. Had Chrysler come up with a follow up each might have considered it. A domestic capable of turning a couple of long time import buyers has to be pretty wonderful.

    Wonderful, but lonely and abandoned in the Chrysler showroom. This is the way the world ends.

  • avatar
    derm81

    Hilarious. I drive a PT simply due to the fact that it was a corporate car owned by Chrysler. Basically I picked it up with 10,000 miles on it from a douchey dealership. The interior could be better but they did with what they had considering the pressure from Vaterland to cheapen the materials as much as possible. The fit and trim could be better but the mileage is great and it fits my golf bag.

    Only disappointment was in not being able to get the gas mileage out of the mid twenties.

    I have been able to get it into the low 30s a number of times at least in warmer weather. The Detroit winters do major damage to the mileage.

  • avatar

    The problem is that Chrysler didn’t know what to do with the PT. It was planned as a cornerstone of a new Plymouth, then they killed Plymouth. It never fit the Chrysler brand.

    Performance is weak all around with the base engine. The PT GT Turbo is very quick, though. Seats are comfortable on long drives. I’ve brought home seven-foot bookcases in the car–with the hatch closed.

    My wife loved hers until it started having problems. Based on responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, hers is worse than most. Overall the car seems about average in reliability. There are a few problems that affect many cars, but they’re not expensive to fix.

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Chrysler&mc=69&email=Guest

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Superbadd
    “the dash vibrates so hard at idle you could make a milkshake, and for a car of its size it gets pretty poor fuel mileage. IMO it’s not a great product”

    My dash does not vibrate at all. It is rated at 26 highway I get 26 in mixed driving with a stick.
    The Xb is rated at 28. yes, better but not much.
    Mine is a 2002 with 99K. I am very happy with it.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    @SunnyvaleCA Given the PT’s “light truck” status, it might be considered “better” in terms of CAFE than the final Fiat 500 that actually ships in the US. The PT almost meets the future CAFE guidelines right now and at a low price

    El ditto.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    My mom has a 2.4 Turbo. It hauls ass, but the engine is rough above 3,500 rpm. The Autostick is nothing special. One of the chrome wheels developed a leak and had to be replaced to the tune of mucho money. A fuel injector failed at around 70,000 miles despite the use of Tier I fuel. Mileage is low twenties, about average for a turbo, I guess. Not my cup of tea, but my mom likes it. I think the PT was developed for her demo: baby boomers on a budget.

    Edit: Oh, and the turning radius is absolutely horrendous.

  • avatar

    By any measure, an eleven year production run is pretty good and Chrysler sold a profitable number of PTs.

    The PT Cruiser, Scion xB, Chevy HHR, and the late Pontiac Aztek fill the need of a small van. My ex just bought an HHR. She was considering a Vibe but didn’t think it had enough room for the dog.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    I’ve got to ask though, in regards to the picture: “That thing got a HEMI?”

  • avatar
    The_Mase

    I don’t get the hate for the PT either. It is what it is. My mom used to have one and it seemed perfectly fine…after they initially came out they were usually reasonably priced too. Not sure where the complaints come from. It’s not like it’s pretending to be a luxury sedan or turbo charged sports car.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    When first introduced to S. Calif., the PT Cruiser was routinely stickered at $10K over MSRP. Amazing for what is really a Dodge Neon with a Retro body.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I rented a PT Cruiser and liked it enough. It does well in the reliability department, but the driving dynamics leave a lot to be desired. It drives very much like a heavy minivan, without the utility of a minivan. If it provided 30mpg and a flat load floor (a la Matrix/Vibe)the PT Cruise would be a hit.

    Still, I’m glad it’s hanging around awhile.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    The PT Cruiser is a good car, but it went out of date after 2005. When they did the regular cheapening to it with the new interior and wheels, it offically died. If you asked me, the PT should have ceased to exist after 2005.

    As for the Panda, it has a chance. It has been earning heaps of praise and awards in Europe, and seems to be a very solid, competitive car with a strong and solid reliability record. It remains a question of whether it will be successful here, but I can imagine it being popular in heavily populated areas like California and New York. You can’t dis the Panda, it is the key to Fiat’s current success.

    If they bring it here, I will buy one. Seriously.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    In an ironic twist of fate, the PT Cruiser seems like the heir-apparent to the good ‘ole Plymouth Valiant (especially the late sixties version).

    The worst aspects of the Valiant was the typical miserable Chrysler body integrity and poor fuel mileage for a six cylinder. Otherwise, those things were as rock-solid and reliable as an anvil. The bodies would rust away long before the drivetrain would give up (even drivetrains that weren’t taken well care of). A Valiant with a Torqueflite six just wouldn’t quit, no matter how badly it was abused.

    The PT Cruiser is of a similiar ilk. Not particularly stylish anymore, it’s still quite a practical ride that delivers except, of course, for decent gas mileage considering the size of the engine. I have no doubt there’s still a market for the car (albeit not as large as it once was) so Chrysler might as well keep spitting a few of them out until the plant is able to switch over to Fiat production.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    I’m tempted to pick up a used PT Cruiser GT. It fixes the handling problem of the original, and has a fair amount of quickness. Problem is, for the size of the vehicle it gets awful gas mileage, and that’s doubly so considering that the ‘Cruiser GT takes premium fuel. Ouch ouch ouch in the fuel economy department.

  • avatar
    The Walking Eye

    Why does Fiat think Americans want cars without trunks or cargo space?

    Why do so many here think the same?

    I recently went to a VW dealer and test drove several cars, one of which being a 2005 GTI. When I had the hatch open, I commented that I couldn’t fit my clubs in the back w/o putting down the seat. Salesman was skeptical of my claim, so I went and grabbed them and they didn’t fit. Immediately became a car I would only consider if the price was perfect and it drove like nobodies’ business.

    If I can’t fit a set of golf clubs into the cargo/trunk space, it’s pretty much an automatic no. So, I don’t really care how good a Panda/500/whatever Fiat looks and drives if it can’t even haul my clubs w/o me putting the seats down and thereby cutting my seating capacity in half.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    While it’s not much quieter, I’ve often wondered why they didn’t update the powertrain to use the newer joint-venture 2.4L DOHC/VVT engine used in the Caliber/Compass/Patriot. If nothing else, it should net a fuel economy improvement, as well as a decent bump (around 22 HP) in power over the ancient Mexican made naturally aspirated 2.4L the car has used since it came out. And while we’re at it, why not go the whole hog and put the 2.4L Turbo out of the Caliber SRT-4 into a revitalized PT GT?

  • avatar
    revjasper

    PT Cruiser? It’s the rental special.

    At first I didn’t hate them, the turning radius and fuel economy left something to be desired but otherwise the car was comfortable. I loved the separate fold down armrests.

    Then DaimlerChrysler did their 2006 model year “facelift”. Add cheapness. The seats suddenly went from cozy to cutting off circulation. The armrests went away, a gigantic center console was installed. Instant removal of comfort with no features added. Okay, the stereo sometimes could play MP3 discs…

    I’d love to pick up one of the heavily discounted models left on a remaining dealer’s lot, but not unless I can put a 2005 interior back in.

  • avatar
    Bearadise

    I loved my PT Cruiser…traded it when I hit 80K over concerns about long-term reliability, although it never gave me any trouble.
    Only problem I ever had was the dashboard cracking from the sun…a common Chrysler malady.

    Had it lowered front and rear. One of the PT’s styling mistakes was a massive space between tire and body, especially in the rear. Added 17″ chrome wheels from a Turbo GT and painted those god-awful grey bumpers the same as the body color. It was fun to drive, very comfortable on long drives and, even with the sunroof, had lots of headroom for this 6′ 3″ driver.

    Drawbacks, both already mentioned: the mediocre fuel mileage which I attribute to a poor choice of high-end gear ratio, and a turning radius slightly larger than that of a school bus.

    • 0 avatar
      2ronnies1cup

      Please – “Fun to drive” – I made the mistake of hiring one for two weeks a couple of years ago. The driving experience is the automotive equivalent of eating damp cardboard.

  • avatar
    Jeep Guy

    As a family, we have owned 3 Cruisers, and we have had NO repair on any of them. Currently we have a 2003 Dream Cruiser, turbo, and a 2008 Limited, turbo…….. The gas mileage is not great, but is acceptable, and the power is good with the turbo for the weight of the car. Personally, I think it looks MUCH better than the HHR with the hood up, such as at a show. Thanks for reading……..

  • avatar
    RayH

    This car as a rental has almost killed me at 75mph going over expansion joints three times. The solid rear suspension is less sophisticated than a 1990 Plymouth Acclaims. Other than that, not too shabby.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    Wheeljack

    Among Chrysler 4-cylinder enthusiasts of any kind, the consensus is that the new “World engines” (Caliber/Compass/Patriot) should have never existed, and that they should have just updated and modernized the old “Neon engines” (PT Cruiser/Neon/Stratus).

    The old Chrysler 2.4L engines only make 5 less lb-ft (160 to 165) of torque than the new ones, and they also do it a lower RPM (Neon – 4000 RPM, World – 4400 RPM). This is all without VVT or any significant updates since 1994, when it was introduced in the Stratus. Oh, and it also much quieter than the new World Engines.

    So while the World Engines are good on fuel economy, they’re bad at the things the Neon Engines were good at, NVH and power delivery. The Neon Engines, granted, weren’t the best at fuel economy, but I’m sure that could be fixed with some VVT and direct injection.

    If it weren’t for the fact that Chrysler is probably going to dump both engines in favor of Fiat’s 4 cylinders, I’d say they should actually go back to the Neon Engine, modernize it, and go forward with that in small vehicles.

  • avatar

    The PT Cruiser was a brilliant concept, what with the short length, the high roof, the ample space inside, etc, but a C- execution. It’s pretty good from the rear, but the front is awful. Who puts Pokemon eyes on something that’s supposed to be a retromobile? Then there’s that stupid, goofy grill that doesn’t harken back to the old days, and would be an aesthetic failure no matter what the car was trying to be. Ugh. Good riddance.

  • avatar

    Jeep Guy: As a family, we have owned 3 Cruisers, and we have had NO repair on any of them.

    That’s because you replace them before they have a chance to break down. Try keeping one for ten years. (One friend had to consult with me a couple of years ago when his 03 or thereabouts needed major work to the tune of over a G. I told him to junk the thing, but he kept it becuase he couldn’t afford another car.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    A few weeks ago they were going for 50% off sticker. Pick the one you wanted.

    Had they made a factory 2-door it would have been the leader with lowest sales-loss in the Chrysler lineup.

  • avatar
    Bruce the K

    I discovered this site last year, just in time for the Motown meltdown. I’ve been an avid (daily) lurker ever since. This discussion has finally driven me to register so I can chime in.

    I bought a 2005 PT Cruiser Touring Edition (just above stripper level) after renting one at the prompting of my then 17-year-old son. He loved the looks, which I hadn’t especially cared for. The versatility, practicality, and roominess of the interior sold me, though. This thing is the Swiss Army knife of small cars. Seats are split 60/40. Folding them down along with the clever rear shelf that mounts at three different levels and the front passenger seat with the hard plastic sculpted back gives a long flat surface for toting bulky objects with the hatch closed.

    But wait, there’s more! The rear split seats also tumble forward and can each be completely removed if you really need some space.

    The interior on this thing was just very cleverly thought out. Very roomy and comfortable for 4 tall adults on very long trips. (Luggage space is a little tight though.)

    Yes, mileage is only mid-20s and yes, the turning radius is Queen Mary-esque (?) but the thing is so darn short, that really isn’t much of a problem. Parallel parking is ridiculously easy.

    Reliablility has been great to 80k+.

    Is it a car for enthusiasts? Not really. Is it a soulless appliance? Definitely not. Is it a practical, honest 5-door hatchback that has actually been popular, despite being (in reality) an orphan Plymouth? With over a million sold and counting, I have to say yes.

  • avatar

    The Fiat Panda looks like a Top Heavy POS that runs on expensive diesel fuel, with a wheel base that is so narrow you can pick it up onehanded and flip it on it’s side! Been a long time since I’ve seen anything so ugly on 4 wheels! I bet it can’t even get a crash test rating. No matter where it could get hit, it would flip over. As for being a JEEP product, good luck with one, There jeeps from WW 2 that will still around longer than a Fiat Panda… A better choice of names would be the Fiat Camel! My god look at the hump, when I first saw the picture I thought someone screwed with the aspect ratio of the picture, like a fun house mirror!

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The PT Cruiser was actually an extremely clever repackaging of Hal Sperlich’s original minivan concept as it had been presented to Henry Ford II when Sperlich was Iacocca’s subordinate at Ford. Unfortunately, although Sperlich was a brilliant designer, he wasn’t very deferent to Hank the Deuce who hated him and only allowed him to stay on at Ford because of Iacocca. In fact, it was Sperlich’s eventual firing that made it apparent to Iacocca that his days were numbered at Ford.

    Anyway, Sperlich’s original minivan idea as presented while at Ford was a lot smaller than what was eventually built at Chrysler when Iacocca and his Ford buddies moved over there and based it on the larger K-car chassis. In fact, it was originally conceived as based off the much smaller European Fiesta chassis.

    The PT Cruiser took what was essentially Sperlich’s idea of a practical (but boring) small, two-box minivan and quite cleverly disguised and jazzed it up enough so that people would buy it.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Lived with one of those for a few weeks two years ago, and can’t figure out what the bitching is about. Sure, it’s a vanilla four door sedan with a bit more than vanilla styling, and the ability to haul more than a couple of racing bicycles, plus necessary tools, etc.

    The reason enthusiasts hate the PT is that it looks like it should be a throwback. Had it been equipped with rear-wheel drive, a solid axle and a V8 (eg, the Chevy SSR), they’d love it. Of course, were it the Retro Wonderwagon they wanted, it would be priced out of affordability and not nearly as practical. What they got was a Neon wagon with interesting styling, which was worse, in their minds, than a Neon wagon that looked like, well, a Neon. It’s the disappointment that makes them hate it all the more.

    This should demonstrate that car guys do not understand the car market. The SSR sold in it’s model run less than the PT sells now.

    It’s a good car, aside from the mileage. It’s reliable (actually suprisingly so), safe (ish), practical, stylish and reasonably fun to drive. It’s also vastly better than the Caliber that came half a decade later, the HHR that is a bad copy of it (less the engine), and the Matrix (less the engine and bulletproof reliability). Normal people bought and still do buy them in reasonable numbers for these reasons.

    Disappointed greybeards need to move on.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @psarhjinian:

    I don’t remember the SSR being as loved by enthusiasts as you do. Most people in my circle were pissed that the F-body got killed just in time for GM to greenlight that expensive, bloated, 300hp, retro-truck-convertible. The LS2 upgrades helped a lot, but I think the SSR is at best going to be remembered as “fondly” as the retro-Thunderbird.

    I also don’t think that once the turbo PT Cruiser came out that anyone complained about it being slow anymore. Now upon its introduction, the Cruiser’s dearth of accelerative force was an issue, but I don’t recall any clamoring for a V8. It isn’t like Chrysler made anything but truck/SUV V8s back in 2001 anyway. I believe if Chrysler had introduced the Cruiser GT shortly after the model debuted in 2001 there never would have been performance criticisms leveled against the car. IIRC, the ’04 Cruiser GT was faster than the ’04 SSR.

    Now the Prowler, that retro-car did desperately need a V8 to back up its looks.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I don’t remember the SSR being as loved by enthusiasts as you do.

    I should clarify: the SSR followed the formula that a lot of people (who deride the PT) had wanted the PT to. That the SSR had next to no buyers and the PT has hundreds of thousands is kind of the point: it’s a cool that that’s nearly useless.**

    The PT gets much too much criticism and I can never really get a good answer as to why, other than that it’s “a dressed-up Neon” and/or “Image car”. As best as I can tell, a lot of people were expecting something different, and have never really accepted what the PT is, or gotten over their initial disappointment.

    ** expect the Challenger and Camaro to do similarly, and for the same reasons.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    @DavidHolzman : A 6-7 year old car needing a “G’s worth of repairs” should be junked?
    With all due respect
    that’s really not an indicator of anything. A timing belt replacement and additional preventive maintenance
    could easily cost a “G” on any car at that age. Including a Honda.

    What was the nature of the repair and the mileage? More details please.Otherwise it just doesn’t make a case against it. Not a flame, I am just curious as to what sort of repair it needed and at what mileage.

    It seems less an indictment of the PT than it does a willingness to spend money to maintain and/or repair.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I once read an interesting article on focus groups that compared the PT Cruiser and Pontiac Aztek. Both of those vehicles came out at approximately the same time and had similiar market demographics in that they were bold, new ‘crossover’ designs.

    However, the preliminary focus groups done on the vehicles before they were built said radically different things. Focus groups for a small crossover like the PT Cruiser indicated there was a large market for such a vehicle, while those for a more expensive, minivan-based design like the Aztek said just the opposite. However, both GM and Chrysler executives flatly ignored what the groups said. GM overestimated the market for the Aztek while Chrysler, conversely, grossly underestimated how many PT Cruisers they could sell.

    So, although the PT Cruiser was a hit, Chrysler was caught short on inventory for a long time and could have sold a whole lot more of them if they had listened to what their focus groups said and ramped up initial production accordingly. Likewise, GM overbuilt and was stuck with thousands of unsold Azteks. Many ended up unwanted in rental fleets.

    The point is, it’s extremely telling on how both companies mismanage and fail to comprehend the market. This is really the thing that allows companies like Toyota and Honda to excel. They actually trust and listen to their focus groups, meaning they can beat the domestics to market with vehicles that will actually sell.

    Of course, it should be noted that there was a severe shortage of the hot-selling Honda Fit for quite a while…

  • avatar
    Monty

    My in-laws own a 2005 PT Limited, loaded with leather and a sun-roof; it’s a phenomenal little trucklette. To date it has been bullet-proof, with no warranty or service issues. The in-laws have accumulated over 90,000 kms, and other than regularly scheduled maintenance and service have not ever had a problem with the car.

    For the exterior size of the vehicle it has a surprising amount of storage space, and can comfortable seat four passengers, or two passengers and an amazing amount of cargo.

    City mileage is quite good, but highway mileage has been disappointing.

    Whoever compared the PT to a 60’s Valiant has it absolutely correct. It may not be the utmost in driving dynamics, and fuel consumption could be better, but for it’s price there aren’t many vehicles that best it, and they’re going to last forever, especially the ’05 and earlier models.

  • avatar
    dzot

    If Chrysler had developed and refined it instead of shoveling piles of them off to fleets, it could have been…

    …ah, what’s the use anymore?

  • avatar
    mopartscrub

    2.4 turbo pt’s are kickass…and nothing breaks on them besides lower contol arm bushings. you can snatch used ones up for a great price. old styling…check

  • avatar
    whatsanobeen

    The PT Cruiser is a decent economy car but a VW Golf/Rabbit/GTI would clearly be a better buy.

    Cant wait until Fiat brings over the Panda though. That car would be best suited to take some of the market share lost from dissatified Scion xB owners.

    The Fiat Panda 4×4 would also make an awesome Jeep.

  • avatar
    mopartscrub

    clearly? hmmm.

  • avatar

    I kind of inherited my wife’s ’05 Cruiser when the second kid came and she needed the space my SUV provided. It’s not the car I would have chosen for myself, but it’s been growing on me over the past couple of years. I think of it as a really big small car. Meaning the car is pretty small, but it can do the job of a fairly big car because of the way it’s laid out. Decent leg room in the back seat and I can haul some pretty big items with the flick of the seat backs.

    I’d say the thing I like least with being associated with the car is that I have seen some terrible custom over-dose jobs out there and this car seems to be a prime target for people with no taste and a Pep-Boys gift card. The other day I saw a gold example with the fake wood sides, fake fender vents, back door-edge trim on every surface, a fake hood scoop, curb feelers, visor and a bunch of other crap slapped on it.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    The last PT Cruiser rolls off the line in Toluca today. Looking forward to TTAC’s obituary…

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