Plant Shutdown Extended as Chrysler 200 Continues to Be Unpopular
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]
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