Plant Shutdown Extended as Chrysler 200 Continues to Be Unpopular

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Daviel Daviel on Mar 08, 2016

    Didn't TTAC and other journalists like the new 200?

  • Akear Akear on Mar 09, 2016

    Last year Chrysler sold 265,000 200s making it the best selling Chrysler sedan in 20 years. For some reason Sergio is orchestrating the 200 demise by stating it will be cancelled in the near future. If any company can't make money selling 265,000 vehicles a year than that company is not functioning properly. The guy at autoextremist is right Sergio is a fool. The 200 is still the face of Chrysler since the new Pacifica has the same grill design.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Mar 10, 2016

      @bd2 Very rarely do I see a 200 that's not rental white, or with a little green "e" and bar code on it.

  • Akear Toyota wins once again, while GM has egg on its face.
  • Slavuta Why America needs school buses altogether? When I was in school, I rode on a regular city bus
  • Jeff Buy whatever works for you if you own an EV and are happy with it good, if you buy a hybrid or plug in hybrid and it works for you good, if neither and you like your ICE the way it is that is also good. I believe over time EVs will get better and have a larger segment of the market.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Is New Jersey better than Old Jersey?
  • Tassos Jong-iL Looking forward to buying 2 of these with all of those Rubles we have been earning lately.