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.

FCA’s sales reports make it abundantly clear that it isn’t easy selling a prematurely discontinued car, particularly when the man who is ultimately responsible for bringing the car to fruition called its designers “dummies.”

According to Automotive News, FCA had a 117-day supply of nearly 33,000 Chrysler 200 sedans heading into May. Only 7,600 200s were sold in the United States in May 2016, a 62 percent year-over-year decline equal to 12,407 lost sales.

2016 Chrysler 200S interior

FCA clearly understands just how undesirable the Chrysler 200 really is at full price — the 200 wouldn’t be in its current position if a midsize Chrysler with a maddening nine-speed automatic transmission and awkward rear seat ingress was deemed by consumers to be desirable at a competitive price point.

That’s why manufacturer discounts on the 200 reached $4,500 last month, dropping the MSRP of a 2016 Chrysler 200 Limited from $25,485 to $20,985, including destination.

But it was under that scenario that 200 sales plunged 62 percent to only 7,600 units and Chrysler’s share of the midsize market tumbled by more than half from 8.5 percent in May 2015 to 3.8 percent in May 2016. Collectively, volume from the Chrysler 200’s midsize car challengers fell 12 percent for a daily selling rate decline of five percent in an abbreviated May. The 200’s daily selling rate slid 59 percent.

Thus, it’s time to forget the manufacturer’s advertised $4,500 discount and ring in the news of Chrysler.com’s new promotion: a $6,500 discount on the 2016 Chrysler 200 Limited. There are restrictions, naturally. The $4,500 discount is merely the 200’s price reduction, the added $2,000 is for buyers of the 200 who are trading in a non-FCA vehicle. FCA’s disclosure states that the offer is limited to 10 percent of eligible vehicles in dealer inventory, and delivery must occur by July 5, 2016.

Regardless, that $25,485 car is now an $18,985 car. Can it get any better for a car 96 percent of midsize car buyers didn’t want last month? Well, yes. Actually, it can.

* Dealer may sell for less.

[Images: FCA]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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108 Comments on “FCA Discovers It’s Very Difficult to Give Away the Chrysler 200...”


  • avatar

    As much as I love it, I’d have to choose a Malibu or a Sonata instead.

    The 200 is a class size too small.

    A V6 with nearly 300HP and AWD for less than $35,000 should have been a runaway hit, but the Italians don’t understand MURICA’ like I do.

    Always err on the side of “more”.

    More interior space.
    More power.
    More features.

    No one complains when you give them “more”.

    Except the so-called “auto enthusiasts” who never wrote a check for one or drove one on a track.

    The 200 needs to grow to be the size of the 300/Charger and the 300/Charger need to grow to the interior size of a Hyundai Genesis.

    FCA: You need to hire me.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “No one complains when you give them “more”.”

      sure they do. they complain about how big cars are getting, and how expensive they are getting.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Plus, the 200/Dart platform already is “more” – based on the stretched AND widened Alfa platform.

        “The four Fiat Chrysler vehicles’ wheelbases run from 103.7 inches (Giulietta) to 108 (the 200). Their lengths stretch from the Giulietta’s 171.3 in. to the 200 at 192.3.”

        How much “more” could the Italians offer?

        • 0 avatar

          Small people though.

          MURICANS aren’t small and never will be.

          The Dart is good for pre-teens.

          The 200 is good for teenages Muricans.

          Full Grown Muricans like me need Hellcats and Jeeps.

          • 0 avatar
            madman2k

            Hellcats and Jeeps, maybe, but I think many Americans are voting with their wallets that half-ton crew cab trucks are want they want for interior space, comfort and overall desirability.

            I’m one of them. The passenger seat in my truck is back pretty far and a small kid is not able to kick it.

            In fact, you could fit a couple strollers in the space between the back seat and front seat backs. With a bunch of stuff under the seats too. And don’t forget about the bed…

            About the 200, I have not test driven one yet but although they look good brand new and all shined up, I saw too many current-model 200’s drive past when I was sitting on a bench waiting for my wife to return from the mall and pick me up from a photography gig in a bad part of town. All of them looked neglected and buy-here-pay-here destined when the payments were to be abandoned.

            Not an image people want to be associated with, unless it’s the only new car they can get approved to buy. Even if they buy one, they are probably just looking forward to the day they can finance a used Mercedes or BMW.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The original “compact” Dodge Dart of 1963 was 196″ long with a 111″ wheelbase. The current 200 is an inch taller and has 2″ more rear legroom (however they measure it) on 3″ less wheelbase, but less rear headroom and a smaller rear door. The ’63 also had the shifter on the instrument panel – push buttons! The 200 is a better package, but has been advertised as more than it really is – a compact car by American standards. Change the name to Dart, and call the Dart a Fiat Berlina or whatever.

      • 0 avatar

        “they complain about how big cars are getting, and how expensive they are getting.”

        The only people who complain about bigger cars…in America anyway…are these so called “auto enthusiasts” and “professional reviewers” who are so quick to match up a 1990’s Accord and COMPLAIN COMPLAIN COMPLAIN that now the Civic is larger than it.

        That’s all they do is complain.

        And then they put it on a skid pad and COMPLAIN that even though their Accord-sized-Civic wears Pirelli P-zeros that it can’t pull more than .809 G on the skidpad when in reality NO ONE CARES.

        And then they COMPLAIN about gas mileage when the difference is like 2MPG from the old one to the new one.

        AND THEN they COMPLAIN that there’s no manual when fewer and fewer people were buying them.

        And then THEY COMPLAIN about the CVT…

        Ultimately putting these cars through tests that NO AVERAGE BUYER EVER WOULD.

        Treating 4-cylinder Camries like they are Aventadors.

        I understand the game. You gotta have something to say right?

        Paychecks aren’t writing themselves.

        • 0 avatar
          omer333

          I don’t know, call me crazy, but making the gear-selector a knob and putting it on the same panel as the HVAC controls is pretty stupid.

          Jaguar, who was the first automaker that I know of to use a knob as a gear-selector, had the sense to put theirs closer to the driver and not near the HVAC controls.

        • 0 avatar
          Synchromesh

          More? More of what? Useless electronic gizmos that go bad? Extra weight?

          I live in a city where having even an average-sized car is a nightmare because of parking. Here Fiats and Minis rule. My ’72 Beetle is about as big as I want my city car to be in size.

        • 0 avatar

          Sorry, a CVT is a “no buy” decision. Period. In any brand.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      I really thought it would be a hit with the spec sheet.

      I do remember, however, an article about the SRT4 compared to the HHR SS, and the line that stuck with me: “The HHR brakes consistently to a stop; the SRT4, by contrast, nearly hits everything.”

      I’ve read enough grumbles from early buyers – the weird rear camber thing that led to irregular wear seemed to be a common complaint – that, combined with Chrysler’s newfound affinity for mind-bogglingly complicated transmissions, again, on the spec sheets, a CPO Mercedes E-class would have better reliability, more power, and more panache for less money.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “I do remember, however, an article about the SRT4 compared to the HHR SS, and the line that stuck with me: “The HHR brakes consistently to a stop; the SRT4, by contrast, nearly hits everything.””

        I owned an SRT-4 for almost 10 years, and I haven’t the faintest clue what that statement is supposed to mean.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        Big Truck’s right (I hate saying that), but a car with 300hp and AWD for less than $35k should have been a sales hit.

        But, Chrysler has bern known for crap quality for a long time and that has not helped them at all.

        At the end of the day people buy Accords, Camrys, Sonatas, Civics, and Corollas because they work, and if they don’t Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai will stand by the warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I spent a week with a Sonata a month or so ago and no way would I take that over a 200. It was easily a notch or two below in quality and dynamics every way.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      BigTruckSomething
      “More interior space.
      More power.
      More features.”

      As an owner of what is technically an “executive class” vehicle I get it. Cruising down the highway with authority! Love it.

      My previous car was about the size of the 200. I get that too. My previous car was very similar to my current car, but smaller. Not as comfortable (not bad either). Less room. Nosier. Less power. Fewer G’s on a corner. Extremely nimble. I miss being nimble. I’d give the 200 a test drive.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “FCA clearly understands just how undesirable the Chrysler 200 really is at full price — the 200 wouldn’t be in its current position if a midsize Chrysler with a maddening nine-speed automatic transmission and awkward rear seat ingress was deemed by consumers to be desirable at a competitive price point.”

    when you loudly and publicly sh!t on your own products, why would you expect people to keep buying them? That stronzo in the sweater clearly knows how to *buy* car companies, but he sure as hell doesn’t seem to know how to *run* one.

    “and awkward rear seat ingress”

    this is the biggest pile of horsecrap. He would have had many opportunities to evaluate the 200 prior to its launch, so if this truly was a deal-breaker then why did he wait until it had been on market for a year before (publicly) deriding it? It’s ludicrous that this guy had any “five year plans” for Chrysler when it’s become clear he has NO long term plan at all.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I would have to agree. Though, probably researching these cars on the internet can easily come across stories of their untimely demise and if you looked a bit harder, though not much, news of FCA’s own people lambasting the product. What a horrible way to handle this.

      Shut down production, clear inventory, find a solution. Don’t slam cars that haven’t found buyers yet and no need to publicly announce that the vehicles will be discontinued until there is an actual need to do so.

      This isn’t the first time Marchione has slammed his own products. Though not developed under his watch, he slammed the Jeep Commander and Liberty in the past as well, pretty good at that as I recall.

      Should be the number one rule in manufacturing cars…make you customers fell good about their purchase…even if it was a bad decision. People can still love a car labeled as a turd by the automotive press, more difficult to do when its own manufacturer labels it a turd.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed, also.

      Sergio also slammed the Fiat 500e, whose EV drivetrain is considered the best of the ones available in the little 500. He actually asked people not to buy it, claiming FCA lost $14,000 on every one.

      I say: FCA decided to play the CAFE/compliance game, so that $14k (likely much less) is buying them something.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    Still about 3 grand too expensive.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. Even in limited trim, these don’t look like $24k cars. I took a peek at the interior, and it’s the typical FCA modularity-of-components look that just doesn’t work. Surely they can do better.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m not in the market for a car right now. I’ve never purchased a Chrysler product. A well equipped 200 is very very nice inside (base is kinda lame).

      Looking at a local car buying site, a 200 Limited can be had as low as $17K. At those prices, it’d be on my short list.

      Kinda wish they’d stuck to a six-speed though. I know the rage is for zillions of gears, but six is just fine.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    How about putting them in a single-make demolition derby series?

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    In 2014, I looked at the 200 with both the 2.5L NurseShark and 3.6L Pentastar engines. Neither engine could make up for the nasty 9 speed auto tranny, but the 2.5 was way worse.
    Aside from this the back seat was not competitive in room and access with the Accord or Camry. The MSRP could only be described as aspirational.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yes, the 2.4 is weak and rough, and that 9-speed curses everything attached to it.

      The 200 has a huge trunk, though. Some of its space should have been put to use making the back seat worthwhile.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I spent a weekend with one 2 weeks ago, including a few hours in the back seat. If 6’2″ me can sit in the back comfortably for hours at a time, that’s not the problem with the car.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          It actually IS pretty roomy (for a compact, not a mid-size), but I nearly had to crawl into it. The door size and shape is all wrong, but a function of the car’s wind tunnel approved shape.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Nurseshark”–I like it. Who names a thoroughly milquetoast mainstream 4 cylinder engine “Tigershark”?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    if you can get one for around 17 k out the door it is a decent to good car, yes there are much better cars out there but at that price point do you want a 200 or a what ever else sells for 17 k a sonic? a bad car at 25 K his a good car at 17,000

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Honestly at $17K I’d save up another $1000 and go negotiate with a Honda dealership for a Civic LX that would have almost as much interior room but have way better fuel economy and handle noticeably better. In the long run it’d probably cost less to own anyways because even at $17K that 200 is going to depreciate worse.

      The only real reason to get a Chrysler 200 is if you want some of the more esoteric features such as AWD and you don’t mind that it’s really cramped inside compared to the exterior.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    This is really going to cut in to Dodge Dart sales (eyeroll).

    I once bought a new Dodge Omni for 25% under MSRP because of rebates. Three years later, it was worth 85% less than MSRP.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    $4,500 in discounts?

    Am I in opposite-land from the rest of the country?

    $7,000 to $10,000 discounts on these, as well as $9,000 to $15,000 discounts off MSRP in more expensive, POPULAR pickup trucks (from all 3 “Big 3” makers), and 12% to 22% discounts off MSRP on many, many other vehicles are plentiful and widespread in the metro Detroit area, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more discounting ra ped up as dealer lots are legitimately stuffed to the rafters.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Remember that 1) the Detroit market IS different and 2) not everyone is going to be informed or savvy enough to get the best discounts available.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      After I solve the health care crisis (I will lower costs by 75% across the board within 5 to 7 years), I am going to arrange “Let’s Rape A Dealer Workshops & Tours,” where I will teach people the how’s and when’s of getting maximum discounts on new vehicle purchases.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Looking within 300 miles of me there are 89 Chrysler 200s with V6, heated seats, and leather. Just found a brand new 2015 MY 200 V6 AWD, MSRP $33,215 listed for $23,737.

    If I was car shopping that would be tempting.

    Which begs the question, how man YEARS will it take to sell ALL of them currently listed as NEW in dealer stock?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    If they were literally giving them away, I’d get one.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    It’s because consumers are (correctly) worried about Chrysler quality. This is not inside baseball, the public at large knows. If FCA made that a priority, their products would fare better, it’s not about the knob shifter or small rear door.

    It’s a great looking car in my opinion, if Toyota or Honda made it, they would be flying off the shelves.

    Nearly every product from the FCA family (Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep) are at the bottom of Consumer Reports quality. Jeep seems to be the only brand that consumers are willing to forgive.

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      I’ve thought they were great-looking too. The old, Sebring-based 200s were rightfully based for their awkward styling – not much you can do about rooflines and fixed ergonomic points when doing a refresh – and FCA addressed it well in the redesign. It’s a fairly elegant design in its class, almost aspirational in appearance.

      However, bang-on about the quality issues. As a Chrysler owner myself, I can give you a laundry list of issues I’ve had with mine (and they’re ongoing). The engineering seems solid, but the execution is lacking, at least in my case. And that’s unfortunate, as they stepped up materials big time in the cabins and have provided some solid engines (along with some stinkers… the stench of the 2.7 sludge issues still follows a decade later).

      Some beautifully designed cars, though. If I needed a commuter on a lease, or wanted to put a daughter in something new and under-warranty, these deals would be hard to pass by.

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      After the 2.7L engine debacle (among others) , there’s an entire generation of former Chrysler product owners who got burned by them.

      Finding out your engine has a finite life of 60,000 miles tends to rub folks the wrong way. Discovering the same firm hasn’t changed its fundamental quality issues doesn’t enhance sales figures.

      Insofar as the 200 goes, at least Sergio isn’t in “Emperors New Clothes” mode. The product compared to the competition sucks, and he realizes this enough to say the truth. Better to call a turd a turd then to embarrass your reputation saying otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “The product compared to the competition sucks, and he realizes this enough to say the truth. Better to call a turd a turd then to embarrass your reputation saying otherwise.”

        Uh, if this thing is a turd, it was conceived, designed, and launched under his watch. He doesn’t get to claim ignorance.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          When you’re at the top, it’s always someone else’s fault. That person has a better chance of keeping his/her/its job than the guy who points out the boss was involved.

          • 0 avatar
            mattwc1

            Completely agree. Instead of fixing the faults of the car (i.e replace the 9speed with the 6speed auto FCA used in the the previous gen Sebring/200). Sergio will publicly renounce the car leaving dealers to pick up the pieces. At the rebates/discounts currently and for the near future, the 200 is tempting. But my prior experience being burned by great Chrysler design marred by haphazard quality has soured me.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This is mostly it. The Chrysler car brand is weak and it’s hard to conquest loyal customers, even if the quality is good.

  • avatar

    I bought a Dodge Mirada when they first came out in 1980. The dealer still had some new 1978 models on the lot. These cars could be on the lots for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Man, those “new” pre-downsized ’78 Royal Monacos must have looked positively ancient next to the razor-blade Mirada.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep, I remember those days, whiskey.

      Not the kind of nostalgia FCA was looking for…

      • 0 avatar

        Mainly stripped down base Diplomats. About 10 or 12 of them lined up in their own row. And yes, the Mirada, compared to the Diplomats, looked like they were built on another planet.

        Unfortunately, the Mirada turned out to be the worst car I ever owned. Every morning I got in it to drive to work and found a screw that fell out of something laying in the floorboard. If there wasn’t something new in the floor, there was a bolt laying under the car. By the time I it rolled over 11k on the odometer, it rattled worse than a Model T in the Grapes of Wrath. In the summer, if you didn’t crack a window before you closed the door, a rear window would just shatter and blow glass everywhere. It did that three times before the dealer “fixed” it. That fix involved drilling holes in the trunk that gathered water when the car was driven in the rain and made things wet in the trunk.

        The final blow happened at just over 14K miles. It was a very hot August day and I had been driving the car for a couple of hours with the air conditioner maxed. It didn’t have enough fan to circulate the air very well so you were forced to max that out. The entire dash burst into flame. Dealer said the factory didn’t use a heavy enough gauge wire to the switch and the wires melted through the plastic dash firewall supports and caught them on fire. They didn’t use low amperage switches and a relay like they do nowdays. Goodbye Mirada. Once it was driveable again I drove straight to the local Ford dealer and traded it for a new ’81 Ford Mustang. Believe it or not the V8 Mirada would run circles around a ’81 4.2l V8 Mustang. Chrysler had that old 318 V8 perfected. But at least the Mustang didn’t literally fall apart.

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          Whiskey that must have been a terrible time. Years later reading about someone’s misery it seems comic but that must have been awful. The only tales I know that approach your tale is my dentist friend who bought a first year Vega with his high school grad gift money, then a reliable used Dart, next a Fiat Bravo (Fiat owners manuals used to come with a wiring diagram), then a first year Citation based on breathless buff book reviews that were in his waiting room. Years of Volvo 245 ownership followed until he bought an Avalon with the slushing 3 liter capped with a used BMW 850 that he estimated cost him more in repairs than his previous misery index combined. His favorite car was the Fiat Bravo but he has 150k on his current LS430.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I believe it. My father’s second car was an ’81 Mirada, after his ’76 Cordoba. Both had the 318, and by his admission, the Cordoba was significantly slower than the Mirada. His was pretty well put-together; it was traded off in 1990 for our first minivan.

  • avatar
    shaker

    A shame that the line workers have to suffer due to bad executive decisions – but that’s how it always is.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Absolutely – people think sloppy workers are just slapping them together, when bad fit and finish is due to poorly engineered parts. If the parts don’t fit, you must acquit.

  • avatar

    It’s arguably the best looking car it it’s class, inside and out, but it has a couple of serious flaws. I don’t understand why they didn’t stretch the wheelbase by another 4″ to bring it up to the class standards. The previous Malibu had the same issue, you think they would have figured that out before saddling the 200 with a too short 108″ wheelbase. I think they could have salvaged it by doing an “L” version like the Chinese do. Makinging the Pentastar V6 and all wheel drive standard would have given it a competitive advantage and made for a good value.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I blame the lack of length on the decision to try to adapt relatively small European platforms to the US market. The class leaders in the intermediate car segment are the ones that offer enough length for rear-facing car seats and adult passengers. In contrast to GM and FCA, Ford adapted the relatively large Mondeo to the US market and gets rewarded with higher sales numbers than it’s domestic rivals.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Not just length but width is lacking too, probably for narrower roads. Funny the 300 is just 6″ longer but its 120″ wheelbase is a whopping foot longer. But the 300 was designed for American roads, not the Appian Way.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          The 300’s front wheels are pushed more to the corners of the car. In an earlier time, a Chrysler with a 10′ wheelbase would have a good three feet of front overhang, and even more in the back.

          Since the downsizing of cars in the ’80s, no full-size car has had a full width of 78″–now all that’s left that can fit three Americans across comfortably are full-size pickups and SUVs.

  • avatar
    Testacles Megalos

    I would avoid the LX version. It does NOT have an engine dress-up cover. I checked to be sure.

  • avatar
    montecarl

    I would pull the trigger on one if I was in the market for a new car..

  • avatar
    bobman

    I have a 200 with a V6, it’s nicely equipped. I’ve had no issues with the back seat or the transmission. Maintenance-wise, it’s been fine. I’m quite happy with it.

    It’s too bad. They needed a winner after the Dart disaster.

    Hopefully, whatever they have planned for the production capacity freed up, will work out for them.

    Surely, they must have already selected the outsourced vehicles that will be replacing these. I’m betting something may come from Turkey. Perhaps the Dart replacement. No clue about the 200 replacement though.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I think they’re moving some Ram production to Sterling Heights. (Or is the Cherokee going there?)

      It’s one of the two. (Cherokee might be going to Belvedere. Whatevs — it’s all to free-up capacity at Toledo for more Wrangler production.)

  • avatar
    redapple

    I guess I m in the minority. I like the 200. I had a rental 200 in DTW a few months ago.
    700 miles on sales calls.

    Decent Stereo
    quiet – unless you thrash it.
    Decent handling.
    32 MPG.
    Class leading styling. (Could not buy a camry or accord. FUGLY. But then there are millions of twistos that dont mind ugly cars.)
    Rear Seat? Could not care less. NEVER have someone in the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess. Whereas I find the 200 ok to look at but rather plain in details (especially the front), I find the Camry and Accord both better looking, especially in SE/Sport flavors. Not crazy about the new Accord grille but the rest of the shape makes up for it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Great-looking car from 50 feet, but FCA just doesn’t understand details. Up close it looks like the cheaply built fleet special it is.

    And it’s poorly packaged for a front-drive midsize. If there’s one thing that current sales results tell us, it’s that packaging sells and the spoils will go to the maker that fits a roomier interior within a given footprint. Versa, Corolla, RAV4 — all mediocre vehicles that are very well packaged and sell very well indeed. In this segment, the packaging champs are the Accord and Camry… and, what do you know, they’re the two top sellers. With the exception of the oddball Legacy, the interior volume and sales numbers in this segment line up almost perfectly.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    I rented one of these a few weeks ago fully expecting it to be some kind of steaming pile. It really wasn’t bad. I didn’t find the 9 speed to be all that offensive, and the 2.4l did its job.

    The first time I took a 90 degree turn at speed I discovered the massive understeer. That sucked. And when I was helping my elderly parents in and out of the back seats I had to guide the tops of their heads with my hand so they wouldn’t clock themselves. Also, the IP was hard to read due to glare.

    But it is nice looking.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I think the vast majority of people who deride the 9 speed are doing so simply because they read stuff about it on the internet. I can see how- if you’re trying to drive it like a performance car- the quirks like the 4-5/5-4 dog collar shift and gearset reversal can be noticeably slow, but for god’s sake, nobody buying a 200, Cherokee, Renegade, or whatever drives like that.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    I rented one of these a month ago when i was in pacific NW. I can honestly say that it was the worst car i ever driven, except maybe the Hyundai that i briefly owned as my first car. You couldn’t see out of the thing, huge blind spots, terrible plastics inside, weird noises from suspension, transmission is as atrocious as a little knob that is supposed to control it. And car had barely 14K miles on it. There is literally nothing redeeming i can say about this lump of metal.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Funny, I drove one a while ago for a weekend, and noticed none of those things. Apart from the visibility, which isn’t any worse than most C/D segment sedans on the market today.

      I think some people just like having the opportunity to say a bunch of bad things when it’s safe to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My worst experience was in an Enterprise Dodge Avenger I had for a few days. 2.4 with 4-speed auto. Yuck!

      My hooptie of a ’78 Cutlass was better than that steaming pile.

      As to the 200, from sitting in it at the auto show, it felt good, but I never tried the back seat, and obviously never drove it.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I don’t own a 200 but I have rented one about five times and in some of those instances driven them long distances over several days.

    My experience with the 200 is that it isn’t a bad start, considering where Chrysler was with the previous 200. The basic four cylinder engine is depressingly weak and I hate the rotary gear selector but those are things that can be revised and a partial restyle can solve the rear entry issue (remember the complaints about the 2013 Malibu’s cramped rear seat; GM either fixed, or at least attempted to fix, it with the next model year)

    I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, I think I would find a way to fix it. The D segment, in spite of the rise in popularity of CUV’s, are still an important market segment.

    As for Marchionne trying to throw the designers under the train, he’s as guilty as they are. Whether he likes it or not, the buck starts and stops with the CEO in spite of the belief that all $hit rolls down hill. If there was an issue, he should have intervened; very unprofessional!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The 200 is like the hot chick you finally score as your girlfriend, only to discover her mental issues and bad breath were too much to take.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    The answer to this one is simple. The Chrysler 200 is a somewhat average sedan in a world full of excellent sedans, combined with a consumer base that is becoming more and more uninterested in sedans.

    When Billy Bob goes to the FCA dealer and test drives a 200, but then sees a Patriot/Journey for the same price (or a Renegade for a couple more bucks) and then realizes, “holy $#@^, I can actually see out of this dang CUV or whatever its called”, the 200s days are numbered…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      How about changing the front/rear clips on the Charger and calling that the 200, and calling the 200 the Dart, and calling the Dart a Fiat or Lancia? Just change the markings and you’ve got a whole new lineup.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    If it was an SUV it’d sell. But then it’d be called the Jeep Cherokee.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The 200 is a good car in this class. I’ve spent good amounts of time in nearly all of them and it’s a good drive, especially compared to the lowest of rents in the category. It’s not the product.

    You can point to all the supposed flaws, and most exist in the Cherokee. Yet it moves.

    The biggest issues for this vehicle are the economies behind the scenes, tastes/brand preferences.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I don’t think it’s the “packaging” that’s the problem, particularly the back seats. Unless you’re buying a car for use as an Uber, how many peole does back seat space really affect? Kids ride back there in my world. My parents are in their 70’s and I can count on one hand the number of times anyone used the back seats in my dad’s Buick Lucerne in the past 8 years.

    Americans may be fat, but that doesn’t require a ton of leg room. Only 20 years ago, the Camry and Accord were family cars that were smaller than Civics and Corollas are today. The 200’s back seat and trunk space are fine. I don’t imagine evolution has caused our population to grow in size that quickly.

    I also don’t think it’s the styling. At least I personally think it’s attractive. In the higher trim levels, particularly, it looks nice inside. The rental spec one I drove on a business trip also wasn’t bad. It was quiet and comfortable.

    I personally hated the blue lighting around the IP that couldn’t be dimmed, but not many people test drive cars at night.

    I might come down to their quality reputation and horrendous expected resale value. Whether that’s an unfair generalization on their new cars, I don’t know. But, if I were in the market for a new sedan I want quality and resale value right after knowing that a car satisfies my performance and styling desires. This likely places any Chrysler a few notches down on my shopping list. Then again… with those discounts a new 200 AWD V6 could cost less than a new Subaru. If only they had a wagon with a manual transmission… then we’d be talkin’. ;-)

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Not a great week in rental cars for krhodes1 this week. On Monday, I flew into ATL expecting the C-class I had reserved from Sixt. No can do, says the nice lady, we had a couple of no-returns. All they had left was a rental grade new Malibu. It SUCKED. Just as cheap and nasty as can be. And of course, I had a 300 mile round trip overnight to Alabama. Wednesday, I flew into IAD and picked up a Chrysler 200 from Hertz. Hardly God’s gift to the mid-size car world, but so much better than that Malibu it isn’t even funny. Also pretty low spec, but just so much nicer to drive and be in. Only 50 miles around the DC ‘burbs in that one though. Transmission made no particular impression, though I agree the knob is colossally stupid. It’s on the small side, but I like that. Reat seat access did look completely awful, as is the norm for swoopy-coupey sedans these days.

    I dunno, seems adequate value for the (deeply discounted) price, but of course they probably can’t make money on them at $5K off, so why bother to make them at all?

    The Malibu makes me think there is just something wrong with the General again. WTF are they thinking. The two generations ago Malibu was actually NICE! This one is just rental grade dog poo in a way that harks back to the ’90s.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I agree that the Malibu is cheap and bad. And by relative measures, the 200 is actually better by a fair amount (damming with faint praise).

      I’m rocking a newish Mercedes E350 while I look for my next car, which was going to be a 2010-20100 low mileage Mercedes C63, but they’re very scarce, so now I may buy a new BMW M2 manual gear box in same shade of blue as Bradley reviewed on here (I’m offering 47k now and will go to 48ish if need be).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You talking about the new Malibu, or the old model they still sell to fleets?

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        I sat in the new 2016 Malibu at the car show, and I was absolutely blown away by how nice it is. Much more spacious than the outgoing model. The back seat wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, Yes my head was touching the ceiling but I’m 6’5″ so I’m not going to comfortable in any sedan backseat, but it wasn’t as bad as some other other sedans. I would take the *new* Malibu any day over the 200.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Last gen.

        I haven’t sat, in let alone driven, the new Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      Shiv91

      Not interested in the new Malibu unless it gets a V6.

  • avatar
    Chan

    FCA tried to run Chrysler in the Italian way.

    Adapt some existing product and neglect to survey what the competition offers and what the market wants. Sell on style and some snake-oil features such as a nine-speed transmission or Fiat’s home brew DDCT.

    As a result, the rear cabin is too small, the rear door opening is terrible for real-life use, the transmission hunts at low speed (where cars spend most of their life).

    All this in a segment that sells on bland, functional and reliable. Not style or powertrain specs.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    Canada only gets $2500. There’s a reason they don’t sell north of the border; other than the abilities of the car. Infact the entire FCA group seems to be incentive shy in Canada on anything other than RAM 1500.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Fca must be run by idiots. Taking a compact car on a compact wheel base and adding a big trunk does not a midsize make.

    Their deserved punishment for foisting this garbage heap onto the motoring public will be bankruptcy, especially once the class action lawsuits over the knob start coming…

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The old 200 and old avenger were better cars than the new 200 and new dart.

    When God emperor trump assumes his throne. We will take back chrysler and kick the mafioso wanna be espresso swilling sweater back to ontario. Then we will build a wall to keep him there.

  • avatar
    markf

    But it is “imported from Detroit” remember? Marshal Mathers told us so!

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I did a build-and-price on the website and here’s my take: if it’s not a true midsize in terms of functionality and performance, but rather closer to a large compact like the Cruze, then it is stupidly overpriced, and the massive discounts just get it down to where it ought to be–but there are some compelling choices in the large-compact size/price class, like Civic or Cruze or Elantra, that will drive crisper, use less gas, very likely break less and almost certainly depreciate less, while offering nearly as much utility, so why go with the 200 vs one of those? And if you truly want a midsize, why buy everyone’s least favorite one, when there are stellar choices like Accord? That is, if you even think of FCA’s passcar lines to begin with, other than with a mental note to stay far away based on Uncle Ted’s awful Sebring experience.

    And pity the poor Dart, which isn’t competitive.

    FCA needs to pull a Hyundai: sell excellent product priced one size class less than its actual size, for two or more model generations, until people are convinced and willing to pay full price for them. Hard to do without Uncle Hankook’s mercantilist trade policy and a lavishly funded chaebol behind you though.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      200% agree ;)

      Like bstr, we all know what needs to happen to turn this ship around. FCA, and I emphasize the F part, must be run by idiots.

      Also, in addition to selling the 300/200 against midsizers and compacts, offer the best wanrantee in the industry.

  • avatar
    Shiv91

    I haven’t driven a 200 but my dad had one loaned to him while his car was in the shop, and he said it had a very uncomfortable ride (he’s not picky either, he’s the Malibu Base type).

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    My mother in law has one of these, and it’s spent more time at the dealership than at her house. Aside from not being in the gear it’s supposed to, she’s had engine revving at inappropriate times, and she’s basically scared to drive the car. The dealer now has some kind of monitor on the car to try and find what’s going on (and no she’s not senile; her other car is a Solstice with annoying blow off valve).
    I also had the opportunity to experience a Dart sxt or something like that for a rental, and found it woefully underpowered.

    The fact is, these cars aren’t selling simply because Chrysler put out an inferior product. That’s not something you can get away with in the internet age. If it’s not ready for the market, you don’t release it. That’s something the bean counters haven’t figured out yet.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t mind the looks of this vehicle or even that it has less interior room than other midsize cars, but I don’t trust Chrysler and don’t see any significant improvements in their quality. I have owned a Chrysler in the past and it was mediocre but for about the same price there are much better cars.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Has anyone read allpar.com’s gushing review of this thing? It’s like 25 pages of superlatives and marvel. Embarrassing! To their credit, they haven’t published a retraction or an apology so they seem to be sticking to their guns.

    I’ve had two of these as rental cars. While they’re not overly bad, my Accord is clearly more sophisticated and better engineered and put together. And that nine-speed automatic is completely annoying, from the way it shifts to that weird knob thing.

    Since it competes in the same price range as the Accord after discounts, I can see why they’re not selling. I take an Accord any day of the week over this for $20,000, which is the real world price of an Accord Sport.

    I think FCA is going to have to take them down to 15 grand before it’ll be able to really move them outside fleet and subprime sales.

  • avatar
    HeyILikemySaturnOK

    Apparently, dealers aren’t feeling too much of the heat around here because I’m not seeing any such discounts for these in my neck of the woods. Online sales prices are roughly $20k – $24k for the 4-cyl, $26k and up for the V6. $2,500 cash back incentives are advertised but that’s it.

    I love the styling of the these cars, and the interiors seem nice, but that’s about it. Too many negative reviews for me to seriously consider it as my next car, though.

  • avatar

    When I got my 2005 Saab 92x Aero, GM was offering more than $9,000 of incentives to clear the lots. The sticker on the tarted up Subaru WRX wagon was almost $33,000. After incentives and some additional whittling, I paid $20,000 for a brand new Saabaru with the performance package.
    That was a good deal.
    This is still a Chrysler 200.

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