By on August 3, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

After an attractive design, all-wheel-drive availability, a powerful V6 (and incentives) powered the Chrysler 200 to 16 consecutive months of improved U.S. sales through October 2015, demand for the midsize 200 suddenly dried up.

During that 16-month stretch between July 2014 and October 2015, sales of the 200 jumped 72 percent, an increase of more than 6,000 sales per month for the Sebring’s replacement. But between November of last year and January 2016, U.S. sales of the 200 were essentially chopped in half.

As a result, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles skipped quickly from a temporary shutdown at the 200’s Sterling Heights assembly plant, to a prolonged shutdown, to an announcement that the 200 and its Dodge Dart cousin would be gradually wound down. It wasn’t so gradual: Dart production is about to end and 200 production will be over before year’s end.

Coinciding with these sedan cancellations, FCA also mired itself in a sales fixing scandal. FCA now claims in 2011, 2014, and 2015, the company was under-reporting real total sales volume, FCA also clarified that sales through the first-half of 2016 were 7,450 units lower than the company first announced.

Though lacking specific monthly data for the early part of this year, we now know which brands and models were the key offenders with July figures in hand. No drum roll required.

Chrysler 200 sales volume in early 2016 was even lower than we thought. Indeed, no FCA model’s sales figures were more overstated than those of the Chrysler 200.

The June/first-half sales report issued by FCA on July 1, 2016 claimed a 61.5-percent drop to 40,981 sales of the Chrysler 200.

In truth, FCA’s July/seven-month sales report now makes clear that sales of the 200 totalled only 36,202 units in the first six months of 2016. Assuming accuracy from FCA’s sales reports in the first-half of 2015, this means U.S. sales of the 200 were down by fully two-thirds, tumbling 66 percent, year-over-year.FCA corrected sales by model chartThe next-worst offender on FCA’s list was another Chrysler — the Town & Country minivan. In a Pacifica-infused replacement phase now, sales of the Town & Country were actually 3,963 units lower between January and June than FCA initially claimed.

The Jeep Patriot, Jeep Cherokee, Fiat 500X, and Dodge Dart owned sales figures that FCA over-reported by an average of 1,727 units, or nearly 300 fake sales per month. Also over-reported were sales of the Alfa Romeo 4C, Fiat 500L, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Durango, Fiat 500, Dodge Challenger, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Ram pickup line.

On the other side of the ledger, there were many vehicles that produced more retail and fleet sales than FCA first thought. (This explains why the company is looking into the errors.) FCA’s latest figures show that U.S. sales of the Dodge Charger in the first-half of 2016 were 2,579 units higher than the company reported on July 1. Dodge Grand Caravan and Jeep Compass volume was under-reported by nearly as much.

In fact, a look at FCA’s corrected July figures show that January-June sales of the Charger, Grand Caravan, Compass, and Ram ProMaster were under-reported by 369 units per month, per model.

2016 Chrysler Town & Country

Of course, the Chrysler 200 takes the cake. FCA wasn’t selling 23,228 per quarter in early 2016. FCA was actually selling 20,838 Chrysler 200s per quarter.

We knew the Chrysler 200 was flopping. We didn’t know the splash created by that belly flop was this expansive.

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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73 Comments on “Now They Tell Us: Chrysler 200 Sales Were Falling Faster Than FCA First Let On...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “After an attractive design, all-wheel-drive availability, a powerful V6 (and incentives) powered the Chrysler 200 to 16 consecutive months of improved U.S. sales through October 2015, demand for the midsize 200 suddenly dried up.”

    Is that really what happened, or were they lying about the sales numbers all along?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    And you left out the word “lower” in the first sentence of the subtitle for the bar graph.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Good catch, thanks. It’s fixed.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Thanks Tim.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Tim, this is certainly significant information and I enjoy your work, but I found this particular story confusing to read. I even wondered at some points whether you meant “over-reported” when you said “under-reported.” I don’t think that’s the case, but these numbers needed more clarity and context for me to understand what they mean, beyond the general conclusion that FCA greatly exaggerated the number of 200s and Darts they were selling.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    80k a year is “flopping?”

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      In that segment, I would say it is.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It depends on the car and the automaker, too. The Mazda6 only sold 58,000 examples last year, and the Legacy was only slightly better, at 60,000 units. But those are companies that deliberately operate in a small capacity and that aren’t chasing volume. By contrast, the Passat, which *is* chasing volume and which does try to compete with market leaders, did dismally, at 78,000 units for 2015. And if the 200 only makes it to 80,000 units, that will also be a poor showing…especially when the examples Chrysler *does* sell are either directly to fleets or stacked with so many incentives that they’re unprofitable.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Are you projecting that the 200 will sell that much by the end of the year based on the 40K sales it’s had so far?

      80K a year definitely isn’t good for a volume mid-sized sedan. And like Timothy said, the sales figures are way down. The 200 put up 178,000 sales last year. No way it’ll make that volume, even if it gets a full year of production. And how much of either one of those figures was fleet sales? It seems like every second or third 200 I see is an Enterprise or Hertz car.

      But even if FCA sold a significant number of 200s, it seems the problem is that the company cannot do so profitably. The product’s shortcomings (mostly the cramped rear seat and the 9-speed), coupled with the company’s reputation for mid-sized FWD cars makes it quite a bit less desirable in a lot of consumers’ minds. And, again, those heavy fleet sales don’t help. Who really wants to drive a rental queen?

      Besides, t’s not like the 200 was all that cheap to build or develop, either; I’m sure it cost FCA a lot of money. And when FCA is forced to sell the same car for $18K that Toyota could sell for $25K…maybe it’s the right decision to get out of that segment.

  • avatar

    In a few years I’ll be shopping for an AWD-equipped *something* (probably a sedan). Is there an trim level/engine/trans combo the 200 came equipped with that was actually decent and reliable? If they’re going to be a bargain used, and if such a combo exists in this model, I might as well check them out.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I will say that the 9-speed is quite a bit better on the 3.6-liter V6 version, which can be had with AWD. And the 200’s resale value is so poor that you can basically get a superb deal on any variant. The 200 with the 3.6 and AWD is a bit harder to find, but there are tons of examples with moderate miles for under $16K, probably ex-fleet.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks, Kyree. Any evidence these things will hold up for a while?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The 3.6-liter Pentastar is a pretty new engine. It had some cylinder-head issues in its early days (2011 era), but those were rectified. Still, it’s quite a new engine, so unlike, say Toyota’s ubiquitous 2GR-FE or Ford’s venerable Duratec family, we have little data on it. Maybe look at some examples of the 2011 and later Town and Country, RAM C/V Tradesman or Caravan for longevity and see how people have fared with it in those cars, because those are probably its most taxing and high-mileage applications. I think the engine is probably okay.

        The 9-speed, which is a ZF unit, is entirely new. Honda and Land Rover use it as well, but unlike those companies, FCA build it themselves, under license, and I believe FCA made modifications to their version. I’m wary of it, frankly. And I did not care for the way it drove in my 2016 Jeep Cherokee Limited rental.

        There have also been numerous issues with Chrysler’s latest electronics architecture.

        So really, the 200 is kind of a crap-shoot, but maybe if you get it for a very low acquisition price and take care of it, it’ll work out for you. The fact that the second-generation will be a short-lived, discontinued model by the time you’re in the market for one should make it even cheaper for you. No doubt there are some seriously nice features on it.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Kyree, from what I’ve read on WK2 Grand Cherokee forums whilst researching them, the notorious misfire code and rough idle (ie cylinder head issue) is seen right up through ’14 trucks unfortunately.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          The Pentastar engine is turning out generally reliable… at least average. No major issues besides that cylinder head.

          The transmission is probably average reliability too.

          A lifetime powertrain warranty (becoming table stakes at most major used car dealers) will take care of those. Beware you must usually get the repair at the selling dealer. A more expensive but pretty damn good extended warranty is the Chrysler Maxcare program.

          More unpredictable will be the bespoke 200 pieces: powered mirrors, handles, seat mechanisms, sunroofs, etc. These were low-volume orphan parts. Data will be lacking, but replacements shouldn’t be THAT pricey. These types of parts are common used. You’ll avoid the FCA regret by knowing how to navigate an owner’s forum.

          The bargain price will be reflected in low resale. But if you’re a long term owner and the 200 fits you, orphan cars of average reliability are perfect for you.

          I wouldn’t blink at a V6 200C with all the options. Nice highway ride with a giant trunk, super-useful center console, awesome infotainment system, heated wheel, and proven powertrain. The small backseat doesn’t bug me, I only have a wife and five-year old kid.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was under the impression that children tend to grow in size, much like a well-watered house plant. I cannot be sure though, you’ll have to verify with an actual parent.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            At the rate my 2 year old is growing and acquiring language I’m waiting for the day that I say: “What are you up to?” and I get the response “About 3 feet Dad.”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That made me think of this hilarious Vine.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k50OEuelFJ0

            If I had a child, I would want him/her to be sarcastic for my enjoyment.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “No major issues besides that cylinder head.”

            Well… that’s kind of a major issue.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            PrincipalDan, my 2-year-old (who has vastly better comic timing than either me or my wife) already tells me “I want to be taller than Daddy but not wider.”

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If you want AWD, I think you’re limited to the V6 engine (good engine), but all 200s come with the terrible-driving 9-spd automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      What about a nice AWD Infiniti sedan, with VQVR 3.7L powah.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If you are willing to buy an FCA product, I’d definitely do the AWD versions of the Charger or 300 over the 200. The smaller car only gets 1 MPG better (21 vs 22), and real-world a Charger SXT AWD Rallye should be less than $1500 over a 200C AWD (although you will give up some luxury stuff I guess).

    • 0 avatar
      Davekaybsc

      What do you plan on using the AWD system for? The 200’s “AWD” mostly isn’t even there, the car is just dragging around the AWD hardware disconnected 99% of the time. It might help the car a bit getting up hills in certain situations, but if you’re expecting the all weather performance of a Subaru or Audi just because it says “AWD” on the back, you’re dreaming.

      I should note that used Fusion Titanium AWD models are also dirt cheap, and much more likely to keep working after you drive off the lot. Not that quick, but otherwise a decent enough car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Meanwhile the enthusiast hated, motoring press derided, not allowed to vote for it as a Ten Worst – Jeep Compass and Patriot keep selling like its 2007 and they’re brand new fresh faces.

    Scratch that, they’re selling better than they ever did.

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      1. Fleet sales

      2. They are some of the cheapest CUVs on the market. The avg. CUV customer doesn’t care that it’s a 10 year old platform and bottom in the segment in comfort/dynamics/features. They do care that it’s cheap but has some rub-off Jeep cachet that makes it close to respectable to their friends.

      The only part that shocks me is that they are TERRIBLE on gas vs. their competition. That is something the masses care about – at least to some extent.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Car and Driver just tested a Compass. They’re subtitle: “People still buy these.”

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          VoGo: Sounds like a review of an AMC Rambler circa 1969.

          Just checked out the review: Ohhhhhhhhhh it was a 75th Anniversary Edition!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I saw a SPECIAL EDITION (I think) Wrangler the other day. All black, black grille, black wheels with a military star on them – and all in matte paint.

            Is that a Call Of Duty edition or something?

            It was trying way too hard, and looked like it had too much expensive paint to be taken anywhere near off road.

        • 0 avatar

          Sounds about right. I wouldn’t give one to my mother, even if I had a death wish against her.

      • 0 avatar

        Driving over 68mph, the engine is constantly at 3000-3250rpm.

        I’m thinking our fleet vehicles have the 4cyl. Whatever it is, the engine wailed for twenty or thirty seconds at a time before shifting into overdrive at 70 or so.

        The only positive thing I can say about them is the LEDs in the center console cupholders.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I was in a new Lyft Patriot last week. I can see why people buy them. It’s better than a 5-year old used car, pretty roomy with good visibility. And if the price is right, well those with lower incomes need cars too.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    The 200 is not an awful car. It just has an awful company brand behind it. Without the “hemi” brand engine the Dodge and Chrysler company would be shut down.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, I don’t think that all of the brand’s products stand on the strength of the HEMI. The transverse-engined Jeeps certainly sell well without any promise of HEMI-like performance. But no doubt that most of FCA’s brands are in the toilet, Maserati included.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        Jeep seems like such a separate company in the FCA stable. They still have the quality issues of all FCA vehicles. But people don’t seem to mind a Jeep falling apart as long as it still says Jeep on its nameplate.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You just -wait- until the Alfas hit the shelves. Then Toyota will be like “Aww why u no buy Camry?”

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I like the 200 in its upper trim levels, I think it’s a handsome car. No way would I even consider the lower ones, especially the four cylinder cars. But, the 200 never left the stigma of the early 200 or Sebring behind and it never will.

    If I were shopping FCA for a sedan, I’d go for a Charger or 300. I’ve had both as rentals and I liked them a lot, especially the ’15 Charger I had with V6, RWD and the 8 speed. Thing is, I don’t *need* that much car for as little as I drive, since we have the Odyssey for family duty. And trying to fit two 200 inch cars in my garage would be daunting, especially since the LX cars are wide as well.

    But I’m also considering a Chevy SS as my “mid-life crisis car” in a few years, I’d be remiss not to consider an SRT Chrysler or Jeep too. I don’t need those either, but it seems like fun and practical, which I would need for spousal approval.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Charger and 300 scare me a lot less in terms of longevity (of course, we have one member here who has had extensive issues with a newer Charger R/T), and I like the way that they drive much better. I say I wouldn’t drive an FCA car, but a 300 in V6 or V8 would actually tick most of my boxes for a RWD luxury(ish) sedan; I just don’t want to fulfill a stereotype by buying one. So I’ve been looking at the pricier Genesis instead, or a CPO 535i or GS350.

      Either the SS or the SRT would be awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Why not go full fat on an LS :)?

        The GS isn’t a bad choice, but it doesn’t have a nice V8 option any more unless you’re in F-land, and f-that tackyness.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I don’t care for the GS-F.

          The GS450h does behave like a V8, though, and I like the way it drives.

          I kind of like the LS, but I just don’t see myself in a giant flagship sedan. But if I did get an LS, it’d have to be one of the 2007-2012 models. Something about the 2013 and later just rubs me the wrong way.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree with you! PS. Dal and 28 sez 11-12 are the ones where the poor quality control arms got fixed, so those are the ones to seek.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Or a pre-’11 that’s had the job done. The replacements are the same parts that came from the factory on the ’11+ cars.

            But the LS is a big, heavy car, and feels very much like it. I can see people preferring the size of the GS.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            For what it’s worth, the GS I had was excellent as far as ride, handling and especially braking are concerned.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Well, if you’re willing to check out a 2007-2012 LS then I don’t see any reason you couldn’t go for the GS460.

            If you can find one.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        You would also be fulfilling a stereotype if you bought a BMW.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          True. But I crossed that threshold last year, when I bought the X5.

          But, really, the stereotype would have been if I had bought an older clapped-out Bimmer, like, say, a 2002 E65 7-Series. But the one I had was only a few years old with 33K miles, and had both the BMW CPO warranty and the excellent MaxCare warranty.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My 28yo co-worker just went from a Dodge Dart lease to a new Chrysler 200S purchase. I thought he was insane but of course he thought his Dart was some sort of sports car. I bet the 3.6L in the 200S is real step-up in the power department. Considering the way he drove his Dart, we’ll see if he racks up any tickets.

    I’ll also be interested in how his new car holds up over the years.

    He’s firmly anti-Japanese/European so he wouldn’t listen to me when I suggested something from the Honda or Toyota camp.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The guy is firmly “anti-Japanese/European” and yet he just bought a Dutch-British car.

      I guess he isn’t “pro-education.”

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        +1 ‘murica

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Being “anti-Japanese/European” doesn’t necessarily mean the colleague’s FCA purchase was rooted in some weird, misinformed sense of patriotism. For better or worse, each automotive brand and its adherents connote a certain image. Perhaps the colleague finds the Japanese and European brand perceptions unappealing for whatever reason.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Your hypothesis is that someone bought first a Dodge, and then a Chrysler, for their brand appeal? OK.

          “Imported from Detroit, b1tches!”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You want some epic f*cking class? Buy a Dodge.

            8 Mile No Haterz!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yo
            His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
            There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
            He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
            Fast and furious in his Dodge Dart like Mario Andretti.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That Dart is a RALLYE so you better take that sh!t serious.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            RALLYE? Why didn’t you say so? That is one distinctive performance front fascia with projector fog lamps and those class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust with bright tips are the boss. Not to mention the accent stitching on all that premium cloth seating.

            The guy may not be a millionaire, but he shore drives like one!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I saw a bright tangerine Rallye in the parking lot at Kroger, and I laughed and sent my brother a pic of it while simultaneously feeling embarrassed for the owner.

          • 0 avatar
            MLS

            Though much derided in these parts, Dodge and Chrysler have their fans. All I’m saying is, there was no indication in dividebytube’s post that the FCA purchase was rooted in patriotism.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Great point, MLS,
            There was nothing in the original post to indicate that the purchase was rooted in patriotism, except for the key statement that: “He’s firmly anti-Japanese/European so he wouldn’t listen to me when I suggested something from the Honda or Toyota camp.”

          • 0 avatar
            MLS

            I interpreted that statement to mean the colleague dislikes Japanese and European cars, a position that needn’t necessarily be related to patriotism. We don’t even know colleague’s nationality and are just assuming he’s ‘murican.

    • 0 avatar
      krohde

      Good thing his purchase didn’t send profits back to a European country then. Oh wait, Italy’s in Europe…

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    “FCA wasn’t selling 23,228 per quarter in early 2016. FCA was actually selling 20,838 Chrysler 200s per quarter.
    We knew the Chrysler 200 was flopping. We didn’t know the splash created by that belly flop was this expansive.”

    OK the details were wrong but it doesn’t seem to me that an 11% error makes all that much difference here….

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    It’s a real shame. OK, the lower trims are shite. But I would get the 200S with the V6 over pretty much all of the competition’s top trims. I say pretty much but I can’t think of another 2.0T/V6 midsizer I would rather get. The 2.0T cars are slow AF…. no faster than an Accord Sport with the NA 2.4. And the few V6 cars left- Accord, Camry, Altima, Legacy?- are boring AF. 200S looks good in and out and is a 13 second car with mild bolt ons.

    If anyone else had built this car it would have done fine. Other manufacturers are selling more cars with the same (or worse) problems.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m willing to bet that an Accord V6 or Altima V6, and probably the Camry too, would bury a 200 V6 from a standstill or in a highway pull.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Well yeah, by the time the 200 picked a gear the competition would be over.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I doubt it. 200 has more HP and more gears. Transmission only seems to get confused at part throttle…no confusion at WOT. Only threat is the Altima with its CVT.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Solution to the 200s transmission “logic”. Treat the accelerator like an ON/OFF switch. NEVER WORRY ABOUT HESITATION AGAIN!

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Well, Car and Driver has tested both the V6 Camry and V6 AWD 200. They were close, but the only metrics in which the 200 was ahead were 0-30 and 30-50, by one-tenth of a second each. The Camry is a half second faster 50-70mph. It’s 3 seconds faster to 120, which is crucially important for this segment!

          Maybe AWD helps the launch but saps power a bit at speed. The 200 also weighs over 300 pounds more.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          It’s closer than I thought with the AWD Chrysler getting the jump 0-30, but then I think mechanical drag and higher curb weight takes its toll at higher speeds. The Accord and Altima are trapping at higher speeds (100mph for the Altima to the 200’s 96.6mph), which translates to them starting to walk away from the 200 at a pretty decent clip. But I’m impressed at how well the Chrysler keeps up until that point.

          I was always of the opinion that I never needed more than 4 cylinders in a commuter, but having driven my beater Maxima around for the last month or so, I’ve turned that opinion on its head. I’ll gladly take the MPG hit (I say that now while gas is $2.01 a gallon locally this morning), for the effortless thrust and being able to always make it into that hole in traffic thought excess drama or second guessing. The turbine smoothness with which said acceleration happens is much welcomed as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Legacy has a flat-six (H6), like a Porsche.

  • avatar

    My nurses have three Compasses as fleet vehicles to dispense medications to homebound patients. I drove one to the next city before and was non-stop griping about the seats, shifter, and overall lack of quality.

    But hey, isn’t it like the cheapest JEEP?

  • avatar
    bd2

    When sales of the 200 were flying high for the 1st half of 2015 – some of that was due to buyers coming over from the canceled Dodge Avenger and some of it was massive fleet sales (reported to be around 50% to fleet).

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