QOTD: What Should Replace the Chrysler 200?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

You read it here this morning, but perhaps a friend already texted you the bad news. Maybe a few Facebook acquaintances or Twitter followers changed their avatar to reflect the loss.

Yes, the Chrysler 200, formerly the Chrysler Sebring, has shuffled off its mortal coil, leaving behind only memories and a hefty inventory of unsold models.

As TTAC’s Timothy Cain said in his heartfelt obituary, the 200’s passing is more than just the loss of a slow-selling model — it’s the death of FCA’s midsize car portfolio. Formerly numbering one (after the death of the barely facelifted Dodge Avenger), the warehouse’s tenant list now registers zero occupants.

Think back to any previous decade. Back then, could you picture a day when the Chrysler stable contained just two models? That’s where we’re at: an aging rear-wheel-drive sedan and a minivan are the only things keeping Chrysler from joining Plymouth, Eagle, and DeSoto in the cold, cold ground.

Chrysler needs a lower-rung model, and the 200 — for all of its improvement in appearance and interior furnishings — wasn’t it. Maybe it was the bad taste in consumers’ mouths left over from the Sebring, the lack of name recognition, the poltergeist-plagued nine-speed automatic, or the cramped rear quarters. Either way, so very few takers. Sad!

The question now is: what does FCA do? After getting burned by the buying public, does it spend precious cash rekindling the same fire at the risk of having fickle consumers snuff it out again? Does it plead and beg another automaker to step up and offer one of its own for a badge-engineered placeholder? (So far, that strategy hasn’t worked, at least not for the departed Dodge Dart.)

Does Chrysler, or FCA for that matter, need a midsize sedan? It’s a shrinking segment, but Ford and Toyota and Chevrolet and Honda still feel there’s a need. Those automakers and others haven’t thrown in the towel, turned off the money taps and said so long to the segment. Can FCA do better, or is FCA better off having Jeep carry the family-hauling weight?

We’re turning this dilemma over to you, Best and Brightest. If you found yourself in Sergio Marchionne’s sweater, what would you do with the gap left by the Chrysler 200?

[Image: Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Daniel J Daniel J on Dec 06, 2016

    sarcasm They need a wagon. They have no wagon, so I won't even consider them. And it has to be AWD, V6, and stick. /sarcasm.

  • Billchrests Billchrests on Dec 06, 2016

    Chrysler should save precious development money for more profitable products. If dealers have to have a mid-size sedan, get something rebadge by Mitsibushi. Focus on Trucks and Jeeps.

  • Carson D I hadn't seen a second-generation Courier with a Mazda engine before. I've seen a few with Ford engines. There was one at the Cox Driving Range that they used to collect golf balls. Golf would definitely be more entertaining to watch if they used moving targets.
  • Tassos ooops, Tim, you missed this one. Would make a lovely "Tim's used car of the day". It satisfies all the prerequisites except the wildly overpriced bit.
  • Tassos ASTON AND BOND BY A MILE. While Aston Martin sells a TINY FRACTION of what even the rarified Ferrari and Lambo sell, it is unbelievably well known. Credit the idiotic, but hugely successful and sometimes entertaining James Bond Movies.
  • Tassos 1988? Too young for me. It's all yours, Tim... BAHAHAHAHA!
  • Gray Awesome. Love these. But, if I had the money for a Fox-body, there is a clean '84 GT 350 here for little more than half the price.