By on January 26, 2017

2016 Chrysler 200 - Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. dealers entered 2017 with more than six-months’ worth of Chrysler 200 supply, according to Automotive News.

That’s enough inventory for America’s latest discontinued midsize sedan, production of which ended eight weeks ago, to linger well into summer, assuming demand remains on an even keel.

Of course, demand for the Chrysler 200 has not flatlined, but rather continues to shrink. This means 200s built in the fourth-quarter of 2016 — or earlier — may well be readily available at a Chrysler dealer near you, not just this summer, but even toward the end of 2017.

You therefore have plenty of time to decide whether you want to take the plunge into a world of defunct nameplates. Based on recent results, it appears that more than 98 percent of midsize sedan buyers don’t.

As recently as the middle of 2015, sales of the Chrysler 200 appeared healthy. In May 2015, for instance, FCA reported its best-ever month of Chrysler 200 sales.

But by the end of 2015, and particularly in 2016, FCA withdrew some of the heavy incentivization it that had powered the 200 to such heights. With 200 sales cratering — first-quarter volume tumbled by nearly two-thirds in 2016, year-over-year — a plant shutdown in Sterling Heights, Michigan, turned into the official declaration that the 200, like its Dodge Dart corporate partner, would be sent to the scrap heap.

But it’s going to take forever to get there.

The 200’s already tarnished name, indelibly linked to its Sebring predecessor, was certainly not helped when FCA boss Sergio Marchionne threw his own employees under the bus, calling those responsible for its design “dummies.” Meanwhile, workers responsible for building the 200 in Sterling Heights were tasked with maintaining morale for nearly a year after their boss had harshly criticized the product.

Combined with an easy-to-criticize nine-speed transmission, a reputation for poor reliability, dreadful Consumer Reports verdicts, and none of the built-in loyalty that helps to spur demand for segment leaders such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, FCA’s decision to kill off the automaker’s lone remaining midsize car stifled demand.

Third-quarter sales in 2016 were 44-percent lower than second-quarter volume. Fourth-quarter sales slid 35 percent from third-quarter levels.

Expect a further slowdown despite the high degree of excess supply.

As demand continues to drop, Cars.com and Autotrader.com list around 14,000 Chrysler 200s in their inventories. 17 percent of 200s displayed at the former car shopping website are V6-engined; six-percent are all-wheel-drive cars. Inventory is fairly evenly divided between 2016 and 2017 models.

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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65 Comments on “Want A New Chrysler 200? It’s Dead, But There’s Surely No Shortage of Supply...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    BOGO?

  • avatar
    e30gator

    This might be an attractive alternative to someone in the market for a used Rio.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I would maybe consider a 2017 full load 200 Limited with all options for 20K CAN$ out the door. Anything more would be like piling cash on the lawn and dropping a stump grinder on it.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I test drove an AWD 200S last year. It was fine, but felt super heavy knowing it had nearly 300hp on tap. It wasn’t exactly slow, but I was disappointed with the response when I put my foot into it.

    I’d probably be perfectly happy with it for a while, but I just can’t convince myself that I would want to spend my own money on one.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Ive noticed that responsiveness and “sense of speed” is an issue with a lot of modern vehicles.

      I don’t know if it’s weight or computers or emissions or transmission programming or what but to get the *feeling* of a 250hp car circa 1995 you need like 360hp today.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Transmission and engine tuning plays a big role in it. They are nowadays tuned to maximize mpgs, hence the more sluggish response.

        Also cars are much quieter, more stable at higher speeds, and better built now, lessening the “sense of speed.” It is amazing how much things like sound and smoothness can alter your perception of speed.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Exactly. My mom was riding in my 1995 a few months ago, and she said “you gotta slow down!”

          Mom, I’m only doing 50 in a 55 (wasn’t in a hurry and there were lots of s curves so I saw no reason to drive balls-out).

          “It feels like we are flying!”

          Yeah, after driving your much heavier and quieter car, I’m sure it does.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    I wonder how hard the dealers are pushing on them…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      That’s an interesting question…but if the Dodge Dart is any example, they’d rather not even admit the thing exists. A few months ago, I bought a new car and tried out a Dart on a whim. The salesman actually lied and said he didn’t have any Darts at all, and asked why I wouldn’t want a truck instead. I don’t think there is ANY love for this car or the Dart on any FCA lot, unless it’s used.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Out here in flyover country I’d say they’re pushing them pretty hard. I see a lot of them on the roads. Certainly many more than Ford Fusions or Chevy Malibus.

      OTOH, they are no where near as popular as Toyota Camrys.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My young co-worked bought a 2016 200S AWD with the V6. After 6 or so months of ownership, he reports an alarming clunk when going into reverse.

    Not a car I would buy – but it’s not bad looking. It’s the backseat room that’s the real deal killer for me.

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      I really do like the styling language on these, they have a look of the upscale to the uninitiated.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        FCA is great at making their cars look premium. Hint: it is all in the lighting, both exterior and interior. Ford/Honda/Koreans(at higher trims) are also good at this, GM/Toyota less so but slowly getting better. Too bad the build quality often doesn’t match the inital perception.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m still seriously considering these. A barely used ’15 V6 S is like $13-15K. Just piling my pennies.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      Not a bad idea if you’re just looking for a bargain on a slightly used car. My wife and I did it in 2010 when we bought a recently discontinued ’09 Saturn Aura XR for $13.5 out the door. The original window sticker was almost double that the year before. This was when the nearly identical Malibus of the same vintage/mileage were selling for $3-6k more. It’s still plugging along without a single issue in our 7 years of ownership.

      The value of used 200s is going to continue to tank, but it doesn’t really matter if you’re going to keep it long term. I think even the 200s should make it to their 10th birthday if taken care of.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        e30gator – we almost did the exact same thing in 2011 when my wife needed a new commuter car. We looked at a loaded, low mileage 2009 or 10 (I forget which) 4-cylinder Aura for something crazy low, like, $17k. She wanted new, though, so we ended up with a base model 2011 Camry instead. Yawn. I still wish we’d gotten the Aura, it was a beautiful car and such a friggin’ deal…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Sporty…the only way I’d buy one of these is new, and I’d lease it. I’m sure the reliability would be OK for three years / 45,000 miles or so (what isn’t these days?), and after that the depreciation and future reliability are Sergio Marchionne’s problem. I’d take a flyer on that. But that’s out of the question, because the residuals on these are so bad that leasing makes no sense.

      And used? Yeah, it’s a great deal because of the depreciation (hence, the awful residuals), but I’d still shy away. If you pay cash, then you’re using cash to buy something that depreciates spectacularly. If you finance, then you’re in the hole immediately. And either way, Lord only knows what this car is like reliability-wise, long term. This doesn’t strike me as a car you’d want to keep for 10 years and drive the wheels off of.

      I’d pass, personally. It’s a shame…it’s a pretty decent car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is the vibe I get from them: We can rebuild him, we have the technology.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The powertrain warranty goes for 5 years and the rest of the warranty is good for 3. Extending that could be worth it, but honestly I doubt I’d be in this thing longer than 3 years anyway.

        Plus bad depreciation is really relative. As a % of the car’s value, oh yea, it’s gonna be brutal. But a 1-2 year old Camcord V6 will cost about $8-12K more. Hell, looking on Carguru it looks like an Accord V6 loses ~7-8K from depreciation in the first year alone. So the actual numbers may still work in the 200’s favor. It’s a huge effing gamble- I’m not long on FCA’s future TBH- but it’s a lot of car for the $$$$. I feel like I would sleep better at night with something else though.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    My coworker has one too. The back seat room isn’t so bad, but getting in the back seat is almost impossible. But it is a size smaller than a Camcord or Sonata.

  • avatar
    Raevox

    Maybe there isn’t truly such a thing as “a brand-new, terrible car, at any price”. Because styling aside, you couldn’t get me into a fully loaded 200 for $10k, much less 15 or 20.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    I imagine one of these coming off lease, with the V6 and AWD, would make for a deal on a commuter vehicle. Just don’t keep it much past the powertrain warranty.

  • avatar
    pdieten

    It’s not that I don’t appreciate the opportunity to get a great deal on a car (and locally, the prices for low-mileage certified used 200s are crazy low) but I don’t know that I can invest any money in a car knowing it’s a crapshoot as to whether I’d get reliable service out of it. I’m not enough of a gambler to make the money odds worth the trouble.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I was at a Chrysler dealer on Sunday checking out the Pacifica van, and they have four or five of these…and they’re ***2015*** models, brand new, with the window stickers still in ’em.

    Amazing how badly this car bombed.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Not amazing at all. In contrast to the image-driven Jeep buyer, in contrast to the testosterone-fueled RAM/Cummins buyer – both of who are after emotional gratification – the midsize-sedan buyer is shopping for VALUE.

      Fiat is not a trusted name. Memories last a long time, and reports on the reliability of American-built Fiat products, so far, are confirming buyers’ suspicions. The car is unremarkable in its package; its reliability is suspect; the foreign owners of Chrysler have a 70-year history of building flimsy, shoddy cars.

      For just a few dollars more, down the street, a Camry awaits.

      Sergio is going to have to start lobbying harder for another merger, buyout or bailout.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Easier to just drop Chrysler, and maybe Dodge too. Let Jeep and RAM generate profits for a while, and later on take another crack at doing FIAT here, or resurrect Plymouth or Eagle.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        +1, JPT.

        I think the central problem with the 200 was the marketing strategy. FCA just pumped out hundreds of thousands of them out, right from day one. And the story isn’t quite correct about why they sold up front – yes, they were incentivized, but look at the thousands of ’15s and ’16s floating around Cars.com as used – they are ALL ex-rentals. FCA pumped a huge percentage of production right onto the lot at Avis. That did nothing to establish the nameplate as anything else but a rental queen, and when you’re trying to sell against something like an Accord, that ain’t gonna work.

        FCA sacrificed the long term success of the vehicle for a (very short term) sales “success story”.

        And it’s impossible to sell new ones when used models with 20,000 miles are sitting a couple hundred feet away on the used lot for $10-$15,000 less than a new one. Well, no wonder they couldn’t sell new ones starting in 2016 – that’s when the tens of thousands of ones that got sold to the rental agencies all hit the used lots.

        Just incredibly dumb product decisions here…which is too bad, because the product itself isn’t nearly as bad as the sales figures would suggest.

        FCA better hope that Jeeps and Rams keep selling.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        If value was the driver of these purchases, nobody would buy new, and people would be all over these half price midsizers.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      “…and they’re ***2015*** models, brand new, with the window stickers still in ’em.”

      Got to love the deals on ultra-leftovers. A family I know got a colossal discount on a Beetle convertible this way. The wife & mother was re-entering the workforce, and they decided to get something fun for her commute. They found a new 2013 that was still unsold as the 2015s were beginning to hit the lots.

      In keeping with the negative VW stereotype, the passenger-side window motor failed within the first eight weeks of ownership. That was fixed under warranty, and apart from that it’s been right as rain. They’ve enjoyed it.

      Model vs model ordinal rankings do matter, but they’re only part of the equation. What may not work for me may still be the right choice for someone based on price, how his or her body feels in the driver seat, and dealership experience.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    If you can get a great deal why not tack on an extended warranty that includes a loaner?

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Depending on who writes it, an Extended Warranty is just another number-bumper-upper…and then a generation of REALLY CREATIVE excuses when the time comes to collect on a claim.

      For those who aren’t amused, there’s hours of court filings and lawyer-solicitations ahead. While the Fiatsler sits immobile outside, sucking the essence out of savings and checking accounts.

      That may be acceptable to a BRAND buyer, like the bro-dozer jockeys who get so aroused by CUMMINS badges. Not so, as I said, with a midsize-sedan buyer. The latter, wants no drama.

      This kind of situation, is why God gave us Enterprise. Expect to see the Dart and 200 as the Weekend Special™ loss-leader.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Warranty performance is one of the reasons why Toyota rates so well, and VW so poorly.

      Back when I used to do work with dealers, the case was that Toyota (and Honda, and for a bit, Ford and GM-via-Saturn) were very generous when it came to giving dealers approval and compensation for warranty work. VW and the other Europeans were at the other side of the scale: they would deny claims, nickel-and-time on parts and/or would only approve very small amounts of labour.

      The result was that dealers would pass the results onto the customer. European dealers would only reluctantly take warranty work because it was very likely they’d lose out doing so, whereas Toyota dealers tended to have a lot of OEM goodwill.

      I cannot imagine FCA, at this juncture, would be being generous with warranty work.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Why not just dump these all on somebody like CarMax, and let them get rid of them?

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Hummm…
      Terrible car, terrible dealer. Brilliant!

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        As long as it’s out of the pipeline…doesn’t matter to Fiatsler.

        That actually sounds like a good idea; and one they should explore. Get an understanding with the dealers – that new cars that no dealer wants, that remain after the model-year changeover, can be sold to outlets like CarMax outside of the franchise, without any contract penalty. Offer a special direct warranty program…sure, it would cost more to FCA.

        In theory. In reality FCA probably won’t be around long enough for the cost to rack up.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I still think it’s one of the best looking cars for that particular segment.

    But I have a feeling no matter how cheap you get one now, you’ll regret it when it comes time to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      But maybe a good deal if you intend to drive it ’til it drops. Assuming it’s reliable in the long run; or, it doesn’t get totaled in an accident, and you end up not getting enough of a settlement to pay it off.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Long term reliability is a big assumption, duke. You’d have to keep this car for probably 10 years for it to make sense. There are definitely cars I’d keep for 10 years, but a 200 isn’t one of them.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          So I keep hearing folks are picking them up for 13-15 (I assume I4 FWD), which says to me they are really worth 10-12. So roughly $1,000 cost per year amortization with maybe a small percentage back in sale/trade after 10 years (say 10% of purchase price)?

          A lease may make more sense mathematically.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            Yea, if I was in the market for a new, cheap car I’d rather just lease something like a discounted Jetta and just keep renewing and have the factory warranty take care of all the repairs.

            I’d bet dollars and donuts you’d come out ahead money wise than keeping a 200 on the road for 10 years.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @whitworth:

            I’m doing just that, so I salute your obvious genius.

            @28:
            A lease is the ONLY way I’d buy a 200, but the residuals on them are so bad that the numbers likely won’t work. And the only way to get them cheap enough new to get people to buy them is probably some massive rebate, which FCA obviously isn’t going to do. They really painted themselves into a corner with this car, and the Dart.

  • avatar

    I think I might be afraid to buy anything from any manufacturer where the employees know they are about to be laid off

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I wanted to like these but between the mishmash styling, tons of electronics and the troubles with the nine speed, I favor the JS-platform 200.

    It’s a sad fact for them to have only two models left. Chrysler should have a lot more in its stable. There’s opportunity. Not everyone wants a vehicle that looks like an angry predator or a vehicle that looks like a bloated economy car from Korea, nor does everyone want a rolling supercomputer or undersized engines that are overstressed in the name of “impressive” fuel economy.

    Who cares about Fiat and Alfa Romeo? I sure as hell don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Most people in the US don’t. Here’s the problem: most people outside the US think the same thing in reverse: they don’t give a damn about Chrysler and Dodge, the brands they’re familiar with are FIAT and Alfa Romeo. So FCA has to build two of the brands up somewhere before merging or eliminating them.

      Incidentally, everyone knows and loves Jeep. That’s why Jeep’s getting so much love and attention from FCA.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Not everyone wants those cars, but it’s pretty apparent NOBODY wants a Chrysler 200.

      It’s a shame, because I think FCA really did put its best foot forward. The car is competitive and really good looking. But if nothing else the death of this thing is a textbook demonstration of the power of branding. Chrysler squandered away its brand equity with a good ~2 decades of garbage in the mainstream car arena (with some very rare exceptions), and by the time they got their act together nobody cared.

      I would blame their union obligations, but GM has been able to manage with the same albatross. The really scary part is if FCA goes under I don’t see this administration swooping in to save them…. though that might be the medicine it needs.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Mr Cain: Can you do a piece on Mazda withholding shipments of 2017 soft-top MX-5 Miatas? ’16s are sitting on lots, and ’17s are not available.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Unrelated topic on the bizarro world of FCA: you can buy a Jeep Renegade with no A/C.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I had thought that it was a law of nature that two things cannot occupy the same niche. So I don’t understand how a Renegade with no A/C can exist in the universe at the same time as Gitmo.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I will not, no matter how low the price, buy something with that 9 speed automatic. I have a neighbor with a Cherokee and a coworker with a 200 and both had their cars just die on them while driving down the road. Lost all power completely with no warning. In both cases Chrysler/Jeep had their cars for a month. I’ve heard it is quite common.

    • 0 avatar
      Click REPLY to reload page

      Too bad they didn’t come with manual transmissions.
      If automakers can’t make cars with decent transmissions, how can we possibly trust them to make cars that drive themselves?

  • avatar
    geo

    Maybe they should have called it Valient.

  • avatar
    gkhize

    My son needs a new car and doesn’t have a lot of money to spend and I thought maybe one of these would be an option if you could get it cheap enough. Unfortunately, I think it would end up like the proverbial boat; its best days were the day you bought it and the day you got rid of it.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      gkhize,

      Have your son head over to your nearest Honda dealership and test drive the naturally aspirated Civic. There was an issue early on (now corrected) with retaining rings, I am sure you heard about it? I know 2 people using them for Uber and both have high mileage and the cars have been incredibly durable. Oil changes & tire rotations only.

      Manual transmission is avalaible and the K20C engine is multi-port injected.

      My BIL had a 200 and I absolutely loved it, I never felt a mis-shift the few times I drove it. He now drives a 2.4 Accord, misses the Pentastar’s power, but prefers Honda’s CVT.

      I could not justify spending $15k on a car whose engine may lose a valve seat or several and may endanger your son’s life by unexpectingly shifting into neutral.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Wasn’t just the “heavy incentivization” that made the 200 appear to be selling well in 2015; was also the massive amount of rental fleet sales.

    Despite being a new model, nearly 50% of 200 sales for the 1st half of 2015 was to fleet.

  • avatar

    It will be remembered as one of the best looking mid-sized cars of its era. I can see why its front end was used for the Pacifica.

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