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Old 01-28-2016, 10:28 AM   #1
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Dodge Dart production to end

Looks like the Focus is going to lose some of its competition.
Quote:
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said today that the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans will eventually be discontinued as the automaker refocuses its efforts on the production of its popular Jeep SUVs, Ram pickups and boosting its electric vehicle lineup.

Marchionne said the strategy is a response to market trends in the U.S. that include gas prices that have dropped to about $2 per gallon and a shift in buying patterns among Americans back to crossovers and trucks instead of cars.

The strategy also is designed to help the automaker boost production capacity for Ram and Jeep and suggests that the company will move the production of some of those models to other plants. Currently, the company cannot make enough Jeep Cherokees and Jeep Wranglers to meet demand and also struggles to make enough Ram pickups.

"We have decided to de-focus, from the manufacturing standpoint, to de-focus on the passenger car market. There are two cars in particular, the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, which will run their course," Marchionne said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday. "Without creating additional capacity, in the United States, we need to ... to try and deal with the development of both Jeep and the Ram brand."

The news is stunning, given the investments made to develop the Dart and the Chrysler 200. The automaker invested more than $1 billion to overhaul its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build an all-new Chrysler 200 midsize sedan that launched in 2014 and spent $600 million to launch the Dart compact car in 2012. To be fair, many of the improvements made at both plants help the automaker build any vehicle.

The Dart failed to meet sales expectations. It is among the larger compact cars on the market and is priced higher than competitors. Just over 87,000 were sold last year. The Chrysler 200 has been praised for its exterior styling and is viewed as a competitive car in its segment but has cramped rear seats.

Marchionne hinted that the Dart and Chrysler 200 could return to the market if FCA found another manufacturer willing to build the cars.

2016 Chrysler 200 C
2016 Chrysler 200 C (Photo: A.J. Mueller FCA US)
"There will be a number of things that will be put in place in the next 18 months -- things that have been agreed and detailed, that will effectively withdraw the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart from the marketplace, for a long period of time, during which we will be continuing discussions with potential partners," Marchionne said.

The automaker now is aiming to sell more than 2 million Jeeps globally by 2018, an increase from its prior target of 1.9 million annual sales. FCA sold more than 1.2 million Jeep SUVs globally in 2015 -- the most in the history of the brand.

While the strategy will help FCA find additional capacity for its most popular vehicles, it also positions the company as largely a manufacturer of trucks and SUVs. Removing small cars from the lineup leaves FCA vulnerable to gas price increases in the future.

Marchionne said decisions have been made to help the company achieve the production capacity it needs for Ram and Jeep. A number of plans will be put in place over the next 18 months, but he but did not outline those plans.

The Chrysler 200 is made in Sterling Heights and the Dodge Dart is made in Belvidere, Ill. The Free Press, along with a number of other publications, have previously reported that the automaker plans to move production of its Ram pickup to Sterling Heights and move its Jeep Cherokee to Belvidere, Ill. It also is expected that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer will be built at Warren Truck.

2016 Dodge Dart Blacktop
2016 Dodge Dart Blacktop (Photo: Douglas Schaible, FCA)
Marchionne did not confirm any of those moves today.

The automaker has said it will launch its next-generation Jeep Wrangler in 2017, and will make the Wrangler in Toledo in the plant where the Cherokee is currently made. The company has not said what vehicle it will produce in plant in Toledo where the Wrangler is currently made.

I think the important thing for us to reinforce is the fact that the Wrangler, in its new home in Toledo, will have additional production capacity available to try and meet demand on a global scale, and I think its important for us to have found a home for the Grand Wagoneer family, both the Grand Wagoneer and the Wagoneer in whatever shape they come," Marchionne said.

There are also plans to add diesel and hybrid electric versions of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler when it goes on sale by 2018. The company also plans to offer "next-generation powertrains" on its next Ram pickup and produce a mild hybrid version of its Ram pickup.
Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 to go away under new FCA plan


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Old 01-28-2016, 10:35 AM   #2
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The Chrysler 200 is too bloody expensive. That's why no one is buying it.

I considered it when I got my Focus but by the time I optioned it half decently the payment would have been obnoxious.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:41 AM   #3
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I just don't get this, Where are the engineers that were running Chrysler back in the '60's/ '70's? Fiat of all ppl dealing w/ small vehicles can't come out w/ anything? No srt4? I really figured they'd come out w/ a srt4 soon after the regular Dart came out. So no more small/ mid size cars for them, wow? Bring back the engineers that were running it, vs all the top tier management. Their running it into the ground, least they still have Jeep/Ram & for a short time the LX platform cars.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:53 AM   #4
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Poor management, low quality, and crap pricing. I really enjoy the styling on both vehicles but I am sadly not surprised to see more Chrysler/Fiat products failing to sell well.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by felixthecat View Post
I just don't get this, Where are the engineers that were running Chrysler back in the '60's/ '70's?
They're dead or in retirement homes. They'd be like, 100 years old.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:06 PM   #6
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Anyone who thinks that low gas prices are permanent is in for a shock. I am enjoying them while they last, but I am not nave enough to believe they will stay this way.
To change an entire marketing strategy based on an extremely volatile market, to me, is short sighted.
Sure they can make more of what is wanted but once or if oil and gas prices rise, then we will have tons of vehicles that no one will need.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:08 PM   #7
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Oh they have a plan for that. They'll crank out more of those retarded looking pseudoJeeps.

I think they call it the Renegade.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:40 PM   #8
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They're dead or in retirement homes. They'd be like, 100 years old.
Yea, IK its just wow, I really don't know what to say, I'd thought that Fiat of all company's w/ small vehicle experience would know. Yea I could see a stop gap model & then come out w/ a updated model.
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Old 01-28-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
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They can always bring more FIAT's in, like they're doing with the new small SUV.

Leaves a gap in the middle, but they aren't selling anything well in that competitive segment anyways.
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:08 PM   #10
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its like the Daimler merger all over again. Mismanaging Chrysler into oblivion then theyll unload it
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