Cars fail. They’re bound to, as they’re conceived, designed, built and marketed by humans, who are prone to oversights and miscalculations. And if this were a rare phenomenon, this section of the mag wouldn’t have gone on for years like it has. While most of these failures are established by miserable sales figures or glaring mechanical problems, the Dodge Dart and the Chrysler 200 have had the dubious distinction of having been declared not just let-downs, but the worst investment ever by none other than the company’s head honcho.
That’s exactly what Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) did at the Detroit motor show last week. The famously candid Marchionne categorically termed the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart the “least financially rewarding enterprises” that FCA has been involved in over the past eight years. He even went on to say that he couldn’t think of “one investment that was as bad as these two were”.
Well, the writing was on the wall a year ago, when the big man announced that FCA was looking to find another manufacturer who would be willing to build these two saloons. This was because production at FCA’s Belvidere plant in Illinois was scheduled to end in September 2016, so that it could be retooled to build the Jeep Cherokee. And the plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan was set to end production of the 200 by December before it was retooled for production of the 2018
Ram 1500. But obviously, FCA didn’t find anyone willing to take on production of these two failed models.
Both the models have had dismal sales across all the markets, and have been also-rans in their segments at best.
So it’s only logical for the parent company to shed the baggage as it concentrates on more profitable segments like SUVs and pick-up trucks.