Chrysler 200 design too bold for its own good, Marchionne says image

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne admits it was a mistake to adopt Chrysler’s 200 sedan sloped roof from another carmaker, as this bold idea affects the model’s sales.

Chrysler 200 sedan is definitely looking more attractive than its predecessor and it proved to be a better car as well, but the model has not been so successful as FCA hoped it would be. And the reason for this was debated by the company’s CEO Sergio Marchionne at the Detroit Auto Show this month. “The 200 failed because somebody thought that the rear-seat entry point inside the 200 — which is our fault, by the way — is not up to snuff,” Marchionne said, presumably hinting at the Consumer Reports publication which did not give the 200 its recommendation. And the problem is with the slope of the roof limiting the headroom in the back, as well access.

Marchionne admitted Chrysler’s designers copied the sleek idea from an unnamed Hyundai model, presumably the Sonata. “We didn’t copy the car, we copied the entry point to the rear seat. Dummies. I acknowledge it,” he said. “Some people from design left some of their private parts on the table after we came up with that determination. But I think we’re learning from this process.”

On the other hand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has other worries on its plate, as the automaker has its work cut out this week to convince investors it can deliver its turnaround plan after model delays, deferred investments and slowing demand in key markets Asia and Latin America.

Via Automotive News

  • Kevin Thomas

    So Sergio thinks it’s all about the roofline they copied from Hyundai. Maybe if they’d copied a quiet and powerful engine, a responsive transmission, a smooth ride, accurate handling, and a normal shifter from Hyundai instead, the car would have done better.

    • CamJam

      I agree it’s not the roof line, but Hyundais are no pillar of excellence. They’re all about style at a cheap price. Meanwhile we spend millions keeping them safe from North Korea while they steal American jobs. Let them take care of their own military needs.

      • Kevin Thomas

        I’m no Hyundai fanboy, but if you look at JD Power, Consumer Reports, or mainstream magazine reviews, Hyundais generally beat most (sometimes all) American makes. Take all those sources for whatever you think they’re worth, but I think it’s a trend worth noticing. (for the record, I own a Dodge truck, a BMW and a Honda, all 13 years old or more)

        A quick web search told me more than 50% of all Hyundais sold in the US are made here, and they have engineering, design and test facilities in the US too. While all Chrysler 200s are made in the US, the Chrysler 300, for example, is made entirely in Canada, with some models having engines made in Mexico. I didn’t quickly find an overall US/foreign production breakdown for Chrysler.

        While this is a point for discussion elsewhere, I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest (except Kim Jong-un) for North Korea to overrun the south…

  • pngrant54

    Sorry Sergio but that is total BS. All sedans now have sloped roofs. IE-Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, Hyundai Sonata, Chevy Malibu. Why is it that those cars rear room are not encroached by their styling? If Chrysler had simply used the interior buck or measurements from a US VW Passat and designed a sloping roof around that there would be no issue of lack of rear room. That might of involved adding 2 inches of wheelbase. As usual Chrysler did not do their due diligence on the American market. Now they developed the Alfa Romeo Giulia to not meet basic crash standards.