Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has dropped surprise information following his reveal the group would phase out the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart in just 18 months.
The fact that Dodge is giving up on the Dart compact sedan may not be such a bombshell since the model was based off an existing architecture – the Fiat Compact platform that also underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. But the Chrysler 200 was an all out new effort – which cost billions of dollars that have no way of being recuperated now if the model heads towards the grave. During the recent company business strategy update, Marchionne said FCA has decided in a nutshell to give up on sedans and focus on the more productive trucks and crossovers. This begs the question – if the current love for the latter models vanes, they’ll start killing off other billions in product investments?! The manager said “There are two cars in particular, the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, which will run their course.” The cars will be axed within 18 months and the decision will kill off any fan hopes for a Dart SRT to complete the high-performance family, complete with ll-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine.
The abandonment comes as FCA now thinks the consumer shift towards crossovers is actually a “permanent shift in demand” and even “Low gas prices [are] now seen as [a] permanent condition.” We’re not betting against the first stance because we do see the practicality of crossovers – but if there’s one thing the world economy has demonstrated is that nothing is forever – especially oil prices. The company did give a glimmer of hope as it said it was looking for partners to “address compact and midsize car segments.”