Because of low demand for compact cars in the US, Fiat Chrysler has announced that it will keep its Chrysler 200 sedan plant idle for another three weeks.
The low fuel prices and the SUV euphoria have left sedans in the dark in the United States and the demand for compact cars is steadily decreasing. This trend made the automakers rethink their strategies and focus on more profitable segments. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne revealed in January than the automaker would eventually stop making the Chrysler 200 as well as the compact Dodge Dart, as the company’s turnaround plan is to focus on the Jeep and Ram brands, for which the demand is rising. Before axing the models, FCA initially said it would put the “200” model Sterling Heights, Michigan, plant on idle between February 1 and March 15, because of a slow sale pace.
However, it now announced it would extend by three weeks the production stoppage until April 4. US sales of the Chrysler 200 fell 58 percent in February from a year earlier, to 6,600 units. Marchionne said the 200 and Dart sedans might have a future if Fiat Chrysler was to find a partner to share the costs and the output, but no parties showed any interest in this direction so far.
The automaker made massive investments – more than 1 billion dollars – in its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the new Chrysler 200 that launched in 2014 and also injected 600 million dollars in the Dart model back in 2012.