Sergio Marchionne Slams Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 As Bad Investments

Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 5 photos
Photo: edited by autoevolution
Dodge DartDodge DartChrysler 200Chrysler 200
During the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the head honcho of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decided to take up the stage and wear his heart on his sleeve. The highlight of Sergio Marchionne’s press conference at NAIAS is, somewhat surprisingly, that he is not happy at all with what happened to the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart.
“I can tell you right now that both the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, as great products as they were, were the least financially rewarding enterprises that we've carried out inside FCA in the last eight years," the sweater-wearing Marchionne said to a persnickety member of the media. "I don't know one investment that was as bad as these two [nameplates] were,” he concluded.

There’s no need to read between the lines here. Sergio wants the people to know that small cars are no longer worth selling in the United States. And as the sedan segment continues to shrink due to shifting demand toward crossovers and SUVs, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on developing a better Dart or a better 200 than those recently phased out by Fiat Chrysler.

On the upside, Fiat Chrysler confirmed that there’s a Jeep Wrangler pickup in the offing, as are the new Wagoneer and new Grand Wagoneer. The 2018 model year will bring forth the new-generation Ram 1500, so that’s that. Given these circumstances, this might be a case of “win some, lose some.”

The Dodge Dart was a compact sedan built on a modified Alfa Romeo Giulietta vehicle architecture that reportedly cost Fiat Chrysler Automobiles something like $1 billion to develop. Produced between 2012 and September 2016, the Dart never sold as well as the Neon did. The problem with the now-defunct Dart sedan was that it didn’t blend in with today’s industry and consumer demand. The old Neon, meanwhile, was perfectly tailored for its time.

In the Chrysler 200’s case, there’s not a lot to say about it. In Sergio's specific way of dealing with a touchy subject, he blamed designers for copying a Hyundai. After calling them "dummies," he added that “some people from design left some of their private parts on the table after the determination.” The second-gen 200 spent only two and a half years in production.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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