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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Chrysler Canning The Avenger To Focus On 200?

    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    January 13, 2012

    Chrysler could be canning the Dodge Avenger within the next few years. In a interview with Reuters, Reid Bigland, head of the Dodge brand said the company could cut one of their midsize sedans.

    "Chrysler Group will likely consolidate around one midsize car in the future," said Bigland.

    Both the 200 and Avenger saw their sales grow last year (87,033 and 64,023 respectively) thanks to improved drivetrain options and new interiors. However, the two still lag far behind their competition. By dropping one of their models, Chrysler can reduce the costs in marketing and development while dropping the risk of having one model steal sales from the other.

    "If we have two cars that are very similar, it does split dealer focus. Consolidating around one very competitive entry certainly has its advantages," Bigland said.

    Most point towards the Avenger being cut due to its lower sales compared to the 200.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    Dumb, dumb move. Dodge needs a volume-friendly midsizer and the Avenger could be just that. I think they're better off making a better Avenger and replacing the 200 with what it should be - a baby 300 that's a natural ATS/3 series/C class competitor.

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    How can Chrysler be perceived as a luxury brand when the mass-market 200 sits in the dealership? Especially when it sits alongside the Town & Country which will become the sole minivan?

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    Here's the thinking behind this from what I've heard. Please note that I'm just posting it here as is (I personally haven't done a whole lot of fact checking).

    The Avenger is supposedly very close to the new Dart in overall interior space (one of the Avenger's major shortcomings is that its a mid-sized sedan based around a compact car platform) and very close to the Charger in overall girth (read: it's fat). The Charger, in its next generation, will be smaller than the current car and the next 300. With the Charger stepping down a tiny notch closer to the current Avenger and the new Dart offering just as much interior space, the Avenger is effectively being squeezed out of the lineup.

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    Would Dodge get another car above the Charger then?

    Losing some bulk from the LX platform wouldn't be a bad thing. If they can make a mid-size RWD that can scale up rather than trying to squeeze a larger RWD platform down, I see that as a plus.

    That also leaves room under the Dart for a sub-compact.... unless Fiat intends to fill that spot.

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    It's hard to see what the strategy with Fiat/Dodge/Chrysler is going to be at this point, but it seems like they are moving in the direction of the 3 brands together constituting a full line vertically w/ minimal overlap (plus Ram for trucks and commercial, Jeep for rugged and lux SUVs and some CUVs).

    I also wonder if there is truth of the rumors of the next gen Challenger becoming a Chrysler Barracuda (!).

    Speculation:

    Fiat for subcompact cars and CUVs

    Dodge for compact and mid-to-large sporty cars, mid-to-large practical sporty CUVs/SUVs

    Chrysler for mid-to-large entry-lux w/ a minivan

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    Here's the thinking behind this from what I've heard. Please note that I'm just posting it here as is (I personally haven't done a whole lot of fact checking).

    The Avenger is supposedly very close to the new Dart in overall interior space (one of the Avenger's major shortcomings is that its a mid-sized sedan based around a compact car platform) and very close to the Charger in overall girth (read: it's fat). The Charger, in its next generation, will be smaller than the current car and the next 300. With the Charger stepping down a tiny notch closer to the current Avenger and the new Dart offering just as much interior space, the Avenger is effectively being squeezed out of the lineup.

    He's right on the money here....Like the Caliber, no major money was being spent on them (baby refreshes), because these were planned to be canned long ago.

    While the same can't be said about the 200, the platform it is on will be disappearing too. I could see the cutbacks coming, and these replacements models better be a big hit.

    It should start will the new minivan......stressing the "mini-er" part....

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    Dumb, dumb move. Dodge needs a volume-friendly midsizer and the Avenger could be just that. I think they're better off making a better Avenger and replacing the 200 with what it should be - a baby 300 that's a natural ATS/3 series/C class competitor.

    Why? They're being killed in a tough class. So their sales were up-but so was everyone else. This band aid they put on these two will only last so long. And short of the few ricers who love the name, nobody is going to miss the Avenger anyways....

    The need here is simple: one good model-soon.

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    olds....dodge getting car "Above" charger...... viper? or are you talking a big 4 door?

    Moltar... makes sense, other than the srt branded "dodges"...think the challenger would go away?

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    re Davesrs:-true...Chrysler has been a non-player in the biggest, most competitive market niches (compact FWD and midsize FWD) for soooooo long. The Dart should do well in the compact niche, now they need to build something competitive in the midsize niche..

    olds....dodge getting car "Above" charger...... viper? or are you talking a big 4 door?

    Moltar... makes sense, other than the srt branded "dodges"...think the challenger would go away?

    I don't know...interested in seeing where they go next...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    Would Dodge get another car above the Charger then?

    That's a good question. While I'm betting on the 300 being Chrysler's sole big sedan, I also wouldn't be suprised if Dodge gets something above the Charger in size.

    Losing some bulk from the LX platform wouldn't be a bad thing. If they can make a mid-size RWD that can scale up rather than trying to squeeze a larger RWD platform down, I see that as a plus.

    Those are certainly two goals for the next-generation LX cars: weight reduction and a greater degree of size flexability.

    I personally hope Dodge builds another Challenger after the current model. While the current car doesn't sell quite as good as the Mustang or Camaro, it's still been a money maker for Dodge (the program costs were low) and a great image car for the brand. I personally know mine attracts just as much attention and turns as many heads as any fifth-generation Camaro out there and makes the Mustang seem long forgotten. With the Viper distancing itself from Dodge to become a halo car for the entire company instead of just one brand, there is certainly plenty of room for a performance coupe at Dodge (hence the reason why I think it will be branded SRT; to keep a spot open for the Challenger).

    That also leaves room under the Dart for a sub-compact.... unless Fiat intends to fill that spot.

    I think that's what Fiat wants to do in North America.

    Edited by black-knight
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    A smaller RWD Charger could spawn a coupe in addition to the sedan, killing the Challenger name once again. It is appropriate, imo, for the Chrysler 300 to be bigger than the largest Dodge sedan.

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    A smaller RWD Charger could spawn a coupe in addition to the sedan, killing the Challenger name once again.

    It's possible, but also unlikely. A simple Charger coupe probably wouldn't fare well against the Camaro and Mustang.

    The real uphill battle the Challenger faces, sadly, is the same battle the PT Cruiser had to fight and ultimately lost: how do you keep the design fresh and familiar? Hopefully ChryCo will look to cars like the Porsche 911, VW Beetle, and the Ford Mustang for the answer. I certainly think there's a way the Challenger can evolve from its current design language (the cancelled second-generation Challenger from the late '70s is something of a partial indicator).

    It is appropriate, imo, for the Chrysler 300 to be bigger than the largest Dodge sedan.

    I agree. With the exception of keeping the Town and Country around versus the Caravan, Fiat seems really trying to make Chrysler into the best entry level luxury brand money can buy. One way of accomplishing that is letting Chrysler build larger cars.

    Who knows? With the Charger moving down slightly in size, that also opens up the possibilty of the next 200 being rear-wheel drive.

    Edited by black-knight
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