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Chrysler News: FCA In Discussions With A Partner To Build 200 and Dart


William Maley

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It was in late January when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart would "run their course”. A diplomatic way of saying we wouldn't see a second-generation of either model. But Marchionne mentioned that both models could continue on if a partner was found.

 

Motor Trend has learned that FCA is currently with potential partners, although who isn't mentioned.

 

“There are discussions going on now. I think we will find a solution. We continue to talk. It’s both a technical solution and an economic one. We need to find a solution that works economically,” Marchionne said to Motor Trend on the floor of the Geneva Motor Show.

 

The key thing FCA is looking for in a partner to build their small cars is someone “who is better at it than we are and who has got capacity available.”

 

This comes on the heels of FCA announcing an extension of the temporary shutdown at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan - home of Chrysler 200 production. The plant was shut down on February 1st and workers were expected to return on March 14th. This was to help cut down on the massive supplies of 200s sitting on dealer lots. FCA has decided to extend it by three weeks to April 4th.

 

A FCA spokeswoman tells Reuters the reason for the extension is to match supply with demand. At the start of this March, FCA had a 147 day supply of 200s. This is an improvement from February where there was a 217 day supply.

 

Source: Motor Trend, Reuters


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I heard that Ford and Hyundai were also target "leads" to be wooed.

 

Hmmm...

 

Somehow I do not see this really helping the company. I mean I guess you'd be buying basically a Mazda with a Chrysler badge, which means you are getting a Mazda, but I would think the other guys would hold back some in reserves unless they get some real big bucks...

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Mazda needs partners too.  Their salvation may rest on building cars for other brands. 

 

Also, if the plans are put into effect now, there could and should be enough differentiation to make and resulting product not a Mazda with a Dodge badge.

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Yeah that's true.

 

A made in Japan sedan with an American badge!!! Awwww yeah, that's how much an American brand has declined under ...well Marchionne is Canadian... (so yeah, Canada is involved)....an Italian parent.

 

What's interesting is the guy that Marchionne replaced is Bob Nardelli, and he's a questionable character too given...

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I have said Mazda would be a good fit for them since last Summer. When they killed the cars I thought that was a sign I may have been on to something.

The real key is they should turn FCA management over to Mazda and let someone who knows what they are doing run the place.

The sooner Sergio is gone the better.

Mazda since they left Ford has really had issues with development cost. They are doing ok sales wise but have no where near the volume they need to make it alone. Add the trucks, jeep and other brands to what Mazda has and you have a viable company if you pare it with competent management.

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Mazda needs partners too.  Their salvation may rest on building cars for other brands. 

 

Also, if the plans are put into effect now, there could and should be enough differentiation to make and resulting product not a Mazda with a Dodge badge.

 

 

One of those few times I could agree with the Mazda part....could be win win....both could use the production boost...

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Any car company is "better at it" than FCA. FCA is terrible with small and mid size cars. The 300/Charger work because the rear drive chassis is better than the fwd of the competition and they are the only rwd game in town.

I don't think Mazda has any extra capacity. And I don't see them making a new factory to build something to compete with themselves.

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I would expect the Mazda lines would be better Incorporated into the Dodge dealer system. Sell the Mazda badged FWD cars and leave the RWD Dodge and Chrysler. Dump the FCA based FWD all together.

Take FCA and keep the best and dump the worst. That is the only way for them to pull it out. It may be painful for some names just as it was for killing Pontiac but it needs to be done.

Keep Ram, Jeep, Fiat for micro cars, Most of Mazda, make a new RWD Chrysler/Dodge model, kill all Chrysler FWD models accept the minivans. Lancia and Alfa let them play to the markets they are good in and keep them niche models based on Mazda platforms tuned in Italy just as the new Miata based Fiat. Masurati Expand production but not go crazy with it. Compete with Porsche and Maybe Bentley but do not try to go after BMW or Audi. Alfa should be more niche and not worry about the Sergio 400,000 volume that Sergio thinks they can do. Alfa needs to find its place and to earn its place. Lets face it most Americans see it yet as an Italian car that rust and is expensive to fix with an odd grill.

Let Mazda do most of the platform development and the engineering and leave Jeep and Ram to Dodge.

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Don't do it Mazda. It will be the death of you. Why would one build a competitors vehicle that could eat into your own vehicle sales?

Stay as far away from FCA as possible.

 

If the original Fusion wasn't based on the Mazda 6 it wouldn't have been nearly as successful.   Food for thought.........

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Don't do it Mazda. It will be the death of you. Why would one build a competitors vehicle that could eat into your own vehicle sales?

Stay as far away from FCA as possible.

 

If the original Fusion wasn't based on the Mazda 6 it wouldn't have been nearly as successful.   Food for thought.........

 

 

Ford then, like Fiat is now of Chrysler, pulled the strings. 

 

On November 18, 2008, Ford announced that it would sell a 20% stake in Mazda, reducing its stake to 13.4% thus surrendering control of the company, which it held since 1996.

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Don't do it Mazda. It will be the death of you. Why would one build a competitors vehicle that could eat into your own vehicle sales?

Stay as far away from FCA as possible.

 

If the original Fusion wasn't based on the Mazda 6 it wouldn't have been nearly as successful.   Food for thought.........

 

 

Ford then, like Fiat is now of Chrysler, pulled the strings. 

 

On November 18, 2008, Ford announced that it would sell a 20% stake in Mazda, reducing its stake to 13.4% thus surrendering control of the company, which it held since 1996.

 

It was still a platform designed by and for Mazda and put into use by Mazda years before Ford started making the Fusion.  That is the point, like it or not.  Using other manufacturers platforms is nothing new. 

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As I have said in a couple other threads, I think Mazda would be an excellent partner with FCA and I don't think it would require a merger.  It could be a partnership similar to Hyundai-Kia and Nissan-Renault.  Mazda does small and midsize cars well but doesn't sell in volume for whatever reason (too small of a dealer network?)

 

 

Any car company is "better at it" than FCA. FCA is terrible with small and mid size cars. The 300/Charger work because the rear drive chassis is better than the fwd of the competition and they are the only rwd game in town.

I don't think Mazda has any extra capacity. And I don't see them making a new factory to build something to compete with themselves.

 

Neither the Dart or 200 are horrible cars.  If it weren't for the available diesel powertrain I would have been in a Dart instead of Cruze.  I actually liked the Dart better overall but the diesel won me over.  Unfortunately the problems with the diesel lost me.

 

Here is why I think the Dart failed:

1) Horribly managed launch with only manual transmission cars available

2) Pairing the DDCT trans with the 1.4T.  Should have been a torque converter auto right from the start.

3) The horrid gas mileage that the 2.4L versions of the car get.

 

To me, 2 and 3 kind of go hand in hand and are what really did the Dart in.  They basically panicked when everybody hated the DDCT paired with the 1.4T and since they didn't have a standard auto ready to mate up to it, they simply switched almost every trim over to the 2.4L.  I truly believe that if the car had launched with the 1.4T and a torque converter 6 speed auto, the Dart would not be in such dire straights.

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