William Maley

Chrysler News: Chrysler 200 Was A Worse Seller Than First Expected

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William Maley    392

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continues its cooperation with the federal investigation into its falsified sales, they have begun to issue restate monthly sales results. They reveal that the Chrysler 200, a midsize sedan the company was hoping to be a success was even less popular than we first though.

Automotive News reports that in a three-month period from July to September 2015, FCA reported that it sold 21 percent more 200s (8,577) than the new numbers. To put this in perspective, the second-largest discrepancy in sales was the Dodge Charger with 2,258 over-reported sales. 

"There was a lot of pressure on the 200 to offset the loss of sales from discontinuing the Dodge Avenger," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific.

"FCA was under pressure to deliver a midsize car that could compete with the Accord and Camry after they emerged from bankruptcy. They were vilified for not offering competitive cars after we saw gas spike to $4. The 200 was meant to show how FCA was committed to offering passenger cars that could compete."

There was also a $1 billion investment FCA made into the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the 200. There was a lot of pressure for this sedan to succeed and could explain some of the reason as to the inflated sale numbers.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears


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I would still argue getting out of the passenger car business is probably a good business model for them.  They have not been passionate about mainstream cars since the 1990's IMHO.

Specialty vehicles like the Charger and Challenger are another matter.

The real question is what do they do when the next round of fuel economy fleet standards hit, or when gas goes back up to $4 a gallon.

Do not myself see them getting back into the traditional passenger car business again soon.

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11 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

That's what happens when you make bottom of the barrel products. They should probably stick to building literally anything else besides mainstream sedans.

Given the competitive nature of the sedan market, yes. As a car maker, you have to come to grips with who you are.

There is a reason that Mazda does not build Luxury cars, Porsche does not build economy cars, and Toyota does not build high end performance cars.

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cp-the-nerd    426

I KNEW IT! I knew there was something off about their stretch of incredible sales when the 200 suddenly plummeted in the segment. Either they were absolutely selling their soul to rental agencies or the numbers were off. 20% sales inflation is pretty reprehensible.

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Frisky Dingo    611

They shouldn't have even attempted this in the first place. For two reasons-

1)This segment is so deep with competent offerings, that unless you are building something that near-flawless objectively, there's no point. Even a car that is slightly behind the pack is going to get left in the dust from a sales standpoint.

2)It's a declining segment anyway. Building the best of something that is going to become obsolete isn't the greatest business case. It'd be like trying to make the best VCR after DVD players had already gained a foothold in the market.

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FordCosworth    128
10 minutes ago, cp-the-nerd said:

I KNEW IT! I knew there was something off about their stretch of incredible sales when the 200 suddenly plummeted in the segment. Either they were absolutely selling their soul to rental agencies or the numbers were off. 20% sales inflation is pretty reprehensible.

Damn straight.

Offering money to dealers to fudge month end sale numbers is some shady business practice. Very unethical. Those are some big skeletons in FCA's closet. 

2 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

They shouldn't have even attempted this in the first place. For two reasons-

1)This segment is so deep with competent offerings, that unless you are building something that near-flawless objectively, there's no point. Even a car that is slightly behind the pack is going to get left in the dust from a sales standpoint.

2)It's a declining segment anyway. Building the best of something that is going to become obsolete isn't the greatest business case. It'd be like trying to make the best VCR after DVD players had already gained a foothold in the market.

Your last sentence sums up the execution of the 200 ( and Dart ) perfectly. 

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ccap41    1,161

Agreed @Frisky Dingo. They entered the market of the two deepest rosters with the heaviest of heavy hitters in the Camry, Accord, and Malibu and just didn't execute it well. It would have ad to have been absolutely perfect but like you said the segment is shrinking anyway.

I'm sure all of the other mid size sedan companies are glad to see somebody leave the segment to get a few sales back. The segment was just too damn deep. They need somebody else to leave the segment as well but I don't see that happening right away.

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Frisky Dingo    611

@ccap41

This segment is definitely going to start drying up. Only the fittest are going to survive. The current players are going to have to start really doing something compelling to keep sales numbers up. As it stands, even 4 grand price differences, and 5-7mpg better EPA ratings aren't doing the trick. I think the answer may be to start making them more stylish and fun to drive, ironically. The Fusion Sport, harsh of a review as I gave it, may be a big step in the right direction. 

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dfelt    1,771
15 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

Agreed @Frisky Dingo. They entered the market of the two deepest rosters with the heaviest of heavy hitters in the Camry, Accord, and Malibu and just didn't execute it well. It would have ad to have been absolutely perfect but like you said the segment is shrinking anyway.

I'm sure all of the other mid size sedan companies are glad to see somebody leave the segment to get a few sales back. The segment was just too damn deep. They need somebody else to leave the segment as well but I don't see that happening right away.

Maybe VW will leave the segment. ;) They can afford too.

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9 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Maybe VW will leave the segment. ;) They can afford too.

Highly doubtful.  They are one of the worlds largest and most profitable car companies and they desperately want the US market for economies of scale.

Letting Toyota, GM or the like dominate the US market would mean that they would loose that advantage and thus put their prime markets such as South America, Africa, China and the like into Jeopardy.

Plus they are already federalizing their drive trains and building their platforms to US safety and emissions standards for Audi, Porsche, and the like. So they have no real cost advantage for doing this.

If anything, they need a small crossover. the Honda HRV actually outsold the Camry last month, and building a desirable version of something like that is very much in VW's DNA.  It's actually far more plausible for VW to build and sell something like that than the Atlas concept we were shown.

Given that a lot of the VW market share is urban....and young and professional....

But the smartest people do the dumbest things and people in Stuttgart and Wolfsburg will wonder with angst and hand wringing why the Golf is down when they are doing very little to promote it or build the brand.

I am not sure even diesel gate was enough of an existential wake-up call for them.  Sitting here in Columbus eating popcorn and watching....

I could actually see them bringing Skoda over from Europe or something to re launch themselves before I could see them abandoning the segment.

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2 hours ago, Frisky Dingo said:

 

They just need to sell the Euro Passat here.

A lot more than that....!

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28 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

I meant in terms of this segment in particular.

Thanks for clarifying!

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hyperv6    774

I took abuse by many for saying the 200 and Dart were doomed to failure. 

Here is the problem. You can not just revamp a Fiat product with a nicer looking body and expect it to be right. Fiat and Sergio has raped Chrysler and doomed their car lines. They are taking the profits from their Jeep and Ram trucks and putting it into the other Fiat brands which is like flushing money down the toilet. They should have funded Chrysler to do their own cars and funded a new RWD platform that should have been out 3 years ago.

As it is now they are still looking for a partner that I suspect at some point may be a Chinese automaker just because they will want the Jeep and Ram trucks. They will pick the bones and not much more will be left in the end.

The fact is FCA can not abandon the small car segment. It will be needed in the future even if it is just for CUV models. A partner could offer this but there are so few takers. In the end I feel this whole deal is going to be a much bigger mess in the future. The new regulations will kill them before it is all said and done.

Even VW now with the money trouble is not interested in Jeep and Ram.

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3 hours ago, hyperv6 said:

I took abuse by many for saying the 200 and Dart were doomed to failure. 

Here is the problem. You can not just revamp a Fiat product with a nicer looking body and expect it to be right. Fiat and Sergio has raped Chrysler and doomed their car lines. They are taking the profits from their Jeep and Ram trucks and putting it into the other Fiat brands which is like flushing money down the toilet. They should have funded Chrysler to do their own cars and funded a new RWD platform that should have been out 3 years ago.

As it is now they are still looking for a partner that I suspect at some point may be a Chinese automaker just because they will want the Jeep and Ram trucks. They will pick the bones and not much more will be left in the end.

The fact is FCA can not abandon the small car segment. It will be needed in the future even if it is just for CUV models. A partner could offer this but there are so few takers. In the end I feel this whole deal is going to be a much bigger mess in the future. The new regulations will kill them before it is all said and done.

Even VW now with the money trouble is not interested in Jeep and Ram.

This, times one hundred.

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Guest Howie   
Guest Howie
20 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Highly doubtful They are one of the worlds largest and most profitable car companies and they desperately want the US market for economies of scale.(...)

(,,,) If anything, they need a small crossover. the Honda HRV actually outsold the Camry last month, and building a desirable version of something like that is very much in VW's DNA.  It's actually far more plausible for VW to build and sell something like that than the Atlas concept we were shown.(...)

(...) I could actually see them bringing Skoda over from Europe or something to re launch themselves before I could see them abandoning the segment. (...)

I think you mean the CR-V. The smaller HR-V sells 4 times less. VW is one of the largest (actually the largest so far this year) but not one of the most profitable. Partly because of diesal-gate fees but mainly because of the cost of brands acquisitions needed to become the largest. I sure agree about the Atlas, their poor target marketing and soulless cheaper offering in US. Sounds like old GM...

They do a better job with their Skoda's versions (VW itself spreads rumors about bringing them to US) and new platform. So there is hope, but time is running.

15 hours ago, hyperv6 said:

(,,,) You can not just revamp a Fiat product with a nicer looking body and expect it to be right. Fiat and Sergio has raped Chrysler and doomed their car lines. They are taking the profits from their Jeep and Ram trucks and putting it into the other Fiat brands which is like flushing money down the toilet

(...) As it is now they are still looking for a partner that I suspect at some point may be a Chinese automaker just because they will want the Jeep and Ram trucks. They will pick the bones and not much more will be left in the end.

Can't agree more ! When the boss of the company himself says some of their products aren't great, you have to wonder. Honesty is a good politic but so is being able to learn from mistakes and correct a situation.

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Stew    339

It is sad because it is actually a very nice car.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rental we had as they had apparently even sorted out the transmission issues on that one.  I would still love to see them partner with Mazda as a version of the 6 with the latest pentastar PUG would be a gem IMHO.  

 

As for crossovers and SUVs, this isn't only happening at FCA as everyone from Ford to Toyota, to Cadillac are pumping out and have plans for more CUVs while their cars don't see much in the way of upgrades.  We are at a point where CUVs are nearly as fuel efficient as their sedan counterparts.  Even if fuel prices go up, the jump towards CUVs and SUVS will not change as we are not talking about a 98 Blazer that can barely touch 20 MPG on the highway, but rather super fuel efficient CUVs such as the new CRV which i would be surprised to see rated in the mid 30s on the highwa with the new 1.5T.  You have to make what the public wants as much as those of us that love cars may hate it. 

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daves87rs    327
On 11/3/2016 at 4:20 PM, hyperv6 said:

I took abuse by many for saying the 200 and Dart were doomed to failure. 

Here is the problem. You can not just revamp a Fiat product with a nicer looking body and expect it to be right. Fiat and Sergio has raped Chrysler and doomed their car lines. They are taking the profits from their Jeep and Ram trucks and putting it into the other Fiat brands which is like flushing money down the toilet. They should have funded Chrysler to do their own cars and funded a new RWD platform that should have been out 3 years ago.

As it is now they are still looking for a partner that I suspect at some point may be a Chinese automaker just because they will want the Jeep and Ram trucks. They will pick the bones and not much more will be left in the end.

The fact is FCA can not abandon the small car segment. It will be needed in the future even if it is just for CUV models. A partner could offer this but there are so few takers. In the end I feel this whole deal is going to be a much bigger mess in the future. The new regulations will kill them before it is all said and done.

Even VW now with the money trouble is not interested in Jeep and Ram.

 

Yep...though I agreed with ya....

 

Also not sure how Jeep's luck is going to hold out either, starting with these new smaller CUVs....

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Jeep is providing a good design in the Renegade. This again goes to corporate culture though as they have major quality control issues they are unwilling to deal with.

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regfootball    234

i actually don't think the 200 is so bad.  But here is part of why it hasn't lit up the sales charts, apart from it's competitiveness issues.

1- it's a classic tweener.  it's a bit small to really be a true midsize.  

2-chrysler's own 300 in the showroom selling at huge discounts.

I actually looked at some used 200's before leasing the Malibu this year, but the more i read into the teething pains with the 9 speed automatic across Chrysler's product line, i didn't want anything to do with it.

The v6 AWD 200 to me is a nice option.

It doesn't even really matter how many of the 200 Chrysler sells.  They can fleet whatever they don't sell retail.  If they drop it they do run risk of what do they sell when gas hits 5 dollars.  The issue is to size it correctly and not put Fiat guts in it IMO.

Next Chrysler 300 is to be spun off the minivan.  That's a good move for the 300 but honestly unless Chrysler comes out with its own Equinox and Edge they'll need something downmarket in the showroom from the 300.  Not everyone wants a Jeep.

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I wonder if Chrysler itself will also go away at some point.

...and the whole fleet what does not sell is a huge part of the reason that Honda products hold this value so much better.

TLX is down 20 percent, and last I checked they were not even offering zero percent to move metal.

Honda seems smart with production.  GM send by far and away the best of the bunch but currently they have lots of money on the hood of the Camaro and a ton of unsold Camaros.

Methinks my next ride may well be Asian at this point.

Edited by A Horse With No Name

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      Hyundai - Down 30.1% (52,419 Vehicles Sold This Month, 388,860 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Infiniti - Up 9% (10,840 Vehicles Sold This Month, 89,983 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jaguar - Down 7% (3,166 Vehicles Sold This Month, 23,831 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jeep - Down 12% (69,351 Vehicles Sold This Month, 475,642 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Kia - Down 5.9% (56,403 Vehicles Sold This Month, 352,139 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Land Rover - Down 3% (5,915 Vehicles Sold This Month, 41,754 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Lexus - Up 3.6% (28,902 Vehicles Sold This Month, 162,662 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Lincoln - Down 2.5% (8,875 Vehicles Sold This Month, 65,212 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Maserati - 
      Mazda - Down 3% (27,089 Vehicles Sold This Month, 168,713 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz - 
      MINI - Down 7.9% (4,398 Vehicles Sold This Month, 26,603 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mitsubishi - Up 1.7% (8,025 Vehicles Sold This Month, 62,601 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Nissan - Down 4.1% (117,455 Vehicles Sold This Month, 858,000 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Porsche - Up 0.6% (3,901 Vehicles Sold This Month, 31,469 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Ram Trucks - 0% (44,090 Vehicles Sold This Month, 323,685 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Smart - 
      Subaru - Up 6.9% (55,703 Vehicles Sold This Month, 360,513 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Toyota - Up 3.6% (193,155 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,214,560 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volkswagen - Down 5.8% (27,091 Vehicles Sold This Month, 188,329 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volvo - Down 18.8% (6,967 Vehicles Sold This Month, 41,072 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      *Mercedes-Benz's sales numbers include Mercedes-Benz Vans.

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