Fiat Chrysler announced they would kill off the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart this week as the cars do not sell well enough or produce enough profits to justify their existence in the automaker’s portfolio. The plants where both models are made will be retooled to make way for new trucks and SUVs, which offer a much higher profit margin than the slow-selling Dart and 200 sedans.
The casket’s not closed on the Dart and 200 nameplates just yet, though. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the cars could come back so long as he could find a partner to jointly develop and produce the cars with, and he might find what he’s looking for in Detroit crosstown rivals Ford.
Speaking to Reuters during a press conference, Ford CEO Mark Fields said his company is “always open to talking with others” about jointly developing and producing small cars.” Like Marchionne, Fields recognizes that low oil prices are having an affect on small car sales, which already offered up low profit margins, and that automakers may need to partner up in order to make money on such vehicles.
“..we realise that we have to be very realistic around what is the type of revenue that these vehicles will be able to command and make sure we have an appropriate cost structure to earn a reasonable return,” Fields said.
FCA could also cut costs further by working jointly with other automakers on new, fuel-saving technologies, an area FCA must become improve in before strict 2025 emissions regulations are put in place. Ford worked with General Motors on nine- and ten-speed transmissions for trucks and SUVs and is open to the idea of a similar partnership in the future.
“I think there are all sorts of things that one can do in terms of partnerships and collaborations, at the vehicle level, and the component level, and elsewhere. I think everything’s on the table,” Ford CFO Bob Shanks told Reuters.