Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced yesterday the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans would “run their course,” and eventually die off, with the nameplates only returning on the chance that FCA can find partners to jointly produce the vehicles with.
The decision to kill off the Dart and 200 was backed by FCA’s belief that cheap oil and gas prices are “permanent,” and that truck and SUV sales will lead the way in coming years. Additionally, if FCA wishes to bring more trucks and SUVs to market, it must make room for them at its various production facilities, so it’s no surprise slow-selling Dart and 200 were the first to go.
“We have decided to de-focus, from the manufacturing standpoint, to de-focus on the passenger car market,” Marchionne said. “There are two cars in particular, the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, which will run their course. Without creating additional capacity, in the United States, we need to try and deal with the development of both Jeep and the Ram brand.”
The only way the Dart and 200 nameplates will return is if FCA finds a partner to produce the car for them. The automaker has already begun to look for partners to build the cars with, Marchionne says, and will continue to do so following the discontinuation of the cars.
“There will be a number of things that will be put in place in the next 18 months — things that have been agreed and detailed, that will effectively withdraw the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart from the marketplace, for a long period of time, during which we will be continuing discussions with potential partners,” the Italian-Canadian executive said.
The Chrysler 200 is made at FCA’s plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which is rumored to eventually welcome production of the next-generation Ram pickup. Similarly, the Dodge Dart is produced at FCA’s Belvidere, Illinois facility that us rumored to accept production of the Jeep Cherokee following the arrival of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler.