Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne called the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedan’s two of the automaker’s worst investments in recent years during a media conference at the Detroit auto show earlier this month.
Last year Marchionne made the decision to kill off the Dart and 200 as the vehicles were selling poorly and taking up much needed space in FCA’s North American production network. The Italian-Canadian executive said the two four-doors were decent enough cars, but were simply competing in a space with lots of competition and low profit margins.
“I can tell you right now that both the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, as great products as they were, were the least financially rewarding enterprises that we’ve carried out inside FCA in the last eight years,” Marchionne said during the question and answer session. “I don’t know one investment decision that was as bad as these two were.”
FCA’s decision to axe the 200 and Dart helped free up space for FCA to build more trucks, SUVs and crossovers, which not only carry higher profit margins but are currently in high consumer demand. Critics have said Marchionne’s decision to put most of FCA’s eggs into the large vehicle basket was short-sighted, however he believes the popularity of trucks, crossovers and vehicles of that ilk is a trend that’s here to stay.
Despite the low profit margins on compact and mid-size sedans, Marchionne isn’t opposed to bringing successor to the Dart and 200 to market one day – but he doesn’t want FCA to build them. The automaker is currently looking for partners to build the vehicles with, similar to how it sought out Mazda to help it bring the Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider to market, and was in talks with a number of different companies to do so the last time we reported on the matter.