It was January, 2016 when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the automaker would be ceasing production of the mid-size Chrysler 200 and compact Dodge Dart. Pundits were shocked, as although neither car enjoyed especially high sales figures, the compact and mid-size cars were thought to constitute two essential parts of a full vehicle lineup.
Yet Sergio Marchionne might get the last laugh, as customers in North America and elsewhere continue to flock to crossovers and SUVs in droves, putting other automakers’ car lineups in the crosshairs. Ford, for instance, has said that it won’t bring the latest iteration of the Fiesta subcompact to North America, and a recent report alleges that the redesign program for the mid-size Fusion has been canceled (per Ford Authority). Meanwhile, General Motors is reportedly pondering whether to axe up to six cars in the market. Those vehicles include the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Sonic, and Chevrolet Volt (according to GM Authority).
Granted, Fiat Chrysler had intended to introduce replacements for the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart, with plans to outsource production elsewhere to leave more US production capacity for trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. But given the way the market is trending, with crosstown rivals Ford and GM both considering pressing on without a full car lineup, we have to wonder whether it’s worth the effort.
After announcing Fiat Chrysler’s decision to axe the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart, Marchionne referred to the cars as “the least financially rewarding enterprises” the automaker had attempted in eight years. So long as consumers continue to eschew cars in favor of larger vehicles, the places once occupied by the 200 and Dart might be better off left unfilled.