Why Settling For Decent Killed The Chrysler 200 – The Art of Gears

Posted: Sunday, March 06, 2016

The latest sales numbers from Chrysler compared to the rest of its competitors point to a decent product at best. 

When second-hand news was announced and confirmed that FCA would be killing the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, fans of the brands were shocked at the announcement. But with the latest sales figures rolling in for the Chrysler 200 (as well as other cars) the demand for this svelte and stylish mid-sized sedan appears to have disappeared. With smooth styling, a competent engine, and a passable interior, here’s why middle of the road just wasn’t good enough for the Chrysler 200.

According to all February 2016 sales figures for all the cars sold in the United States, the Chrysler 200 ranks #68th selling just 6,597 units that month with 11,797 for the year.Scroll up the list and you’ll find the king of mid-sized sedans, the Toyota Camry, strongly selling more than 32,000 units for the month and close to 60,000 units for the year. Accord at a distant second place but with a respectable 3/4ths of that, selling 25,000 units for February, and 46,000 units for the year.

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Photo Credit: Chrysler

And according to their official sales numbers, compared to February of last year, sales were down a whopping 61 percent while compared to last month, sales took a 58 percent gut punch.

The writing was on the wall for the Chrysler 200 when back in January, Fiat Chrysler announced a six-week plant shutdown in Sterling Heights, Michigan to let supply catch up with demand as a glut of Chrysler 200s sat on dealership lots. Even that hasn’t stemmed the surplus of 200’s sitting idly, waiting for customers to swap them up.

At first glance, the Chrysler 200 isn’t such a bad car. It’s actually a great mid-sized sedan as far as cars go. Its sleek European styling is a home run with many people choosing the 200’s design language over the Ford Fusion. Many people have mistaken the 200 for an Audi from behind.

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Photo Credit: Chrysler

It’s 2.4L TigerShark is more than enough for day to day duties with the real star of the show being the 3.6L Pentastar V6 making quick work of overpassing maneuvers and your average commute.  The 200 does fall short in driver engagement with many auto journalists opting for the Japanese market for something more sporty.

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Inside, it’s unoffending with a contemporary interior and choice interior touchpoints that will satisfy the majority of its buyers.

Other than that, there’s isn’t much more to say about the 200. And therein lines the problem. The list of its competitors is long and distinguished with many nameplates harboring legions of loyal return buyers. You’ve got the Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, VW Passat, Subaru Legacy, Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. Not to mention the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

Besides styling, pick any one of its competitors and we’ll come up with a laundry list of items that the Chrysler 200 does a passable job of compared to its competitor. The Accord is more engaging. The Camry has a solid reliability reputation. The KIA and Hyundai are better values. The list goes on and on.

As for this writer, he loves the Chrysler 200 for its great looks and solid engine. But in the land of mid-sized sedans, being second-rate just doesn’t cut it. Perfection with a highlight of your strengths reigns king.

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