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"Tips to Chrysler" is a regular feature in which we propose obvious and credible actions which can increase Chrysler's sales and/or cut their costs, and hope against hope that someone at Chrysler is listening.
Chrysler seems to have given up on the poor, humble Neon. It's no surprise, since sales have been lackluster despite the Neon's value. The first generation rapidly took off, then just as rapidly sank as quality problems caught up with the little car. The second generation seems to have generated no excitement, even among Neon fans. Now, the Neon is scheduled to be replaced within three years by a version of the Mitsubishi Lancer.
Perhaps if Chrysler could actually sell the things, they'd make a third generation instead of consolidating with Mitsubishi.
We've analyzed media reports, owner reports, and anecdotal data, and come up with a thoroughly scientific analysis. If anyone at Chrysler is listening - and from what we've seen, only engineers and line employees, whose opinions don't seem to count any more, are - here are some things you could try, instead of sinking the company even further into oblivion.
Taking these steps would greatly increase the Neon's sales for a minimal investment. Sure, it's against the Chrysler save-money-at-all-costs regime - the company would rather invest nothing and let sales drop off to nothing as well, until the Mitsubishi comes. But spending a relatively small sum could make the Neon a profit-maker again while we wait for the Lancer.
Let's assume for a moment that Chrysler actually takes the above steps and is surprised to find that sales shoot up. What next? How about derivatives - Derivatives. . Coupe. Pickup. Roadster. BMW does it. So did Chrysler way back when. Remember the Duster? How about those Aussie Utes? [Note: Subaru's just done this!]
Or, let's assume the more likely scenario - Chrysler doesn't do anything to save the Neon, just lets it fade away. Since that's the least profitable scenario, we can bet it'll be the one Chrysler adopts. What then? We have this great platform going to waste.
Waste not. Want not.
The Neon is actually large enough to compete in the next segment up. It could easily replace the Sebring Sedan, or even fit into a segment between the Dodge Lancer and Dodge Galant*, with a price similar to the Lancer and size similar to the Galant. (*Chrysler names for the Lancer and Galant have not yet been chosen.) Change the front and rear clips, make some minor modifications to the interior, stretch the body two inches, and make just a little more room in the engine bay, and you suddenly have a small family car. To illustrate this, let's look at two 2001 models:
Not much difference there. The Camry has less than one inch more rear leg room, about one inch more front leg room, about a half an inch more front head room, and 2.5 inches more width. Oh, and one more cubic foot of trunk space, which matters to some people but not everyone. The Neon really is large for its class - so maybe the solution is to set it up in a class by itself, competing ostensibly against other family cars instead of entry-level cars. Then it can be the sporty family car option, instead of the stodgy entry-level option.
Well, it's a thought, anyway. Especially since they would have some economies by keeping the Neon and PT Cruiser both going, given some shared parts. (Presumably the Neon would also gain some of those new PT suspension components for better handling and space utilization, and better economies of scale).
If you work at Chrysler, or know someone who does, can you pass this along to them?
Written by .
Brandi Sanders wrote: I own a 98 Dodge Neon, and I can tell you I loved the first generation style. The body was so perfect and cute. Now this second generation looks like a spaceship, they aren't selling because people don't like the LOOK of them. You have teens who want something cute, fast and fun. Middle age people want something roomy and spacy for family and older people want something comfortable, but at the same time something that takes them back to a younger them. If you get rid of the Neon you will make a mistake, what you need to do is change some things... you could make the speaker system better in the sport models for the teens, add cup holders in the back of the sedans, more storage place in the console, the radio systems in them now are hard to learn, make them more simple. There are lots of things you can do other than give up on this model. ...
You have to think of consumer wants, what people buy. Right now people want SUVs and trucks because they hold their value. You have to change their minds, make them think that cars are just as good. The Neon has good leg room in the back, but it could have more, you could also put a v-6 engine in them so that they would perform better. Neons are good cars, they just need a little improvement.
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