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Will we ever see another Chrysler (or any FCA US brand) convertible?

Discussion in 'Rumors and Speculation' started by CivoLee, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. CivoLee

    CivoLee Active Member

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    The other niche market that Chrysler has had something of a dominance in the domestic market in besides minivans is convertibles. They were the first to bring back the body style in the early 80s after other US automakers thought regs had killed them off for good. The late 80s LeBaron convertible was iconic for Chrysler (though personally I liked the GTS liftback and coupe better), and the first-gen Sebring was mostly a winner (too bad about the Mitsubishi V6). Unfortunately the second-gen Sebring went wrong in a lot of ways, but fortunately its refresh/rebranding as the first-gen Chrysler 200 Convertible addressed its biggest flaws.

    But for whatever reason, the second-gen 200 didn't get a convertible variant, and all the talk of Chrysler being rebranded as a crossover-heavy (barf) people-mover brand, save for maybe the next-gen 300, doesn't make it look like a convertible is in the cards.

    Is there any hope at all of an FCA US brand getting a convertible again? I know there was talk of a convertible variant for the next Challenger, but that could change...

    Really though, it seems the domestic market has given up on convertibles in general, beyond pony car variants (Mustang and Camaro convertibles). There's the Buick Cascada, but 1) reviews say it's about as interesting to drive as a bowl of tapioca and 2) it's a GM product.

    (PS Don't tell me the Jeep Wrangler is technically a convertible, that's not the vibe I want)
     
  2. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    It will be like the Dakota. Abandon the segment and only re-enter the segment (with a Jeep instead of Dakota) after everyone else has proven it’s a viable segment.

    So if convertibles start showing up again, maybe FCA will follow suit. This is a group that either follows or gets out of the way when presented with a lead, follow, or get out of the way decision.
     
  3. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    There is a Fiat 500 Cabrio and the 124.
    Maybe the next generation Challenger?
    I still have my '98 Sebring JX.
    Convertibles are a blast to drive in nice weather.
     
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  4. Lee N. Burns

    Level 2 Supporter

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    It's interesting to see the subject raised, as similar thought crossed my mind just yesterday when I noticed a Challenger in traffic... One wonders if the L car planners had known the car would be living much longer than originally expected; would they have justified a convertible based on the extended life cycle?

    Then I got to thinking about the re-alignment of the US market in general, and how much variety within segments has disappeared. At one time there were often 2 & 4 door sedans, 2 & 4 door hardtops, convertibles and wagons all within the same model lines. Yet today I cannot think of a single car vehicle that exists as both a 2 door and 4 door (beyond of course the aforementioned Wrangler and pickup trucks).

    [​IMG]

    Of course, cars in general used to be much more expressive of one's personality. Today's expressive cars are more/less all niche vehicles by definition. Who could even imagine this much choice (each on in a variety of colors!) within one nameplate in 2017? (Each one of these is a 76-77 Chrysler Newport)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I think convertibles fit right into this. Cars are moving towards becoming self-driven "people movers". Convertibles exist either as a sub-niche for the dwindling numbers that enjoy performance driving, (American model) or as pricey toys for the rich (Euro model). Or they never existed to begin with in more collective societies (Asian). As those nations have come to dominate, so the market reflects their cultural norms.

    All that being said, a truly creative company could come along and revitalize the segment as Chrysler did in the 80s-00s, but I see no indication that will happen again.
     
    #4 Lee N. Burns, Dec 6, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  5. GaryS

    GaryS Well-Known Member

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    We're still waiting for another Mopar convertible, but unless the new Challenger offers one, I doubt it will happen.

    I bought a new Sebring JX in 1996 and my wife bought a Sebring Limited in 2001. After a couple of 300 sedans, she got a 2014 200 hardtop, which she still has. I've had a '64 Valiant 200 convertible for 15 years, so here in the sunny south, we prefer them for driving fun.

    FWIW, in my opinion, except for the nice retractable hardtop, the 200 convertible turned off a lot of people and killed sales My wife's is loaded, but seems crude and clunky, especially compared to the 2001. It drives decently, has had no problems, gets ok mileage, and doesn't rattle, but from the driver's seat it's boring with the bland color and poorly designed dash. Compared to my Valiant, there is far less interior space, and visibility is poor in every direction.
     
  6. aldo90731

    Level III Supporter

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    I owned a 1998 Chrysler Sebring JXi in Candy Apple red with tan top and leather. It was one beautiful car.

    DCX completely screwed it up, though. I got a 2008 Sebring convertible as a dealer loaner: they turned it into one f-ugly, chintzy pile of cr*p. Just like they completely screwed up Dakota.

    Neither exist anymore.
     
    #6 aldo90731, Dec 6, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  7. page2171

    Level 2 Supporter

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    DCX seemed to have a special ability to do that. Kind of a reverse midas touch. :(
     
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  8. CivoLee

    CivoLee Active Member

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    The Fiat 500 in general is too small for me to feel safe in, and the 124 is a roadster, not a convertible. I need something with a usable back seat (besides, I'd rather buy that car as a Miata RF).

    Probably Alfa will come up with a Spyder variant of the Giulia, or Maserati will do a convertible Gran Turismo, but those are a bit too rich for my tastes. Maybe if Alfa does make a Giulia Spyder and the upcoming Dodge RWD midsize based on the Giulia gets its own version, I'd be interested in that.
     
  9. aldo90731

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    For me, a convertible needs to have frameless doors to get that open-air motoring experience, and those sleeker lines.

    I have owned Wranglers for almost 10 years, and I still have to bother removing the top for those reasons. Same thing would apply to a Fiat 500 cabrio.

    A topless Wrangler with half doors looks good, though. I’d just need to learn to live with no roll-up windows.
     
    #9 aldo90731, Dec 6, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  10. ImperialCrown

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    The LX/LC has been a 4-dr sedan, station wagon (Magnum) and a hardtop coupe (Challenger). It also had an extended wheelbase 4dr sedan variant.
    The ASC Helios came close to being a 4dr LX convertible, but was not produced:
    http://www.automobilemag.com/news/asc-helios/
    Structural rigidity is important in crash safety and body quietness more than it was and this was likely a big reason that it remained a concept or idea car.
    The PT Cruiser convertible had the 'sports bar' roll bar/body stiffener to help it get by. Some owners have claimed they removed the bar with no ill effects.
    The K and J body convertibles were designed to be a convertible from the start instead of being a coupe with the top chopped off. This really helped improve the car as a convertible. Gussets were added to the unibody joints to improve torsional stiffness.
    I still have fond memories of the Prowler convertible.
     
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  11. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Well-Known Member

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    Agree! My 98 JXI was Platinum with the gold trimmed wheels. The last great looking vert model Mopar made.
     
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  12. Erik Latranyi

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    Mustang convertible sales are down, but they are popular in the rental fleets
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Socially Unacceptable
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    Rented a Sebring in 2001. Loved it. Still look to see if there are any decent used Sebrings around, but given that they're almost teenagers at best, I'm hesitant to get one.
     
  14. redriderbob

    redriderbob Mopar Guru!
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    Next generation Challenger will bve offered in a convertible according to my sources. FCA even showed off a convertible to dealers in 2015 of the next generation Challenger.
     
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  15. AmbassadorSST

    AmbassadorSST Member

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    As the car market shifts to CUV's and SUV's the incentive for any automaker to build a convertible is negated. The Buick Cascada is a prime example of how bad the "convertible" market is in the US.

    Sure the Camaro, Mustang, and next gen Challenger will offer a drop top, but those cars are a different breed from the standard "Sebring/Cascada" type convertible.
     
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  16. Erik Latranyi

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    Do not be surprised if we see more efforts like this:

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    .

    Not being a Convertible kinda guy, I'd prefer to have a power retractable Hard Top style vehicle rather than a true Rag Top :


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Secretly, I always thought this was the best approach to the convertible urge.

    .
     
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  18. NWbyNW

    NWbyNW Active Member

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    Better question is... will we ever see another Chrysler product? :(
     
  19. AmbassadorSST

    AmbassadorSST Member

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    Nissan decided to make something nobody was asking for...mission accomplished Nissan. :D
     
  20. jimboy

    jimboy Well-Known Member

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    That was one butt ugly vehicle, with no redeeming factors at all! Horrid looks, lousy utility, whoever ran their customer clinics should be working in recycling!
     

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