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PT Cruiser to end 8-year run

by David Zatz on

Chrysler President Tom LaSorda has announced the end of Chrysler PT Cruiser production, as of this summer, according to Bloomberg News. The company is looking for a buyer for the tooling (which presumably would not be all the buyer would need, since the Journey is built on the same line), to keep the PT in production somewhere else. LaSorda said there had so far been no offers to buy the tooling, but that Chrysler would start pursuing a buyer soon. The previous generation Sebring and Stratus, which some consider superior to the current versions, is currently produced in Russia, using tooling sold by Chrysler to a Russian firm.

The PT Cruiser was a major sales and styling success, blunted by numerous mis-steps. Originally designed to be a lightweight, low-cost entry-level Plymouth, the car was re-engineered to meet Mercedes’ safety and other desires, and re-branded when the idea of a “retro-styled” Plymouth line was abandoned. The car was still a runaway success, tripling its planned production numbers, despite a 2003 “de-contenting.” Its sales started to decline shortly after a midlife “refresh” which seemed to center around cost savings in the seats, air vents, and front air dam, though the refresh added sound insulation and answered complaints about gauge readability. The PT Cruiser still has a following, but thanks partly to disdain from within DaimlerChrysler, its once golden reputation has become rather tarnished, and AutoBlog in particular has repeatedly dismissed the car as worthless.

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