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New 200, Dart may not be “captive imports”

by David Zatz on

Sergio Marchionne’s comments on replacing the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 with vehicles made by partners raised some hackles. However, recent comments suggest he was not talking about adding Dodge or Chrysler nameplates onto, say, Mitsubishi or GAC imports. On Friday, Mr. Marchionne said:

I’ve been public about the fact that we’re looking for a way to share the architecture with others. Somebody else will make the 200.

2016 Chrysler 200

This suggests that the company is seeking a partner to develop and build compact and mid-size cars using their existing platform or architecture — in short, to develop the Dart and 200 further.  Chances are that negotiations have already been under way.

The main shortcomings of the Dart, as far as most reviewers seem to be concerned, are in the powertrain. Next-generation engines and the existing nine-speed automatic should take care of that, and boost the 200’s sales as well; and production in a lower-cost plant may help on pricing, while letting FCA maximize production of Jeeps, Rams, and upcoming new Dodges and Chryslers.

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