Chrysler 200 And Dodge Dart Facing The End Of The Road Photo:

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Tony O'Kane | Jul, 26 2016 | 3 Comments

Tight production capacity and low demand mean Fiat Chrysler’s small sedans – the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart – could face a premature death.

With FCA's Belvedere Illinois plant set to switch its production line over to building the popular Jeep Cherokee in September, the compact Dodge Dart has yet to find another assembly plant to call home.

Chrysler 200
Chrysler 200

It's a similar story for the Chrysler 200, which will be evicted from the company's Sterling Heights Michigan plant in December to make way for the hulking Ram 1500.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne outlined a plan to outsource production of both cars six months ago, however it appears both will be rendered homeless before the year is out. Slow sales haven't helped their cause, but the main culprit is a lack of capacity across North America's vast network of automotive assembly plants.

Chrysler 200
Chrysler 200

Speaking to US outlet Automotive News, industry analyst Dave Sullivan said there was little love for FCA's smallest four-doors.

"No one wants to build sedans when their own capacity is at a premium and they can't build enough crossovers to satisfy demand," Sullivan said to Automotive News

"Who would want to commit to that capacity in their own plant when they didn't sell well when they were new?"

It's bad news for FCA Australia, which currently has no presence in the lucrative small car segment - a segment which was worth nearly a quarter of a million sales last year. Even a small slice of that pie would bring a significant sales boost to the company's local arm.

Dodge Dart
Dodge Dart

It would also have allowed either brand to double the number of models offered: right now Chrysler and Dodge only sell one model apiece, with Chrysler offering the 300 large sedan and Dodge pushing the Journey seven-seat people mover.

Enthusiasm for both the Dart and the 200 has been lacking in Australia, though there was potential for next-generation versions of either car to come across the Pacific for local sale (a successor for the 200 was expected to be announced next year).

However with both cars now facing a murky future in their home market, don't count on seeing them in your local FCA showroom anytime soon.

Dodge Dart
Dodge Dart

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