Chrysler Kaput

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Fiat has put a hit out on Chrysler. Kissed both cheeks – then one right on the lips.

Tonight, you sleep with the fishes.

Well, maybe not tonight.

But about three years from now.

2020.

It will be that long – at least – until Fiat commits any cash to a major redesign of Chrysler’s aging rear-drive 300 sedan.fishes

Two “sources” within the Italian automotive combine told the trade publication Automotive News this evil news – sotto voce – last week.

See here.

Which means the same evil news for Dodge’s also aging Charger sedan and Challenger coupe.

Which is really bad news, because all share a common “platform” – the industry-speak term for a chassis/frame. All three received their last major update back in 2011 – already six years in the rearview. By 2020, they will have been basically the same car for nearly 10 years.

Which means, they probably aren’t going to be updated. Which means it is likely they are going to be cancelled.

No car company leaves a car to rot on the vine like this unless they’ve already decided there is no future for that car.17-300-images

In which case, there appears to be no future for Chrysler.

As of 2017, it has just two models to offer buyers and only of them – the Pacifica minivan – is remotely new. The 200 sedan has already been “hit” – cancelled prematurely after less than three years on the market (and despite selling well; see here for more about that).

Which leaves the 300.

It’s a death sentence for Chrysler.cement-shoes

Almost nothing to sell – and what they have to sell is nothing new. Not next year. Not the year after that. Or the next year.

By which time, you should be able to get a really good deal on a “new” 2018 Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger or Challenger.

But why?

These are not unpopular cars. Of course, the same was true of the 200. But the 300 and Charger and Challenger are the only cars still available with rear-wheel-drive and V8 power at a price point average Americans can afford.

And there you have your answer.

It’s not Fiat that’s putting the cement shoes on Chrysler.

It’s Uncle.uncle-pic

The “contract” being the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) mandates.

These are set to go up to a demented 50-plus MPG – unless Trump intervenes – by model year 2025. And the only way V8 (and V6) powered large sedans and coupes like the 300, Charger and Challenger are going to come within tire iron-throwing distance of 50-something MPG is by riding on a flatbed.

One powered by a Prius.

It’s not surprising that Fiat – a predominantly European cartel that specializes in tiny, high-economy cars, isn’t going to commit the funds to extend the production run of big, not-so-economical cars which will drag its overall CAFE numbers down like seawater did the Titanic. Plus they will be a hard sell to average Americans on account of the “gas guzzer” fines EPA will hit the company with, which will be tacked onto the sticker price of the offending vehicles. Which means they’d sell fewer.

This will cost Fiat money.

Which matters to a car company.

Remember: It’s FiatChrysler. The money comes from Italy, ultimately – not Detroit.

So – unless the fuel economy fatwas are repealed … it is last call.fca-badge

You have maybe three years to buy one of the last American cars.

Which Fiat never had much enthusiasm for, regardless.

Though the Italians own the company, the 300/Charger/Challenger predate the capo regime. Fiat inherited them – like the Axis powers inherited the French fleet after the surrender at Compiegne.  Chrysler was desperate – having been sucked dry of cash by ex-partner Mercedes-Benz. Fiat saw an opportunity to gain access – not to the fleet – but to Chrysler’s dealer network.

The 300/Charger/Challenger were war booty, so to speak.

The Italian overlords were glad to rake in the coin for as long as these cars sold well. But committing coin to updating them when there exists the real likelihood of it costing them more coin than they’d gain… well… you see the problem.

The rear-drive platform on which these big handsome lugs are built is the kind of platform most American cars used to be built on. But which almost none are built on any longer, except for a handful of high-dollar units like Cadillacs (and those are now almost entirely V8-free).

Because of CAFE. 17-challenger

Everything else that’s affordable (because CAFE-compliant or at least friendly) is front-wheel-drive and- typically – powered by a small, turbocharged four cylinder engine.

The people who can still afford to spend $40,000 and more will still be able to buy rear-drive cars (and for another $10k or so, a rear-drive car with a V8). These cars will be built in small batches by prestige-brand manufacturers (Benz, BMW, etc.) who don’t have to sweat CAFE because their customers don’t sweat the MSRP.

But Chrysler is an odd duck. It is the only brand selling rear-drive (and V8s) in large numbers – and for a sum still small enough to be within financing range of an average person with an OK job.

So long as that remains true – the part about being within financing range – average Americans will continue to buy cars like the 300, the Charger and Challenger. But when CAFE compliance costs (and gas guzzler taxes) push the sticker up to par with the prestige-branded stuff, it’s not going to work.

Fiat realizes this.

It’s why the public announcement (by proxy and off-record but nonetheless done very deliberately) that nothing much will be done to update any of these cars before at least 2020.

At which time they will likely be retired, for good.

It’s nothing personal.

It’s just business.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. I’m so glad I got my 2016 Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Shaker this year. It looks like guys like me who dream of owning real muscle cars of the type that prowled the streets in our youth, will be SOL in a few years. Thanks for nothing, Uncle.

  2. CAFE was designed to limit choice. It’s how things are done here. Control freaks couldn’t just discourage people from buying big cars like they do in europe they had remove the possibility of buying them.

    I still believe CAFE numbers will become a farce like the 55mph NMSL compliance data. That or we’ll get used to paying the tax.

  3. If the conditions Chrysler finds itself continue, there is no real reason to keep the Chrysler nameplate (or Dodge for that matter). They may need to let them go in order to save Jeep and the RAM nameplates which still have some value in the new world order. Bringing back the Fiat nameplate to the US is largely a failure too.

    I wonder what would change with CAFE regulations if Chrysler left the car business altogether. Become a light truck only builder. The regulations are different for companies not offering a full line of vehicles aren’t they?

    It’s not like Chrysler would have the resources to develop a full line of vehicles anymore once Fiat cuts it lose. Once the 300, Charger and Challenger are gone it won’t have any cars anyone even wants. They should just build trucks.

  4. eric: “These are set to go up to a demented 50-plus MPG – unless Trump intervenes – …”

    U.S. presidents take an oath to the Constitution – the only oath they take. 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    No powers have been delegated with the legitimate authority to regulate any business. Haven’t found where dictatorial power is given either.

    • Plusbig problem is that the Supreme Court decided early on that *they* would decide what the Constitution means at any given time. Nobody stopped the out-of-control Court, and at this point this power which was never granted to them is etched in stone.

      Since we have a cadre of nine black-robed perverts deciding what the Constitution means, the document is essentially meaningless. The swarm of officers currently eating out our substance derive their “authority” primarily from the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Interstate Commerce and General Welfare clauses. These have been distorted to the point where they are expansive rather than restrictive, the latter being what was originally intended.

      The expansion of the scope of these clauses gives the green light to virtually unlimited federal power. (If you fart, the gases might cross a state line which makes you subject to regulation.)

      • Government will never restrict itself – its business is impoverishing the sheeple, apparently including GM, Chrysler, and Volkswagen.

        Reform must come from We The People. The best hope is petit juries and independent grand juries (not run by prosecutors) – which currently are not functioning as designed. There has been some limited success through nullification.

        RE: Grand Juries –

        DUTY OF THE “Independent” GRAND JURY – “If anyone’s unalienable rights have been violated, or removed, without a legal sentence of their peers, from their lands, home, liberties or lawful right, we [the twenty-five] shall straightway restore them. And if a dispute shall arise concerning this matter it shall be settled according to the judgment of the twenty-five Grand Jurors, the sureties of the peace. MAGNA CARTA, JUNE 15, A.D. 1215, 52.”

    • The Constitution, that worthless rag, hasn’t ever stopped the Federal Government from doing exactly what it wants. Really have to agree with Shrub on his statement declaring it to be a G D piece of paper. Without enforcement the Constitution literally has no teeth.

      On another note, one of my pet peeves is when people use the english language improperly. Read an essay by Joachim Hagopian about Soros, Clinton and the media colluding to enact regime change in the US.

      Hagopian uses the term anarchy incorrectly in several places which is problematic because he really means chaos or terror. As everybody here knows anarchy does necessarily result in chaos, mayhem or terror. Using Anarchy to denote those action is sloppy use of language and leaves the individual with the perception that lack of government is a bad condition to be avoided. Nothing, in my opinion, could be further from the truth. Government, from my experience, is usually the fomenter of terror, mayhem and chaos among the people so it can point to the violence and say, “See, that is why you NEED US!”

      When individuals use language improperly such as in Hagopian’s case, it should be incumbent on liberty supporting and freedom loving people to make the authors aware of the errors. This help them to avoid repeating them in the future.

      In Liberty,

      David Ward
      Memphis, Tennessee

    • Hi Liberty,

      Certainly. But the Constitution is worse than a nullity. Rather than restricting the government in any meaningful way, it has – as designed – provided the pretext for open-ended, effectively unlimited government.

      Hamilton was an evil bastard. But not a dummy.

      • But, it is necessary to stop the tyranny. Most of us know the problems (chapter & verse) – solutions are needed, and won’t come from government. Fully Informed Jury Association (jury nullification) is one: http://www.fija.org No victim = no crime

        “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
        -Edmund Burke

        • The state will do everything in its power to keep that from happening. Just like the state now arrests anyone handing out FIJA flyers charging them with jury tampering. Never mind the fact that the person that received the pamphlet was not called for JD. Never mind the document doesn’t actually tell a prospective juror how to vote. The fact the document informs a juror of his ability to judge GASP! THE LAW!. The state wrongfully says, “hey that is the priest in the black dresses job DAMMIT AND DON’T FORGET IT!”

          In Liberty,

          David Ward
          Memphis, Tennessee

          P.S. The beatings will continue until morale improves. Paraphrasing the line from the DOI, People will tend to suffer the evils of government until it is to late then it will be impossible to change.

          All that is necessary is for brainwashed men to do exactly what the indoctrinator demands.

          First in today’s context define “Good Man”. What passes for men today are sissified wimps that have never been treated as losers! They all got participation awards for just showing up so the winners couldn’t gloat. Damn the government and their enablers.
          I leave you with a passage from START REK (as I like to call it) by Dr. McCoy, “I’ve found that evil usually triumphs – unless good is very, very careful.”

          • Hi David,

            Naturally.

            The law is only defended by the state when it benefits the state.

            It is why, as an example,the General Welfare clause is “interpreted” most liberally while the specific language of the 2A and 4A and 5A (and others) is liberally ignored.

            It is why neither The Chimp nor Hillary will ever receive so much as a fine while people such as you and I would be in prison for doing far less.

            Point being, there is no law.

            Just the arbitrary force of the state.

            The whole business is illegitimate, evil.

            • The crimes of interpretation of the Constitution are even more egregious than you describe. It is an iron rule of contract interpretation that amendments to a contract (the Constitution is a contract between the states and the federal government) prevail when in tension with the body of the contract.

              Thus, while the Feds may regulate interstate commerce by dint of that general grant of authority, they may do so only so long as they do not infringe on the peoples’s right to keep and bear arms, which of course was written into the contract as an amendment to it.

              The language of the amendment prevails-plain and simple. This is not esoteric law theory. But when the result of the plain reading of the document results in limiting the power of the government…well the government doesn’t like that so… esoteric theories of constitutional interpretation prevail.

              That’s how “shall not be infringed” comes to mean “reasonable” infringing is OK when we (SCOTUS) say so.

              The Constitution, as a matter of law, means whatever 5 justices say it means.

              • Well-said, Poolside –

                Every time I think about this business I am baffled by it. But then, I remember. Most people can’t read. Not quite literally. But, meaningfully. They have been taught to be very imprecise with words. With logic. A given word has a vague, constantly shifting meaning – that meaning determined by a kind of collective osmosis. You “get the drift” and the word is used accordingly. It is not necessary to formally announce the new meaning. It just sort of happens.

                Examples include liberal and fascist.

                These are words used often – and either differently or incorrectly.

                A liberal was once a person who believed that people ought to be let alone; that government, if it has any role, ought to have a very minimal and background role in human affairs. That it was tyrannical to control other people, to interfere in their lives, to deprive them of their property in order to fund things they abhorred.

                We all know what is meant by liberal today.

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