It hasn't been all sunshine and lollipops in FCA world despite beautiful Maserati concepts and the Jeep Renegade we suddenly can't wait for. Sergio and company still have this issue of moving compact cars and the Dodge Dart still isn't doing the job.
Chrysler had to lay off 325 workers at its Belvidere, Ill., plant where the Dart is assembled. The layoff was planned, according to the Rockford Register Star, but the hammer came down after February sales results were announced. It was a mostly positive month for Fiat-Chrysler, except Dart sales which were down.
The problem with Dart isn't so much the car itself and we all know this. It's the fact that people have been buying Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas for so long they're not sure what to make of a Chrysler compact.
But the other issue is that potential Dodge buyers are buying up as many Avengers as they can before they run out. Enthusiasts may hate the 200/Avenger, but The Average Consumer doesn't. And when you kill production of the Avenger and current 200 and still have a bunch leftover, dealers are going to sell them for cheap. Cheaper than a Dart.
One could argue that Chrysler's plans for a Dart were too ambitious to begin with; the plant that builds them runs on three shifts, which led to inevitable overproduction. For Chrysler's sake, let's hope that the strategy of killing the Avenger (and raising the price of the 200) in favor of the Dart works.
Or maybe just bring over a Dart hatch? People like the Focus hatch. Can't we have an alternative?