The Most Pathetic Manufacturing Defect I've Ever Seen in a New Car Was in a Chrysler 200

Photo: FCA. Art: Jason Torchinsky

Coined by Toyota, there’s a term in the automotive industry called “Poka Yoke,” which basically means establishing a manufacturing process so that it’s essentially error-proof. One way this can be done is by designing a part so it can only be installed in the correct orientation. Well, it appears that whoever designed the Chrysler 200's door panel didn’t get that memo.

To be fair, whoever designed this part definitely knows all about Poka Yoke; I know this because I wasn’t in manufacturing when I worked at Fiat Chrysler (I was working in the Advanced AeroThermal team for the Jeep Wrangler), and even I knew about it.

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Still, you can’t expect me not to point out a hilarious flaw I noticed in my friend’s 2015 Chrysler 200, his very first new car:

This is the passenger’s side door panel, and the left side of the image is forward in the vehicle (you can see the base of the dashboard on the bottom left of that picture). In case it’s not obvious by the fact that the locks and the term “auto” are upside down, here’s an official press image showing the correct orientation of that switch panel:

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I guess it’s possible that the dealer did some work to the car prior to selling it, but my friend’s 200 was new, so I’m inclined to think that this was indeed an assembly-related flaw. And I think we can agree that, even if this can be fixed by simply yanking the switch panel up and flipping it 180 degrees, this is pretty sad.

Otherwise, the Chrysler 200—may the car gods rest its soul—was actually a decent car. It had a nice, comfortable interior, looked pretty good on the outside, and scored pretty solid highway fuel economy. It was a solid machine, an early casualty of the SUV apocalypse killing sedans left and right.

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My friend is actually not the least bit bothered by this upside down panel, and actually kind of likes it. He tells me it makes his vehicle unique.

Who knows, maybe when the 200 becomes a classic (since it was only made for a few model years), his “misprint” model will be highly desirable. (This is unlikely).

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio