To fans of Chrysler’s (FIATY.PK) new 200 sedan who were looking forward to seeing a topless variation, we will sadly be the bearer of bad news. Along with the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler 200 convertible and Dodge’s midsize sedan will not be seeing production for 2015.
According to Edmunds, the convertible version of the 200 accounted for just 5 percent or less of Chrysler’s 200 total volume in 2013, as total sales for the model fell at 122,480 (implying that convertible sales made up just more than 6,000 units). ”We decided we’d be putting our best foot forward by concentrating all of our available resources into the sedan versus dividing them between the sedan and a convertible,” a Chrysler spokesperson told Edmunds.
Furthermore, the investment needed to turn the new model into a convertible wouldn’t have been worthwhile, as the new car would need substantial changes to accommodate a removable roof.
“We’d have to re-engineer the rear of the car because now we need a new deck lid … and inside the convertible, we’d have to add quite a bit of structure into the A-pillars and sills,” Doug Verley, chief engineer of the Chrysler 200, said to Edmunds. “We’d want to give the customer a similar driving experience to the 2015 200 sedan. And on a convertible, we’d have to create that same torsional stiffness without a roof structure.”
And perhaps in order to preserve sales of the new Dart, Dodge will be removing the Avenger from its roster. The Avenger received a rather lukewarm reception and has struggled to stay competitive among other sedans in its class. Now, the Dart comes with several pieces of equipment that buyers can also get on the 200, and Dodge is increasingly wary about overlapping models on the showroom floor.
“Our long-term plans include moving away from ‘sister’ vehicles to reduce overlapping products in dealer showrooms,” Edmunds quoted a Dodge spokesperson as saying. The Avenger is scheduled to see its production end this quarter.
Edmunds further reports that none of the 200′s competition in the midsize sedan segment (the Camry, Accord, and Sonata, among others) offers a convertible variant, so it’s not like Chrysler is pulling a competitive model from the lineup — it was more of a surplus option to begin with.