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Chrysler stops production of the very retro and popular PT Cruiser

By Rigval on 13 Jul 2010

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Retro cars are pretty 'in' nowadays. The reinvention of the Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500 was super successful. The Volkswagen 'New' Beetle is also a hit with the ladies even though it is in need of a model change as it has been around for almost 7million years. Yes. 7 million years if you take into account how fast manufacturers make changes to models nowadays. There have been retro flops too. The Jaguar S-Type is one of them. Too retro for its own good I say and that is why its replacement, the Jaguar XF is a beautiful modern looking car.

Anyway, one retromobile that has recently stopped its production is the Chryslet PT Cruiser. The PT Cruiser , of which 'PT' stands for Personal Transport, is a retro styled compact automobile that was first launched by Chrysler as a 4-door sedan/hatchback in late 1999. On the 9th of July 2010 Chrysler had rolled off the last PT Cruiser at its assembly line in Toluca, Mexico, after building a total of 1.3million PT Cruisers including 200,000 units outside of the United States (and in right hand drive too).

One of the reasons given by Chrysler is that the PT Cruiser sales have shrunk from over 125,000 units to a figure slightly under 7,000 units for the first 6 months of this year. With Chrysler barely surviving the recent global credit crunch with the U.S Government's help and with the very recent takeover by Fiat, this now slow selling car was taken out of production without any official announcement and hoohah by Chrysler.

The car isn't without its fans. 1.3million units produced means that there was a lot of people interested in the car. Many blame Chrysler for not taking this car seriously or putting more money into a proper redesign. The Detroit News had reported that “the PT Cruiser was unloved by management, and suffered from benign neglect. (The people who thought of this car) had to fight the chairman to get the program approved. Many other models were planned, but never came to fruition. Other than Brian Nesbitt, Design hated the car because they felt their job was to move the state-of-the-art forward, whether the customer likes it or not.”

Whether the customer likes it or not? Imagine that. Maybe that is why large American cars companies fail. They do not listen to what the customers want.

The New York Times also wrote; “The end comes over a million cars and one decade after the beginning. PT Cruiser demand stayed high until the 2006 redesign, which included cheapened, hardened seats, a cheaper air dam, and a more generic interior.” The report then stated that “(Chrysler) executives frequently denigrated the PT in front of reporters, playing it as a fad, unworthy of the attention. While highly profitable, it did not conform to the Daimler (then largest shareholder and partner of Chrysler) strategy of using Mitsubishi designs for smaller vehicles and Mercedes designs for larger ones, and had numerous rounds of de-contenting even in the first generation.”

How sad. The car was popular, but was treated like an adopted child by its actual parents. Even if it was one of the most profitable cars ever made by them.

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Chrysler, PT Cruiser, retro cars and 1 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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