The final Chrysler PT Cruiser will be built July 9, a Chrysler spokesman said. Chrysler has no one to blame but itself for the demise of the PT Cruiser. It did practically nothing to save the once-thriving product.The PT Cruiser was one of the more successful of the retro-styled vehicles that debuted in the past 10 years. Over 1.3 million PT Cruisers were produced since 2000, when the car went on sale.
The car's styling -- heavily influenced by the sedans of the 1930s -- and low price point once made it a must-have for many baby boomers. I know a handful of former owners of Japanese cars who coveted the PT Cruiser.
But PT Cruiser sales plummeted in recent years; so far this year, about 5,000 have been sold. The reason for the sales slide and the PT Cruiser's demise is simple: Chrysler did not invest in the car.
Many PT Cruiser owners waited patiently for a second generation, a car with new sheet metal, giving them a reason to buy another one.A styling theme from the '40s was talked about for a second generation, but it never materialized. Today's car not only looks and feels like the car introduced in 2000, it IS the car that was introduced in 2000.
Would a second-generation PT Cruiser have been as successful as the original? No. But I think 325,000 second-generation PT Cruisers could have been sold over five years.
And that would have met the goal back in 2000 of 65,000 U.S. sales a year.