Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to replace the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 with vehicles built under contract by other automakers faces long odds.
Can you name a captive import (a car built by one automaker, but sold by another) or rebadged car that has been successful? There are very few. The closest that comes to mind is the 1970-78 Mercury Capri. Ford Motor Co. sold more than 500,000 of the Europe-built sport coupes in the United States. The Mercury Capri was a rebadged version of the Ford Capri. More recently, the Pontiac Vibe, a twin of the Toyota Corolla Matrix, sold well in its 2002-10 run.
It has been a while since an automaker has tried to sell rebadged vehicles on a large scale. Hopefully FCA officials have reviewed history and understand that just popping Chrysler and Dodge badges on vehicles already for sale here very likely won’t work.
That sort of “badge engineering” rarely has.