DETROIT -- Six months ago this week, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne laid out a strategy in which his company would outsource production of its compact and midsize sedans to make room to build more pickups and SUVs.
Dealers were assured they would continue to have products to sell to consumers still in the market for a Dodge Dart or Chrysler 200. FCA declared in January that it would "solidify partnering opportunities" to maintain a presence in those segments. Marchionne said a deal would be done "hopefully, in a relatively short period of time."
Now those assurances look far less certain.
FCA has been unsuccessful in persuading another manufacturer to build the Dart and 200 after the two cars go out of production this year.
Dart production will end in September so that its assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill., can be retooled to build the Jeep Cherokee. Production of the Chrysler 200 is scheduled to end in late December to allow FCA's assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., to be retooled for production of the body-on-frame 2018 Ram 1500, as Automotive News reported.
An FCA spokesman said the automaker has no announcement to make about plans for the Dart and 200. Indeed, it's possible FCA won't find another manufacturer willing to build them.
Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific, said lack of manufacturing capacity is constraining all automakers and there's "no room at the inn" for the Dart and 200.
"No one wants to build sedans when their own capacity is at a premium and they can't build enough crossovers to satisfy demand," Sullivan said.
Because the Dart and 200 have not sold well, he asked: "Who would want to commit to that capacity in their own plant when they didn't sell well when they were new?"