Short of a last-minute intervention by another automaker, the young Dodge Dart will die this month.
The 4-year, 4-month-old compact sedan was the firstborn child of a shotgun marriage between Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler, as a way to help the American automaker recover from a debilitating 2009 bankruptcy.
It was born carrying the weight of heavy expectations.
"There's a danger that if this thing flops, that it's going to taint everything I do from here on in," CEO Sergio Marchionne said in January 2012, a few months before the start of production. The automaker had planned to build at least seven other vehicles on the same platform as the Dart; only two others made it to production.
The death of the Dart and the upcoming production end for sibling Chrysler 200 evoke uncomfortable memories of pre-bankruptcy Chrysler.
Before the 2008 crash, the automaker had a product lineup filled with pickups, SUVs and minivans. A sharp spike in fuel prices left many Americans questioning the rationale of commuting to work in large, gas-guzzling, off-roading vehicles. When demand for fuel-efficient vehicles spiked, Chrysler had little to offer, and its sales collapsed.