For the last ten years, the Chrysler PT Cruiser has inspired both love and hate. The compact design and retro look made the PT Cruiser one of the biggest moneymakers for Chrysler company. By 2008, though, the car was put on life support. The final PT Cruiser is rolling off the line, and the 10-year history of the car is coming to a close.
The start of the PT Cruiser
The PT Cruiser was originally introduced by Chrysler in 2000. Some credit the retro styling of the PT cruiser with kicking off the styling trend of vehicles. Sales of the PT Cruiser were originally very high, and the car made money for Daimler-Chrysler. In 2005, the vehicle was redesigned, a convertible coupe was added and turbo engines were an option. Limited editions with cosmetic changes were also added.
The sales decline of the PT Cruiser
In late 2007 and early 2008, Chrysler began discussing a possible full re-design of a second-generation PT Cruiser. The company decided against it, though, and instead let advertising and attention to the PT Cruiser drop. By 2009, sales of the Cruiser were down to just 50,000 a year. During bankruptcy proceedings, Cerberus Capital Management decided to discontinue the vehicle. The remaining parts and pieces for the PT Cruiser would be used, but no additional parts would be ordered. This announcement led to sales of PT Cruisers tanking even further.
A second life for the PT Cruiser factory
Since Cerberus Capital Management, the former owner of Chrysler, decided to cancel the PT Cruiser, Fiat has partnered with Chrysler. The employees that have been finishing out the Chrysler PT Cruiser are not going to lose their jobs. Instead, the plant in Toluca, Mexico will be building the Fiat 500C. The re-tooling and retraining of the factory will take at least six months, but Fiat is hoping to re-create the PT Cruiser’s success. Chrysler will be focusing instead on more traditionally styled and popular sedans and vehicles.