Chrysler officially extends PT Cruiser's lifespan by another year

Chrysler sold 50,910 PT Cruisers last year but so far this year the automaker has only managed to move 8,591 units

Chrysler sold 50,910 PT Cruisers last year but so far this year the automaker has only managed to move 8,591 units

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On the back of falling sales and a model run that has lasted more than nine years, Chrysler decided back in January to end production of the PT Cruiser by the middle of this year. In June, we brought you word that the retro-styled wagon would live on for at least another year, and now Chrysler has made the news official.

The rather brief official announcement made it plain that Chrysler isn't just sticking with the PT Cruiser for its good looks, but because it thinks the car is a successful and desirable model.

“The heritage-styled Chrysler PT Cruiser continues to be a global success story,” said Peter Fong, President and Chief Executive Officer – Chrysler Brand and Lead Executive for the Sales Organization, Chrysler Group LLC. “With more than 1.3 million PT Cruisers sold in more than 60 countries since 2000, we’re excited to announce we’re re-energizing the iconic and award-winning PT Cruiser.”

Back in June, Marchionne told Automotive News that production could continue at the car’s Toluca plant in Mexico, and that's exactly what will happen.

Released in 2000 with retro looks and an affordable price, the PT Cruiser immediately became an icon for many, allowing dealers to inflate their prices to suit the demand. Fast forward to today and the car remains almost untouched, barring subtle styling changes made in 2006. Sales peaked in 2001, with numbers reaching 144,717 units. Last year Chrysler sold 50,910 units but so far this year the automaker has only managed to move 8,591 units.

Keeping such an old vehicle in its lineup may appear an odd move for Chrysler but it’s important to note that the car still sells with essentially zero marketing costs and the tooling required to build it has been fully paid off.
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Comments (9)
  1. I really had no idea they were still even making these. Seems like a mistake to continue offering an unpopular car just because the new CEO is fond of it. Who knows, if Sergio really likes it, maybe we'll see a 2nd generation PT on the Fiat 500 platform. Retro car based on a retro car, anyone?

  2. I am reminded of a line from Julius Caesar: *the evil that men do lives after them...*. Here's an automotive abomination that shouldn't even have come into existence and now it's ready to live on. And then they wonder why Chrysler is in such a shithole.

  3. I have only this to say regarding the PT Cruiser; This is the best and most practical car design I ever had? I am strugling to find an replacement for my 2001. Probably PT 2009 again? My 9feet kayak fits right inside!
    The seat configurations and versatility... and yet that charming look and smile; Chrysler's marketinmg never truly understood the possibilities of this original and well thought design.
    I regret the most that the PT "station-wagon", as the panel truck and then, the California cruiser, did't made it into production... Believer, the original designer moved to GM to produce the original PT-wagon - under the GM Chevrolet brand name HHR. To bad that nose is so flat.
    Any kit to add a PT grid to it?
    Surprise: It sells rather well! All seating arrangements from PT was kept - as many original design details. Especially the commercial version of this panel van... It is great to see that Europeans can see behind the US chrome and hp lovers...
    Welcome, FIAT! Yes, I believe that new PT will see a future. I be first in line to get one.

    Martin, industrial designer

  4. I'm absolutely with Hector on this one. I can only assume Martan never tried a Honda element (or even a Honda Fit), which both drive better than the PT Cruiser and are even more practical.
    The PT Cruiser has the honour of being the rental car I refuse to accept. It's piggish economy, lousy turning circle, terrible suspension, appalling visibility and cheap interior just don't do it for me. In other words, without even considering the love it or hate it looks, it's still a terrible car.

  5. Well said, Roy. I too have refused this car as a rental. What may have started as a somewhat whimsical car now just looks like a sad old joke. I know Chrysler needs to push old metal until the new Fuars arrive, bur are they really this desperate?

  6. Oops, I meant to type Fiats. Darn iPhone...

  7. The PT Cruiser's classic design should NOT be messed with!
    Now that sales have slumped, Chrysler should put the headlights, dashboard and door panels back the way they were, as those "changes" were a waste of money, and may even have turned off some buyers. That money would have been better spent boosting the PT's engine performance and mileage, as that's the most important thing on this car that needs improving.

  8. personally I'm glad their keeping it up.. the alternative is a breadbox with rounded edges...
    the only things I'd recommend changing are put in a rear wheel drive v-6 with 200hp and 260 torque, better steering wheel and seat combo ( feels like the seats are made of boards of wood and the wheel is buried in the dash) and make a light truck version.... that category could use some originality....
    other than that: good sound (limited and touring), plenty of room, visibility is great, and small size helps dealing with city traffic.

  9. "Surprisingly, after exiting bankruptcy court in July, Chrysler decided to keep the PT alive through the end of 2010 when new models start arriving."
    Try not surprising. Chrysler needs smaller cars to tide them over until the Fiats arrive. People are still buying PTs (or rental lots, either way...). The plants are there, so costs are low. Wasn't that the general consensus in the last PT post?

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