American automakers have been making the shift to electric cars, and debuting plenty of new models for the changing times. Everyone except Chrysler, that is, who seems to be loosening their grip on the American market. In fact, the FCA, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Ram, sold 1.8 million cars in 2020. Of that chunk, Chrysler branded cars made up just 110,000 units. And other than low sales, Chrysler is slipping in these major categories.
The FCA group has been the least fuel-efficient car manufacture since 2012
In an era where emissions and fuel efficiency are a top concern of many new car buyers, the fact that the FCA group has been the least fuel-efficient manufacturer for 9 years running is staggering. If you look on page 11, table 2.2 of the EPA‘s 2020 report, you’ll find the FCA’s streak for taking the least fuel-efficient spot.
On top of that, the average real-world fuel efficiency rating for the group across all their cars ended up being 21.8 mpg. And before you say it’s not fair to consider the entire FCA’s lineup when talking about Chrysler, since they have brands like Jeep and Dodge with cars that drink loads of fuel, Chrysler isn’t much better.
The vehicle with the best fuel efficiency is, obviously, the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. It can get up to 82 MPGe thanks to its hybrid powertrain. But the other two models, the regular Chrysler Pacifica and the Chrysler 300, all have a combined city/highway efficiency of 23 mpg or less. The thirstiest car in the lineup is the AWD eight-cylinder Chrysler 300, which has a combined economy of 19 mpg.
But fuel efficiency isn’t always a dealbreaker for people. Sometimes, more power and AWD if worth the extra fuel costs. However, not even Chrysler’s customers are completely satisfied.
The Chrysler brand is the lowest rated in terms of customer satisfaction
The American Customer Satisfaction Index recently reported the 2021 customer satisfaction levels across every major automaker. And out of 100 points, Chrysler scored just 70. For perspective, Honda, which came out on top, scored 82 out of 100. What’s even sadder, however, is that Chrysler is being beaten by Mitsubishi, which scored one point higher than the American brand.
There were many categories taken into account across the nearly 5,000 random participants. These categories included safety, dependability, driving performance, exterior, interior, comfort, warranty, gas mileage, and technology. Clearly, Chrysler’s low fuel economy played a part in the lower customer satisfaction score. But finishing last in a study where all those categories are considered doesn’t make the brand look very good.
Chrysler seems to be falling apart on paper. They just three cars left in the lineup (two if you consider the Pacifica and the Pacifica Hybrid the same car). So how is the company staying afloat?
Is the Chrysler brand going to survive?
While this is more speculative, I’d guess Chrysler is going to go the way of the Pontiac. They’ll be defunct within the coming years, especially since they’ve shown zero initiative to go electric. Jeep has produced the 4xE, and Fiat has the 500e available in Europe. Even Dodge announced an electric muscle car, poking fun at the Mach-E for morphing into an SUV. But Chrysler has stuck with the same three cars for a couple of years now, with no real hit as to expanding the lineup.
It’ll be a sad day when Chrysler, which is nearly 100 years old, finally closes up shop. Perhaps they’re waiting four more years to hit that mark before they end production. But in the meantime, the brand could at least try to step up its game. But only time will tell where the brand will end up.