The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

So Jalopnik linked to an Edmunds article on Chrysler's decision to can the 200 convertible after the current Mitsubishi-based shitcan gets pensioned off later this year. As I posted in the FP thread, one of the main problems is, inexplicably, a pricing problem.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

The 200's Sebring and LeBaron predecessors were always strong sellers, particularly for rental fleets. However, as the cars became less and less competitive and desirable over the last 15 years, sales fell steadily to nothing.

The FWD 2014 Chrysler 200 convertible, with the 2.4L 4cyl engine, a canvas top and cloth interior, has a base price of $27,950. This for a car that's based on a Mitsubishi Lancer platform shared with the Outlander Sport, Compass, Patriot, Avenger, Journey, and the (thankfully) departed Caliber and last-gen Outlander. A platform that dates to 2006. Because of parts sharing across the line, tooling should be cheap.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

To compare, the 2014 Mustang V6 rides on its own platform not shared with another Ford vehicle besides the Mustang coupe. It's got a RWD chassis, which is also inherently more expensive to build than a mass-produced FWD platform like the 200's. It's got two extra cylinders from a V6 that's newer than the four in the 200. And yet it starts at $27,510. You can get one for $440 less than the 4cyl Chrysler! The automatic (which comes standard on the Chrysler) pushes the base price up to $28,780.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

So with the Chrysler, you get a crappier platform, 2 fewer cylinders, 132hp less, wrong wheel drive, and 1mpg less in the city, on the highway, and combined.

One of the reasons the Chrysler costs so much is because its sheetmetal is unique aft of the A-pillar to its sedan counterpart. Chrysler hasn't made a coupe based on the same platform as the convertible since the 1993 LeBaron coupe was quitely dropped. The 1995-2005 Sebring coupes were all based on the Mitsubishi Eclipse, not the JA/JX body that the convertible was on. So Chrysler had to tool new doors, new rear fenders, and a new decklid and rear fasca. The Mustang shares these things with its coupe counterpart.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

The 200 is also expensive because it comes with two different convertible tops...canvas and metal. When we knew it as the Sebring, Chrysler offered it with a vinyl option, as well. So that adds production complexity, reduces economies of scale, and means the engineering for each top has had to be different. That all adds cost, as well.

But what's really doomed the 200 convertible, on top of the engine, fuel economy, performance, and price, is the styling. Convertibles sell on styling. People will see you in them. They need to look good. The 1982-86 LeBaron convertible had novelty on its side, since it was the first in the American market to return to the bodystyle since Cadillac abandoned it in '76. The 1987-95 version had sleek, aerodynamic styling that looked a lot fresher than the convertibles it competed with. The 1996-2000 was the pinnacle of Chrysler's revolutionary "Cab-Forward" design exercise and made every other car look 5-10 years old.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

But by 2001, the fallout from the DCX misadventure set in. The 2nd-gen Sebring convertible was a bunt, with styling that everyone else had caught up with. It was bland. When Chrysler added the hideous bitch basket of a PT convertible to the mix, sales slipped. And then they launched the current Mitsubishi-based car in 2007. So the styling went from great to bland to hideous in 3 generations.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

Meanwhile, the Mustang was shedding its Fox underpinnings, and embracing its most successful design phase since the original '65-70. At prices right up against the dowdy Chrysler's. Chevy jumped in with the jaw-dropping new Camaro, as well.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

By the time Chrysler got around to re-blandifying the Sebring and changed the name to '200', the die was cast. Rental fleets and retail customers didn't want an old, bland car with old tech and poor fuel economy, when, for the same money, customers could be seen in the eye-catching Mustang and Camaro instead, which were better cars, all-around.

The 200 convertible bites the dust. Here's why.

So Chrysler's decisions to disconnect the Sebring/200 from its coupe counterparts, their bad decisions on styling, pricing, internal competition, technology, and options conspired to killed the car off. Ford and GM simply offered better cars with better looks for the same money.