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Today’s numbers are a bummer

Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014

* AP

Poor sales of the new Dodge Dart have pushed Chrysler to temporarily lay off 325 employees at the Belvidere assembly plant that produces the compact sedans in northern Illinois.

Chrysler Group LLC confirmed the layoffs Monday, hours after releasing February sales figures showing a 37 percent decline for the Dart, the Rockford Register Star reported. The layoffs will last through the rest of the week and affect employees on all of the plant’s three shifts.

Overall sales for the company rose 11 percent last month from February of last year, but the Dart has failed to keep up with long-established competitors in the compact sedan market since its debut in 2012.

In a written statement, Chrysler said the layoffs were necessary to “to balance vehicle supply with current sales demand.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Bring back the slant 6! Push button transmissions!

  2. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    The worker’s suffer when the boys in Italy decide to build a car to their tastes, but apparently not to American ones…

  3. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    Today Chrysler announced it would be more profitable to lay off workers than spend money on advertising and rebates to push sales of their flagging Dodge Dart model.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    I have peeps who work at the plant. They’d rather be making Rams then Darts. Trucks are where the money’s at these days.

  5. - PolPal56 - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Man, my first car was a 1972 avocado green Dodge Dart and I LOVED that car.

  6. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    “Trucks are where the money’s at these days. ”

    Yup. for sure.

  7. - A guy... - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    Bring back the Omni to Belvidere…and trucks.

  8. - titan - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    Chrysler has had longstanding issues with quality control and crafting fully modern cars. Fiat died off in the USA years back amid rampant quality control issues.

    The Dart’s segment is full of highly competent, very reliable, fully modern cars. Chrysler/Fiat are in a tough fight here, and it could go either way.

  9. - Judgment Day - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    From CNBC:

    “A combination of higher prices for new cars and relatively low rates for auto loans means Americans are borrowing a record amount to pay for their new rides.

    According to Experian Automotive, which tracks millions of auto loans written each quarter, the average amount borrowed by car buyers last quarter climbed above $27,000 for the first time ever.

    according to Experian, the average auto loan in fourth quarter 2013 was $27,430—an increase of $739 compared with the same period of 2012. The average used car loan was $345 higher, coming in at $17,974.

    Those (Buyers) with non-prime credit ratings—or credit scores between 620 and 679—had the highest average auto loan. For these borrowers, the average new car loan rose more than $1,500, to a new high of $29,385.

    Not surprisingly, those (buyers) with subprime credit ratings—credit scores between 550 and 619—had the highest average monthly payment, of $499.”


    “The payments are rising despite an increasing number of car buyers opting to stretch their loans over six or seven years. According to Experian, a record 20 percent of all new car auto loans in the fourth quarter were more than six years in length.

    J.D. Power said last week that February was on track to have one-third of new car auto loans last at least six years.”

    New car sales are on a downward trend. The numbers tell the story - new cars are increasingly unaffordable. And much of the ‘unaffordability factor’ is because other costs for potential buyers are rising.

    The Federal Reserve keeps printing money and creating more financial bubbles, these types of minor ’side effects’ are going to keep happening.

  10. - Union Man - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    They’re just an ugly little car. Who would by one?

  11. - fed up - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    HMM no Pat Quinn on Hand taking credit for this but, he was there 2 years ago when they were hiring. Interesting he wants credit for the good but distance for the bad real leadership.

  12. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Fed up, C’mon man. I am no fan of PQ but he can’t be blamed for the bad weather pushing buyers toward SUVs (Jeep up 47%) or that the Dart is not competitive in its segment. Ironically, the hot-selling new Jeep Cherokee and the Dart share a Fiat chassis.

  13. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    I used to buy all Chrysler products until about 6 years ago, when they started having their transmission and electrical controls crap out at about 90,000 miles. Since then I’ve bought Lexus ES 330s (2006), and RX350 (2008) and Toyota Sienna(2009) and another Lexus Sedan (2010). Each one has performed better than any Chrysler I’ve ever owned and bought new (I bought the Lexus and Sienna Certified Pre-owned), even at over 100,000 miles on the 2006.

    Maybe it’s the fallout of more of the vehicle costs going to employee retiree pensions and healthcare instead of making better vehicles, but the Chryslers just aren’t worth it anymore.

    I didn’t leave them. They left me.

  14. - iThink - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    “a record 20 percent of all new car auto loans in the fourth quarter were more than six years in length.”

    As more and more people slip out of the middle class they are using debt to try and maintain a middle class lifestyle. The banks make a ton, the investor class makes a ton (Rauner), the rest of us slide into the poor house.

  15. - fed up - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Arthur Andersen,

    Not blaming Quinn for the car, just pointing out he was there in good times but not bad. He liked the photo op and the over inflated jobs claim in feb 2012, but is silent today.

  16. - Rod - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Its really sad that the Belvidere assembly plant got stuck with the new Dart, which is really slow car. Here is one very ugly commentary from a Dart owner:

    “There are not enough characters allowed on this to describe my distain for this vehicle. Engine malfunction light came on in 200 miles. It is a faulting oil pressure sensor, they replaced and the light is still coming on. They are waiting for a software update that they “hope” will fix the problem. Computer sometimes prohibits the car from accelerating over 4000 rpms. No fix. They don’t know what is wrong. Again hope for a software fix. This is a real safety concern to me. In cold weather the battery light dings and flashes on the dash annoyingly, again they hope a software updated can fix it.. We are now going through the lemon law process. I refuse to pay over $18k for a broken new car.”

    I think it is still making the Jeep Patriot and Compass at Belvidere which have had strong sales because they are so cheap and still have the standard warranty. There are rumors these two cheap Jeeps will be phased out.

  17. - davidh - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    “New car sales are on a downward trend”

    Sorry, demonstrably false: “Based on an AutoData estimate, light vehicle sales were at a 15.34 million SAAR in February. That is up slightly from February 2013, and up 1.8% from the sales rate last month.” Read more at

    Please don’t make stuff up.

  18. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    Chicago police have also been having trouble with some of their recently purchased Chrysler vehicles.

  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    U.S. auto sales are at a six-year high.

    I’m with AA: I’d buy new shoes before I’d ever drive a Dart. I ain’t blaming that dog on Quinn. They’re trying to grab the Ford Focus market, and it ain’t working.

    But he gets points for keeping that Belvidere plant humming. And the Ford plant on the South Side, too.

    I’m not a fan of corporate welfare, but those are real jobs that put bread on the table.

    In Belvidere, hopefully, they’ll retool for Rams or mini-vans, which is Chryslers bread-and-butter.

    Or Chargers. How about a retro Charger? I’d buy one.

  20. - What is to bo done? - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    I used to have a Dart, quality in every part, baby that’s a Dodge.

  21. - Linebacker II - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 5:25 pm:

    The Dodge Dart is a crappy car, as are most Chrysler products. Wish Illinois had a Honda plant instead.

  22. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    –The Dodge Dart is a crappy car, as are most Chrysler products. Wish Illinois had a Honda plant instead.-

    Meh, the Dart’s a loser, but you’re an anti-UAW and anti-American fool.

    Got no use for you, here, cousin, among us Yankees in the Midwest. You know, the people who have been carrying your load since 1789.

    Go back to Dixie and let the foreign car makers hose you. I guess you like it that way.

  23. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 4, 14 @ 6:43 pm:

    It is too soon to call it a loser. It was forced to compete against another Dodge product and after the Avenger is gone, the Dart sales will be fine.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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