The Daily Ping

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February 28th, 2000

Farewell, Plymouth.

This one’s a bit overdue but, in case you haven’t noticed, Plymouth is being killed. The whole brand will be phased out relatively soon.

We won’t really be saying goodbye to the cars, though. The Neon is still a Dodge (and has been near-identical to it since 1994, save some package differences); the Breeze is reincarnated as a decontented Chrysler Cirrus; the Voyager is now the Chrysler Voyager. Only the Prowler, the outrageously-styled "hot rod" (with a V6 and automatic, natch), will be really killed.

This is all a part of DaimlerChrysler’s plan to save money. I personally don’t see anything wrong with getting rid of Plymouth given that a) the cars aren’t duplicated elsewhere, and b) they’re not selling. Well, b) certainly didn’t apply! Voyagers were still outselling the comparable cars from Chevy, for instance. The Dodge Neon always outsold the Plymouth Neon. The Breeze, well, it was better when first introduced in 1996.

The bigger concern for me is the dilution of the Chrysler brand. Certainly over the past few years, Chrysler has strived to be the "this isn’t quite luxury, but we’ve got leather and wood and sharp looking cars!" division of the former Chrysler Corporation. Now, add the PT Cruiser into the mix: a unique vehicle that sells for under $20,000 and really is a Plymouth (it looks like a Prowler, for goodness sake!) Then add a cheapo version of the Cirrus. And throw in Voyager, which doesn’t have leather or fake wood at all. Sounds to me like Chrysler will be the catch-all for the American branch of DaimlerChrysler.

I don’t like it, but then again, there’s only Mercedes-Benz and that’s it on the European side (when it comes to passenger cars.) I’ll wager a guess that Dodge will die, too – but it’ll be a veeeery slow death, because it’s an established name.

Then again, so was Plymouth. -pm

Posted in Cars

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