Saturday, January 22, 2011

Second runner up, 2007-2010 Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring

Gear-heads like me who have studied the auto industry know that Daimler-Benz would rather destroy an American company than make it work. 

Benz bullied Studebaker-Packard into its decision to end hopes of returning Packard market in the 1960s via a rebadged Facel-Vega Ellegance sedan.  And when Studebaker died its slow miserable death, Benz walked in and signed the former Studebaker dealer network into selling its vehicles.

In the good old days of my "yute", a family that had a Plymouth would buy up to a Dodge.  That Dodge would get traded in for a DeSoto.  When Dad got his promotion then the DeSoto would get traded in for a Chrysler that he would drive to the country club.  And when that AT&T and IBM stock split 10 to 1, then Mom got an Imperial.  This worked the same at GM (Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac) and at Ford, for about a minute with its Ford, Edsel, Mercury, Lincoln and Continental vehicles.

Well Chrysler killed off DeSoto in 1961, and then it pushed Chrysler down market in 1961 with the introduction of the low budget Newport model.  Then when the company alomst went bust, the first time in 1980, it started building one line of cars and jsut slapping badges on them hoping people wouldn't realize that a Chrysler LeBaron was really a Dodge Aries which was nothing more than a Plymouth Reliant.  We call this "Same old whore, new clothes" syndrome.

So when Chrysler sold it's business to Mercedes-Benz, good things were promised by this "marriage of equals." Many of us saw the beginning of the end of Chrysler. 

And true to form, Benz drained Chrysler of its capital, it's most talented designers and engineers and then invested next to nothing into the business.  They sent Plymouth into Automobile heaven.  Then they took the mid market Dodge and sent it down market - planning that it would only sell station wagons and SUVs and trucks, then it dumbed down Chrysler.  The result was a product mix that confused the dealers and buying public alike. One the plus side, they gave us Dr. Z and his commercials communing with small children.

When the situation looked dire and was beyond all hope,  instead of stepping to the plate, they cried "uncle" and bailed on Chrysler.

This is why I have named the 2007 through 2010 Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring to this list.


Because there is no excuse for crap like this to be built or marketed by American's for Americans.

And don't take my word for it.  I agree with Motor Trend and Car and Driver and Consumer Reports on this sad excuse of a car.  All of these periodicals have used the following adjectives to describe the Sebring and the Avenger: crass, harsh, cheap, plasticy, sub-par, unrefined, etc.  According to Motor Trend the only real reason to buy one is that you'll get a great price on it, presumably because dealers want them off there lot.  Reading in between the lines, they want these cars gone the same way that normal, law abiding citizens want the child molester down the street to move on. 

These cars are beyond bad - they are ugly from just about every angle, their materials are cheap in every sense of the word, and their engines are "whorey".  And all of this adds up to performance that is so underwhelming that the bulk of these little gems are sold to rental fleets, not to consumers.

And don't take my word for it.

All the charm of a plastic garbage can on wheels.

Fiat's CEO Sergio Marchionne was so appalled by the quality of the materials used in making up the interiors of all of the Chrysler products, he immediately ordered that and additional $100-125 per car be delegated to the 2012 re-freshening of what will be the Avenger and its twin, now re-badged as the Chrysler 200.

Now $100-125 per car additional may not sound like a lot, but combine that with the quantities of scale and mass production costs and its like hitting the lottery in today's penny pinching world.

Word on the street is that the new iteration of these cars will look better, be built better and will have a decent engine.  I'm certainly hoping for good things.  But eventually, American consumers are going to be sick of the drama and walk away from Chrysler for good because they built cars like this. 
Supporting Factors:
  • This isn't a car, its CRAP on four wheels.
  • Ugly, cheap and lacking in the word refinement.
  • Try circumsizing a baby in the cramped backseat of one of these jewels and you'll be planning its bat mitzvah instead of its bar mitzvah.
  • I think that the people who bought these are entitled to full refunds and apologies from Mercedes Benz, and a free or Maybach for their troubles.

Mitigating Factors:
  • None. 
  • I'm I being to harsh? No. 


  1. well ollie, i think he said it all.

  2. Well the last time I circumcised a baby in the backseat....

  3. You are absolutely not being too harsh. I can't imagine the horror of seeing those monstrosities driving around every day.
    It's bad enough that some of them have 'found' their way to the UK. What surprises me is that people have actually bought one or two.
    Actually, I say people. I mean the living dead.

    I like cars too (I do drive an Alfa when not piloting Broom), but that Sebring is NOT a car.

    * shudders *