PT Cruiser died
It is like hearing that a short-lived rock star has passed. You mean it just died. I thought it died a long time ago. Not even Enterprise car rental has them on the lots anymore.
I remember when they first appeared and my Dad wanted one. He held off, but he liked them. My sister-in-law’s mother saw the one that I had rented for a trip. It was black and she called it a “Gangster car,” affectionately.
I drove it into the mountains and it was fine. I remember that it had a noise though that seemed to be a characteristic running hum.
The report I read in USA Today said that Chrysler so cheapened the product to make a few extra coins that it came off cheap. That is my sense too.
The model that has a throw back appearance apparently made GM nervous enough to come out with some like alikes. They too are failing now, not because of the styling, just because they are cheap.
“Death of PT Cruiser seen as a symbol of industry's problems
By Sharon Silke Carty, USA TODAY
DETROIT — For many, news that Chrysler is about to stop making the PT Cruiser will come as a surprise: "Wait, they still make that car?"
Yes, they still make that car. The last PT Cruiser will roll off the production line Friday in Toluca, Mexico.
But the truck-like sedan that once was Chrysler's best-selling car has, in recent years, been dying a death of a thousand cuts.
The PT Cruiser symbolizes much that's been wrong with the U.S. auto industry in the past few decades (even though Chrysler was owned by Germany's Daimler for most of the PT Cruiser's life).
It's a car that, initially, people loved. But the company then tried to squeeze as much profit as it could out of the car, refusing to properly redesign it and eventually fitting it with cheaper radios and interior materials to save a few pennies.
"It makes a great symbol of the failing of the American car industry," says Karl Brauer, editor-at-large at Edmunds.com. "Their pattern of behavior was introducing vehicles that managed to resonate with the market initially, and then doing almost nothing to maintain the brand."
From its rollout as a 2000 model, people loved it. Fan clubs popped up around the country. Customizers loved painting the tall body in flames and other graphics. It spawned its own accessories market. It won the North American Car of the Year award at the Detroit auto show in January 2001.
"It really was a great car when it came out, and if they had put money in, instead of taking it out, they'd still be selling a hundred thousand a year," says David Zatz, who owns a fan website called ptcruizer.com.
Sales topped 1.5 million in its decade on the market, and Chrysler sold 99,585 a year as recently as 2007. However, sales were down to 50,910 for 2009, according to Autodata, and this year, through June, just 8,591 have been sold.
Over the years, Chrysler did barely enough to keep it alive, and recent cost-cutting measures involved installing cheap-feeling seats and relegating the vehicle to the fleet market. The company put a hard plastic bar across the passenger side dashboard, something Cruiser fans started calling the "towel rack."”