Autoblog: Don't let the door hit you in the ass: Dodge Caliber will end production in November.

killpanda

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I quite liked the Caliber I got as a rental a couple of years ago, then again I think the Pacific Coast Highway might have something to do with it...
 

ninjacoco

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The Caliber is truly hideous--some kind of bizarre SUV/CUV car thing that's supposed to look rugged, but really just looks like someone left a Mommy-mobile in the dryer for too long and it shrank.

Not sad or surprised to see this one go.
 
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Huayra

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As a Mopar fan, I'm very happy about this move. The thing is... What is next? Can't they just rehash a new Neon? This... monstrosity has been like a tumor to me... Anyways, the SRT version was not that bad. It was still distasteful looking... Just not as much. I hope this Fiatified base model will be better than this. Lets hope Dodge will kill off another tumor...

*cough* Nitro *cough*
 

GM_IV

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What a relief, I'll be happy the day I no longer have to drive these things. This thing was so slow, guzzles fuel(for its size), had a awful interior the 2011s don't fix that, handled really badly, had a somewhat hard ride, liked getting stuck in the snow, isn't built well, and has quality issues particularly with the electrics...like I don't know the throttle might not work? If it weren't for the Chrysler Sebring, the Caliber would be the worst car I've driven, yes I'd rather drive the Aveo...at the minimum that thing has better seats and doesn't damage my knee with its hard dash plastic...and might actually be faster.
 

rickhamilton620

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As a Mopar fan, I'm very happy about this move. The thing is... What is next? Can't they just rehash a new Neon? This... monstrosity has been like a tumor to me... Anyways, the SRT version was not that bad. It was still distasteful looking... Just not as much. I hope this Fiatified base model will be better than this. Lets hope Dodge will kill off another tumor...

*cough* Nitro *cough*
The Nitro's so pointless! Dodge really didn't need another SUV.

I hope Fiat sticks with the hatch idea, but add's a sedan for the diehards.
 

YF19pilot

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The Nitro's so pointless! Dodge really didn't need another SUV.

I hope Fiat sticks with the hatch idea, but add's a sedan for the diehards.
Perhaps have a Neon Sedan/Coupe based on the Punto or Bravo, and then bring the hatch over under the Fiat banner? Or if you go with the Punto, have a sedan and 5-door "neon" and put the 3-door Punto under the Fiat Brand. Could work. Well, would work better than keeping the Caliber around for another generation.
 

bryanbeachboy1970

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I miss my old '00 Plymouth Neon. It was peppy (5 spd manual), could corner very well, got very nearly 40mpg on the highway, and most importantly could hold three infant/child car seats in the back seat. Decent stereo, looked good (Chrysler definitely had excellent car designs in the lat 90s), and the seats were comfortable over long distances. The kids are older now (all teens and tweens), the missus is gone and not missed, and I really, really want a Neon SRT4. It would look something like this:


And then I would go Stupid-fast!
 
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MacGuffin

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It should also be pointed out that this 'micro-SUV' was what Mercedes thought would be a good replacement for the small car that Chrysler had spent more than a decade getting a decent reputation for entertaining driving, good handling, and decent value - the Neon.
I wonder, when you stop blaming Mercedes for Chryslers downfall and start blaming Fiat for it :p When something is so unreliable, that they have to resort to Fiat technology to make it better, it says everything ;)

But seriously: You are right, that car was complete crap. They displayed one in a Wal Mart here (when Wal Mart still existed in Germany) and I was able to take a look inside: It not only looked like an SUV, that's been washed too hot, it also failed to offer the same space inside, as a Golf for example. And it looked so cheap, that someone joked it was a 1:1 plastic model and not the actual car.

I have seen only two of them on the roads here and both owners were probably somehow related to the local Chrysler dealer and had been given a huge discount. But frankly I wouldn't even have taken it for free and I doubt anyone in their sane mind and with a free choice of buying ANY car on the market here, could have bought one.
 
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Spectre

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I wonder, when you stop blaming Mercedes for Chryslers downfall and start blaming Fiat for it :p When something is so unreliable, that they have to resort to Fiat technology to make it better, it says everything ;)
When Fiat's responsible for the product, I'll blame them. Blame is given where it belongs - I and others have submitted proof that it was, in fact, Mercedes responsible for the failure of Chrysler. See prior posts - I cannot help it if you and other Germans wish to deny objective reality.

And don't drag out the "but you're just saying that so you won't have to blame Americans" b.s., either. You will see few complaints about the bailout that Chrysler received, except pro-forma ones. The systematic gutting of Chrysler by Mercedes is well documented and not at all Chrysler's fault - they really did get screwed by forces beyond their control. Not so GM, hence all the protest about that bailout. GM did it to themselves, Chrysler got hit by Mercedes and the US FTC that approved the merger (and in retrospect, based purely on the filings should not have.) There is a difference.

If Fiat starts doing stupid shit like saying "We're going to replace the Cummins turbodiesel in the Dodge Ram pickup with one out of one of our sedans that's only half as powerful and half as torquey just so we can have our badge on it" which Mercedes tried to do, or removing perfectly good transmissions from design considerations because they were Chrysler designed and replacing them with their own, more complex, more fragile, less reliable and far more costly (especially since Mercedes was charging the Chrysler division full price for any parts they used!) designs, as Mercedes did, or saying that all Detroit-originated designs must be fully scrutinized, altered and approved back in Europe every single step of the way as if the native engineers were idiots, as Mercedes did, then yeah, I'll start beating on Fiat. But Mercedes is responsible for the current state Chrysler found itself in at the time of Fiat's acquisition; all of the things and more are well documented and well known facts about how Mercedes raped Chrysler.

Under Mercedes, Chrysler went from having an 18 month design cycle to a five year one. They went from having the most desirable and hot designs, stylistically, on the US market to having the least. They went from having unique and different cars to having more boring, bland samemobiles than not. They went from having a well balanced wide spectrum of cars, from the fuel efficient Neon to the Viper, to being overly bloated with SUVs and SUV like vehicles years after the SUV craze had begun to die off. The list of Mercedes screwups and failures goes on and on and on. Mercedes does not fundamentally understand the US mainstream car or truck markets at all.

I know Germans like to blame Chrysler for the cheapening of Mercedes, but I'm sorry, history doesn't bear that out. Basic timeline:

1993: Mercedes announces that they will no longer be overengineering their cars and will instead strive to be the largest maker in the world by volume.
1995: Quality and decontenting at Mercedes begins to be evident.
1998: Mercedes acquires a massively undervalued Chrysler in their race to number one by volume.

Sorry, but the rot was already well set in before Chrysler was assimilated by Mercedes.
 
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MacGuffin

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Hey, Chrysler was bought by Mercedes back at the time. Turned out to be a bad decision for both sides but it's history now. No way to change the past, no matter how much you mourn it. Accept the fact that it happend and now be done with it. No need to unbury a dead horse and beat it over again and again all the time.

My remark was only meant to be ironical, no need to reply with a fully blown rant again.
 
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TC

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How does that saying go, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
 

Spectre

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Fiat's already shown that they're willing to listen to input from their American contingent - note the massively revised rear suspension design the 500's adopted for the US market and how Fiat liked it so much they're making it standard back in Olde Europe 500s as well.

That's more than Mercedes was willing to do. I'd guess Fiat learned a few things.
 

bryanbeachboy1970

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I think the thing that pisses me off the most about the Mercedes/Chrysler 'merger' was that it was supposed to merger of equals; Chrysler had something like 22% of the US domestic market (compare to 10% now) thanks to their exciting designs (Intrepid, Neon, Stratus, Ram, Caravan, Viper, Grand Cherokee, etc) but lacked international presence. Mercedes was striving to appeal to a broader customer base and Chrysler's experience at radical, popular designs on the cheap would (supposedly) be useful to implement that plan. But once the Bob's "retired" (Lutz going to Pontiac, Eaton to Chevron) this partnership became publicly what it was privately: a drunken college gang-bang.

So, yeah, still upset about it. Beating a dead horse huh? Sorry Mac, I'm still at stage 4 of the grieving process; we all heal differently. :cry:
 
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MacGuffin

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The term "merger of equals" was doubted the moment it came up. Nobody believed it. It was always that Mercedes swallowed Chrysler. Period.

But it was the times, too. Car business was rather ruthless here back then. VW under Ferdinand Piech openly attacked the premium market in the late 1990's -- a sector, that was held by Mercedes and BMW back then --, while Mercedes introduced the A-Class to attack VW. It was a time, when old structures broke up and where the CEO's personally couldn't stand each other.

There is that anecdote, that at the Geneva Autosalon 1999 Daimler-Chrysler CEO J?rgen Schrempp said about Ferdinand Piech, that he would never spend his holidays with him. And Piech reacted by saying, that he wouldn't even go for a pee with Schrempp :D

Schrempp's solution was merging Mercedes with Chrysler, which was only meant to make the resulting corporation big. He believed that size mattered (which was very American to be honest) and that only merging was the right way to become a global leader in car production. Piech chose another way. If I remember correct, he said somethng like "We put our shirts on steady development and don't merge so hectically".

By now we know who was right.
 
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bryanbeachboy1970

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The term "merger of equals" was doubted the moment it came up. Nobody believed it. It was always that Mercedes swallowed Chrysler. Period.
You got that right, but I had hoped they would at least pay some lip service to the idea. And they didn't really swallow them, they just ate the meaty bits...

He believed that size mattered (which was very American to be honest).
I don't think that's strictly an American belief. We are a big country with agrarian roots, so having space has never been an issue for us, therefore things being big is just sorta natural. The same sort of thinking that led several pharaohs to build bigger and better pyramids, that led the Chinese to build that big ass wall, and led any number of kings/emperors/dictators to build their various empires. I'm sure you weren't trying to get in a dig against America or anything Mac, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Redneck Brigade wants to have words with you.
 
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