Longmeadow, Massachusetts, United States
Dodge is just days away from unveiling refreshed versions of the Charger and Challenger at the 2014 New York Auto Show, models promising updated styling and new powertrain options. Depending on how you look at it, the company is either so confident in its forthcoming 2015 models that it's offering an interesting Double-Up lease deal on the current vehicles, or it's so eager to clear out existing stock that it's resorting to novel lease deals. In any case, what they present is an interesting scenario, one which allows buyers to get the existing model right now, and then trade up to the facelifted 2015 models in one year.
Starting April 17, when the refreshed cars debut through the end of August, buyers can lease a 2014 Charger or Challenger for one year and exchange it for a three-year lease on a 2015 model next year, with no additional money down and the same monthly payment. Customers can even switch vehicles when the new lease starts. If drivers want to buy the '15, they get $1,000 off the purchase price. To be eligible, both leases must use the same dealership and be financed through Chrysler Capital. The Double-Up deal excludes the SRT versions of both cars and Charger SE models.
To offset the flood of one-year-old models coming back to dealerships, Dodge has struck a deal with rental car agency Enterprise, which has agreed to buy them all. "One-year leases are highly unusual in the industry," said company spokesperson Ralph Kisiel, and the fleet sale deal is what makes it possible.
When Chrysler rolled out the first-generation 200 to replace the Sebring range in 2010, it included replacements for both the sedan and the convertible. The Sebring Coupe, however, was left out of the mix. And now that the second-generation Chrysler 200 is descending upon us, Auburn Hills is paring things down even further. But this time, it's the convertible that reportedly isn't making the cut. Shame, too, since the rendering above shows what could have been quite an attractive droptop.
As our compatriots at Edmunds point out, sales of the convertible model accounted for less than five percent of overall Chrysler 200 sales, and at those numbers, the considerable cost of engineering a new drop-top couldn't be justified. With the Toyota Camry Solara and Volkswagen Eos also gone from the market (well, the VW isn't gone quite yet), the discontinuation of the Chrysler 200 Convertible leaves the affordable convertible segment largely to the sportier likes of the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro and smaller European offerings like the Mini Cooper and VW Beetle.
The Chrysler 200 Convertible isn't the only derivative being left behind with the new model: so too is the Dodge Avenger. That will leave a glaring hole in the Dodge lineup, with nothing to bridge the gap between the compact Dart and the larger Charger. Whether the Dodge brand has any plans to replace the Avenger with another model, not to be based on the 200, remains to be seen.
Last year, Chrysler announced it would be offering more than 150 Mopar parts and accessories on the 2013 Dodge Dart, and we got a look at some of these parts firsthand at the Chicago Auto Show. Showing off all the optional parts at once would surely create a gaudy monstrosity, so Chrysler chose to equip this particular Dart GT with just a handful of Mopar goodies, which still gave the car a nice and tasteful custom look that is available straight from the dealership (and with a full warranty, too).
Decked out in a factory color called Header Orange Clear Coat - also a very appropriate show car hue - this car added exterior styling parts such as the vented, carbon fiber hood, the bolt-on front chin spoiler and a matte black decklid spoiler. Looking inside the car, you'd think the red-accented interior is part of the Mopar parts bin, too, but this is actually what the standard Dart GT cabin will look like when it goes on sale.