Autoweek Asks: Should the Dodge Neon be offered in the U.S.?

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November 14, 2019 02:00 PM

Autoweek Asks: Should the Dodge Neon be offered in the U.S.?

The Neon is still around, and it’s true to the recipe of the original.

Jay Ramey

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The Dodge Neon is currently sold in Mexico and the Middle East.

Last week we took a look at some of the oddest cars that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had offered all over the world during the past decade, shortly after its planned merger with French automaker PSA Group was announced.
The most modern and arguably the most interesting car on that list was the 2019 Dodge Neon, which entered production just a few years ago. It’s sold in Mexico and a number of Middle Eastern countries, but it’s built in Turkey.
Powered by 1.4- and 1.6-liter inline-four engines, the Neon churns out 95 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque paired with the smaller engine, and 110 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque with the slightly larger engine, offered with a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s not the point of the Neon. 
The point is that it starts at 245,400 pesos in Mexico, which translates to about $12,800. That’s the price of a budget sedan from the 1990s, unadjusted for inflation, and it’s far lower than the starting price of just about anything FCA or any other automaker offers here, including those that are supposed to be budget brands. As a four-door sedan, which is available with modern systems like touchscreen infotainment, that starting price is tough to beat.

Dodge

The Neon is still basic on the inside, true to the recipe of the original, but it offers modern-enough tech like a touchscreen infotainment system.

The reason it’s not sold in the U.S. … well, actually there are several reasons it’s not sold in the U.S. 
First of all, FCA ceased Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart production here in the States a few years ago in response to sales levels, factory availability and the age of the two sedans themselves. Second, the segment itself has shrunk to a point where even those automakers that have a solid grip on it, like Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai, have started to see some worrying signs. Third, the Neon is basically a Fiat Tipo sedan made in Turkey for a number of Middle Eastern markets, as well as Mexico. So it’s likely it would need a beefier engine and an interior equipment upgrade to appeal to U.S. buyers. 
Finally, the projected sales may not have looked like it would be worth it for FCA to offer it at Dodge dealers, or Fiat dealers in the States for that matter, even though Fiat dealers are certainly short on offerings and have been for the past decade.
But a starting price under $13,000 and four-door versatility is hard argue with, in addition to the recipe is a classic ’90s budget car, complete with a six-speed manual transmission in base form. That’s a segment that barely exists anymore, but all the cars in it are priced thousands of dollars higher. 
Should Dodge offer the Neon in the U.S., or did consumer tastes move on a long time ago?
Let us know in the comments below. 
 

Dodge

The Neon is built in Turkey, alongside its Fiat Tipo twin.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/car-life/autoweek-asks-should-dodge-neon-be-offered-us

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