The Resilience Of Chrysler Group’s “Zombie Cars” In 2023

These "Zombie Cars" Were Sold As "New" Units Last Year...

Some vehicles refuse to die after being put out to pasture. Over the past week, we learned the details of Stellantis’ U.S. sales for the entire year of 2023. While the overall numbers weren’t shocking considering the state of the economy at the moment, there were a number of discontinued vehicles that ended up making it on the “new” sales figures for the year.

Often referred to as “zombie cars,” these vehicles are discontinued models sold as new units well after their discontinuation date. Stellantis (FCA US) had several of them appear on the sales figures. So, we decided to take a look at the list of zombie cars from FCA US in 2023, starting from the most sold to the ones that snuck into the list.

Dodge Journey –

Dodge Journey Crossroad. (Dodge).

Despite the Journey nameplate continuing to live on in Mexico with an imported from China two-row model, the original Journey proved to be a solid volume seller for the Dodge brand thanks to its three-row capability and budget-friendly pricing. While it did suffer from quality issues over the years, the Journey was in production from 2008 to 2020. However, in 2023, Dodge dealers did manage to sell an amazing 36 units over the year.

Fiat 124 Spyder –

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth 70th Anniversary Edition. (FIAT).

The Fiat 124 Spyder was a thrilling little convertible sports car that arrived in North America. Fiat hoped it would alter the opinion of the North American public about being a 500-based only brand. Based on and built alongside the Mazda Miata in Japan, the car used its own turbocharged Fiat engine and was one of the more stylish vehicles in Fiat showrooms. However, it never took off like Fiat had hoped and was discontinued in 2020. In 2023, Fiat ended up selling 28 of the Miata-based roadsters.

Dodge Grand Caravan –

Dodge Grand Caravan SE+ Blacktop. (Dodge).

The iconic Dodge Grand Caravan finished its 37-year production run in 2020 when it no longer met growing crash test regulations. The Grand Caravan was a huge volume seller for Dodge, something that the brand desperately needs now. However, after three years of being off the market, Dodge managed to sell 27 units in the U.S. in 2023.

Fiat 500 –

Fiat 500 Urbana Edition. (FIAT).

The Fiat 500 city car is what brought the brand back to the North American market in 2011. Although discontinued in 2019, Fiat recently announced that its newest generation, all-electric Fiat 500e, would be returning to the North American market. But for the last generation model, 16 units found new homes in the U.S. during 2023.

Fiat 500L –

Fiat 500L Trekking. (FIAT).

The very European Fiat 500L offered a larger subcompact four-door option for Fiat fans in North America. While the 500L was not a solid seller, Fiat kept it in its lineup until 2020. Fast forward three years later, Fiat studios ended up selling 7 units of the 500L in 2023.

Chrysler 200 –

Chrysler 200S AWD. (Chrysler).

The last generation of Chrysler’s stylish 200 sedan only lasted three years in production before getting the axe in 2017. The 200 was one of the most anticipated vehicles when it launched in 2015. However, Chrysler spent a lot of money making sure that their mid-sized sedan was full of the latest technology, features, and even offering all-wheel-drive (AWD). But while the 200 sold well, it didn’t outsell the competition. Chrysler decided to quit building passenger cars (minus its L-series cars), and gone was the 200. Chrysler dealers ended up selling 4 units in 2023, six years after the car was discontinued.

Dodge Dart –

Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition. (Dodge).

The 2013 Dodge Dart was a promising compact sedan on paper when it made its debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). As a stylish compact, it looked to be a winning combination for Dodge. However, poor build quality and several issues caused the Dart to be canceled in 2016 after just four years on the market. While many people thought the Dart was a failure, it wasn’t. In order to obtain 5.2% more of Chrysler Corporation from the U.S. government, Fiat-run Chrysler had to produce a 40 MPG car by 2012 to obtain that portion of the company as dictated during the company’s bailout in 2009. The Dodge Dart Aero, which paired a Fiat turbocharged 1.4-liter FIRE inline-four-cylinder, managed to reach the 40 MPG feat. Nevertheless, seven years after it was discontinued, 3 “new” units were sold in 2023.

Dodge Viper –

Dodge Viper GTC. (Dodge).

Now we have already talked about this in another article, but two “new” units of Dodge’s iconic American V-10 powered supercar managed to find new homes in 2023. Pretty surprising considering the Viper ended production at the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit in 2017. As Viper values continue to soar, it must have been pretty exciting for those two owners to take home two “new” examples this past year, after six years of being out of production.

Chrysler Town & Country –

Chrysler Town & Country Touring. (Chrysler).

The beloved Town & Country minivan from Chrysler was discontinued after 2016 to make way for the current Chrysler Pacifica, which is now the brand’s lone vehicle moving into 2024. The Town & Country minivan was introduced in 1990 and continued to be a more upscale version of the Dodge Grand Caravan until its departure. Despite being off the market for eight years, two “new” units found their ways into people’s garages this past year.

Jeep® Patriot –

Jeep® Patriot Latitude 4×4. (Jeep).

The Patriot was introduced in 2007 alongside the Compass, not only to help push the Jeep® brand outside the North American market but to establish a more affordable SUV in the North American market. While the Patriot was never the huge success that Jeep had wished, it sold well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to let Jeep give it a second generation, unlike the Compass. The Patriot was discontinued in 2017, but in 2023, one person in the U.S. took one home as a “new” vehicle purchase.

Alfa Romeo 4C –

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. (Alfa Romeo).

Relaunching the Italian marque in the U.S. in 2013 marked the first time a mass-produced Alfa Romeo had been sold in the U.S. since 1995. The Toyota-powered mid-engined sports car seemed to promise a resurgence of the brand; however, production lasted just six years for the hardtop and only five for the Spider model, which was introduced in 2015. In 2020, the 4C was discontinued from the North American market; however, someone found one in leftover dealer stock and was able to take one home in 2023.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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Some vehicles refuse to die after being put out to pasture. Over the past week, we learned the details of Stellantis’ U.S. sales for the entire year of 2023. While the overall numbers weren’t shocking considering the state of the economy at the moment, there were a number of discontinued vehicles that ended up making … (read full article...)

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