The last Chrysler PT Cruiser will roll off the assembly line in less than two weeks, signaling the end of the line for the retro-look model.
Following its unveil at the Detroit show, the PT Cruiser went on sale in 2000 and the line-up expanded to include a turbocharged performance model and a convertible. It was even assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria for a short while but sales in Europe ended a couple of years ago. The convertible was also axed a while back.
The company sold more than 1.3m Cruisers which became popular because of its quirky design and big interior space. However its history became a microcosm of Chrysler itself – the ability to create unique, desirable new cars, but failure to build on success.
Detroit Free Press columnist Mark Phelan wrote: “If Chrysler executives had followed up on the PT’s initial success, they could have turned the car into an icon for the company. Instead, they left it alone as a singular sensation that bore no relationship to any other Chrysler vehicle.
“Chrysler didn’t capitalise on the PT. The automaker would repeat that mistake four years later, when the 300C took the market by storm. Once again, Chrysler found itself unprepared for success. There was no follow-up to build on the momentum of a hit car.”