Chrysler PT Cruiser news and rumors
- See our updated news and rumors of the 2011 PT Cruiser
- See Allpar's news and forums for coverage of Chrysler
- The PT Cruiser Final Addition will launch in the fourth quarter 2010 for sale in 2011 — most likely the final year of the PT. (November 4, 2009)
- In an Automotive News interview, Bryan Nesbitt said, “I didn’t like the update they did when they [altered] the headlights. But I find it interesting that Chrysler decided to keep it in production. I believe it is the most profitable small car in Chrysler’s history. ... I’ve always liked the way it looks. I think it looks better when it is lowered two inches with 18 inch wheels.”
- Coker Tire is selling special wide-whitewalls for PT Cruisers.
- As of September 1, 2009, there were under a thousand PT Cruisers available across the United States — less than two weeks’ supply.
- In mid-August, the 100% accurate oh20 wrote:
2010 PT Cruiser production will start on November 2nd. The 2010 PT Cruiser has been simplified to one model - the PT Cruiser Classic, which bundles outstanding content with good pricing, resulting in the most competitive PT Cruiser ever. The new PT Cruiser Classic comes with a 4-Speed Automatic Transmission, Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, 16” Aluminum Wheels, Deep Tinted Sunscreen Glass, and Speed Control, standard. Chrome trim is standard on the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including a body colored grill with chrome accents, and chrome body side moldings.
- Available options are Power Sunroof and the Convenience Group which includes Stain Repel Premium Cloth, 6-Way Power Driver Seat, Heated Front Seats and Fold Flat Passenger Seat. The introductory base MSRP for the 2010 PT Cruiser Classic will be $18,000 plus $720 destination charge.
- Adding to its sales, which have been dismal in recent months, will be access to Fiat dealerships in Europe and South America, which are reportedly to be given rights to sell the PT very soon.
- PT Cruiser production has been cut to around half the level of the same time last year, as the Toluca factory has been put to work pumping out the Dodge Journey. Ironically, building the Journey on the same line as the PT may actually extend the life of the PT Cruiser, because with fewer produced, the need for incentives and advertising should be smaller, and the little crossover should be more profitable for both Chrysler and dealers.
- In February, the PT fell to Chrysler brand’s fourth-biggest seller, with just 3,582 sales (plus 2,005 convertibles). With a sales drop of 55%, the PT would sell just 42,384 copies per year at this rate - but it was originally set to sell just 35,000 a year, so it’s still ahead of projections... (3/4/08)
- We now have coverage of the 2008 PT Cruiser - Sunset Boulevard Street Cruiser. We have also updated our 2010 PT Cruiser page. (3/3/08)
- Chrysler might be dropping the PT Cruiser, but GM isn't the only company to pick up on the idea. Here are spy shots of the latest big rig from Navistar.
- The PT Cruiser is to be dropped during calendar-year 2008, in favor of expanded Journey production, if the Journey goes as well as planned. It’s a pretty good-looking vehicle, and though we’ll miss the PT Cruiser, it’s probably better to leave while still worth buying than to reappear as a poorly done substitute.
- The PT Cruiser GT is not available for the 2008 model year; and the PT Cruiser Convertible has just been officially dropped from Chrysler’s roster. (11/1/07)
- The PT Cruiser was not dropped from the lineup after the Cerberus board voted. Instead, the PT convertible, Crossfire coupe, Dodge Magnum, and Chrysler Pacifica will all be dropped. Despite a post-redesign drop in sales of nearly one third (27%) this year, the PT Cruiser is Chrysler’s third best selling model. (11/1/07)
- We’ve updated the repairs page (9-20-07).
- Sign the “Save the PT” petition!
- 2008 model year changes are limited to the addition of a new PT Street Cruiser. A new Sunset Boulevard Street Cruiser will be sold, using a unique shade of maroon, chrome bodyside moldings, lock knobs, and exhaust tip, power moonroof, deep-tinted sunscreen, 16 inch aluminum wheels, body color door and cluster bezels, and special badges.
- The PT Cruiser GT with the high-output 2.4 liter turbocharged engine has been dropped and is not available for the 2008 model year.
- We finally test drove a second generation PT Cruiser with an automatic and no turbocharger... find out what we thought!
- “The PT Cruiser will die in 2008; it will be replaced by a crossover in 2010.” — Automotive News, April 23, 2007
- We’ve had to stop allowing new input into the Dealer reviews - but you can still read the current reviews! (We just fixed them so you can read the in-depth portion again.)
- Updated 2009-2010 PT Cruiser rumors
- A source within Chrysler said that the PT Cruiser will cease production in 2009, to be replaced by a Chrysler version of the new Dodge Journey. These are new crossovers based on the Sebring/Avenger, one fairly sporty and one resembling the Pacifica. This is confirmation of prior rumors. Earlier we had heard from a source that Chrysler had been planning a Neon replacement which a new PT would be based on; and Chrysler itself said it was deciding now whether to make a Caliber or Avenger-Sebring based PT. Currently this remains in the “credible rumor” category.
- Our FAQ has been updated with the meaning of PT - with Bob Sheaves saying that it informally stood for Plymouth Truck, but that the platform code PT had no real meaning. (We also updated the top of page menus.)
- Allpar has an editorial on the shape of the next PT.
- Peter Valdes-Dapena's CNN Autos article talks about the "beloved Cruiser" in its next generation. Unlike many writers covering the PT, Valdes-Dapena noted the Plymouth origins of the Cruiser, and put a good deal of thought into his article on the future of the iconic car.
- PT Cruisers powered by electric motors will probably appear in New York City’s taxi fleet. Hybrid Technologies, which converts vehicles (including the PT) to lithium-ion battery power, has proposed the vehicle to the taxi commission, which will vote on it soon. The company already makes electric PT cabs for California’s Paratransit; their 600-pound, 320V battery pack can withstand 1,500 charges, and has a range of 150 miles (standard cabs average 180 miles per day). The taxi can be fully charged within six hours. New York cabs average about 100,000 miles per year (at an optimistic 20 mpg for the standard Crown Vic, that's about 5,000 gallons of fuel). The cab is expected to cost about $50,000 - $75,000, but the savings on gasoline (at today's New York prices, $15,000 per year) and discounted medallions from the city may make the proposition viable.
- oh20” wrote about the changes to the PT Cruiser for the 2007 model year:
- YES Essentials® easy-clean, stain- and odor- resistant seat fabric — optional on Touring, standard on Limited “G” Package
- Soft-touch electric liftgate switch, remote keyless illuminated entry system, and console flood lamp will be standard on all models
- New colors: Opal Metallic, Pastel Yellow, Tangerine Pearl
- The 2008 PT Cruiser will reportedly be shown at the Paris Motor Show around September 28-29, 2006. By then it will probably have debuted in the US - but perhaps not.
- The millionth PT Cruiser was built in March 2006 in Toluca, Mexico.
- We now have an extended review of the 2006 PT Cruiser GT with automatic transmission.
- Chrysler is raising the power on the newest PT Cruiser in international markets. Diesel-powered models now come with a 2.2 litre CRD engine with a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) that generates 25 percent more power - 110 kW (150 hp) - than the previous model while keeping fuel consumption constant (6.7 L/100 km, combined cycle). Maximum torque of 300 Nm (221 lb.-ft) is produced from 1600 rpm to 3000 rpm. Matched to a five-speed manual transmission, this engine reduces the 0-to-100 km/h acceleration time from 12.1 seconds in the previous model to 10.8 seconds (estimated). The engine is Euro 4 compliant and has less high-frequency combustion noise. Other available engines include a 1.6 and 2.4 liter petrol engines and the 2.4 liter turbocharged petrol engine. (Allpar.com has details on all of these engines.)
- 2006 PT changes announced
- Steep PT price drops have been confirmed - but they are essentially building rebates into the price of the car, to help raise resale value and address the perception that "if they were any good, they wouldn't need rebates to sell them."
- A British car magazine has numerous spy shots of a new PT Cruiser, believed to be an interim (2006) model. It has a wider engine bay - hence losing some of the unique front grille - and moderate changes to the wheel-well sheet metal as well. It seems likely that Chrysler is planning to put a V6 in, replacing the turbocharged 2.4. This could lower costs and bypass the overheating issues encountered by some. We will have more details later.
- Dieter Zetsche has stated that the 2008 models (coming in 2007) will definitely have substantial changes in appearance, but will be recognizable as PTs. Most sources believe that the PT will move off its current platform to that of the Neon replacement, possibly using a more typical suspension than the current innovative Watts-link-based system.
- Bloomberg reports that Chrysler is lowering PT Cruiser prices dramatically, with turbocharged models falling 10% and other models falling 19%. A new base model without air conditioning or an automatic transmission will be slotted in at $13,995 to boost sales. The changes are expected to be accompanied by reduced rebates.
- With deep lava red paint, a matching maroon cloth convertible top, and a 220-horsepower turbocharged engine, the Chrysler PT Dream Cruiser Series 4 will be available as a limited production edition this fall starting at $29,670 (excluding a $590 destination charge). This series may have the new wider engine bay.
- We've just updated the repairs section with notes on batteries and bushings.
- People have been noting early wear on front and rear bushings, with potential damage to the Watts linkage if they fail. Owners of early PTs should check their bushings for wear periodically - some reports have come in for 40,000 - 50,000 mile issues. Later PTs apparently used better bushings (we don't know when they switched.)
- We have added to the links section; subdivided the busy Vendors category; and eliminated over 30 dead links. We hope you like the changes.
- We hope you enjoy the lack of popups throughout the site! (Except in the links pages which we haven't been able to update yet.)
- Photographers have caught disguised PTs on the road, apparently with widened engine bays - it seems as though a V6 may be in the PT's future even before it shifts platforms in 2006-2008.
- Out of over 120,000 2002 PTs sold (and a bunch of 2001s), there have been seven engine fires. NHTSA is investigating. It's possible that the culprit was a fuel leak for which these models have already been recalled (we do not know whether the vehicles in question had been recalled or not.) This may mar the reputation of the PT - or it may reinforce through contrast how reliable the PT has generally been. Like the Jeep Liberty, the PT Cruiser has beaten many Japanese cars in quality ratings, and is nudging Toyota.
- Photographers have caught disguised PTs on the road, apparently with widened engine bays - it seems as though a V6 may be in the PT's future even before it shifts platforms in 2006-2008.
- A wonderfully detailed section on the PT Cruiser convertible! This is far more detail than we had before, and we think you'll like it!
- We were wrong back in September, but the PT Cruiser Convertible is now scheduled for early 2004 production. We have pricing and details.
- The PT Cruiser Convertible appears to be in production! It has two doors, and that's about all we know.
- The PT Cruiser Convertible is finally scheduled...for March 2004 production. We have no word on pricing, but the latest special limited edition Dream Cruiser was close to $30,000!
- Chrysler has semi-officially announced that the PT Cruiser will be replaced in 2006 with a vehicle having a similar form on the next-generation small car platform, being jointly designed at the moment by Chrysler and Mitsubishi. (Word from inside the corporation is that this really is a joint effort, not a joke like the Stratus Coupe, which is merely a reskinned Eclipse.) The new vehicle is being designed to accommodate a V6 engine, and is likely to have a roadster version as well as the current small SUV/minivan/tall wagon. The base engine will most likely be the new "world engine," jointly designed by Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai, and produced in the United States. The V6 may be the 2.7 (200 horsepower), but could also be a new "world" V6.
- Meanwhile, General Motors is to produce the HHR, which is strikingly similar to the PT but will be considerably larger. Under the leadership of Bob Lutz, the Chrysler leader whose reign saw the creation of the hot (but troubled) Neon, the PT Cruiser, the Viper, and the redesigned Ram trucks, GM will also produce a car smaller than the Cavalier which very strongly resembles the last-generation Chrysler Town & Country. Keep your eyes out for GM versions of the Viper, original Neon, and original Intrepid!
The Chrysler PT Cruiser turbo is finally available with a stick-shift! Maximizing the performance of the already-speedy "GT Cruiser," the PT that's every bit as fast as it looks can now be ordered with a Getrag 288S heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission.
Engineering estimates show Getrag-equipped vehicles are capable of 0-60 mph in an estimated 7.5 seconds, about a half-second improvement compared with automatic transaxle PT Turbo vehicles. Quarter-mile speed estimates also come in faster at 15.8 seconds versus 16.5 seconds.
Besides the added performance under the hood, manual Chrysler PT Turbo customers also will notice improvements at the pump. With an estimated 21mpg city and 27 mpg highway, fuel economy in the manual PT Turbo is 2 mpg better in each respect than a comparable automatic PT Turbo.
The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price for the manual Chrysler PT Turbo is $22,415, excluding a $590 destination charge. Automatic transaxle Chrysler PT Turbo vehicles with AutoStick are priced at $22,855, excluding destination charges.
From February 2000 through October 2002, 471,899 Chrysler PT Cruiser vehicles have been sold worldwide, making it one of Chrysler's most popular vehicles. Chrysler has used Getrag transmissions for many years in its turbocharged vehicles, including the amazing four-door Dodge Spirit R/T, which squeezed 225 horses out of 2.2 liters and could reach sixty mph in under 6 seconds.
- As of September 9, 2003, we will not be maintaining our own news section. Click here to read abstracted Chrysler news briefs at allpar.com.
- Car and Driver has road-tested one of the new PT Cruiser GT. Despite an automatic transmission, the GT goes from zero to sixty in only 7.2 seconds, with a 15.7 second quarter mile. The turbo drops about three and a half seconds from the sixty-mph sprint. The manual transmission should provide even more go. As it is, the GT now beats the Chrysler 300M. The article notes that the system is unusually well designed with attention paid to cooling (for durability) and fast warm-up (for environmental gains and also better power). The suspension has been well tuned for the turbo's smooth, "linear" power, so torque steer is minimal, and there seems to be no turbo lag or noise.
Chrysler introduced the PT Dream Cruiser Series II on August 13, complete with the turbocharged, 215 horsepower engine and satellite radio. It will have a new tangerine pearl coat paint color, and be available early next year with a production of 7,500 units starting in January 2003. The retail price will be $26,475 with a stick, and just under $27,000 with an automatic.
The PT Dream Cruiser Series 2 will have chrome bodyside moldings, a body-color rear spoiler and 17-inch chrome wheels with tangerine-colored center caps. "Dream Cruiser Series 2" badging with Tangerine accents also is included on the liftgate, while a "Dream Cruiser Series 2" plaque with the vehicle's unique production sequence number appears on the instrument panel center stack. Other interior accents include a combination of tangerine and grey, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome shift bezel (for automatics), and chrome shaft gear shift lever with a satin silver shift knob and special chrome door lock knobs. Standard equipment includes a power moonroof, heated driver and passenger seats, and the aforementioned satellite radio with a one year subscription for commercial free music.
Underneath the hood, the PT Dream Cruiser Series 2 for North America features a turbocharged engine, with more than 90 percent of peak torque from 2300 to 5000 rpm. A Getrag heavy-duty 5-speed manual transaxle is standard, while an automatic transaxle with AutoStick® is available. Additional features include a performance-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, ABS with traction control and a large-diameter chrome exhaust tip.
The PT Cruiser is often derided as a "fad car," despite its utility and reasonable price. Thanks to Bill Cawthon, we are able to point out that, in July 2002, more PT Cruisers were sold than Honda Odysseys, Chevrolet Ventures, Kia Sedonas, or for that matter, Dodge Intrepids, Dodge Neons, or BMW 3-Series. Chrysler sold roughly twice as many PT Cruisers as Dodge sold Stratus sedans. Indeed, the PT Cruiser is nearly as popular as the Chrysler Town & Country.
Chrysler has recalled 2001 and 2002 PT Cruisers to install a secondary seal to the top of the fuel pump module. A fuel leak was detected during an inspection following a government crash test. While there are no known incidents or complaints related to this issue, Chrysler is taking this precautionary measure to further reduce the possibility of fuel leakage in a severe collision.
Approximately one-quarter of these vehicles also will be recalled for a separate safety issue involving the underhood fuel supply line. The line may rub against the air conditioning service port, which could result in a fuel leak. While this is unlikely to occur, Chrysler will attach a clip to the fuel line to prevent contact.
Owners will be contacted by mail regarding these recalls. If owners have questions regarding their PT Cruiser they may call the Chrysler Group customer call center at 1-800-853-1403.
Chrysler has set the price for the PT Turbo at a relatively reasonable level of $22,290 (list). Arriving this fall, the PT is based on the Touring Edition, with a 215 horsepower (245 lb-ft) engine that has at least 220 lb-ft of torque available from 2,300 to 5,000 rpm. The base PT is currently $16,600, with the most fully loaded model selling for $26,000.
From February, 2000 through May, 2002, more than 395,000 Chrysler PT Cruiser vehicles have been sold worldwide.
The turbo model, which Chrysler has refused to call the GT Cruiser (it's the "Chrysler PT Turbo"), features a Getrag heavy-duty five-speed manual (AutoStick automatic available), a tuned suspension with four-wheel disc ABS brakes and traction control, 17" silver painted 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels, and P205/50HR17 all-season performance tires. Cosmetic features include:
* Body-color monotone front fascia with larger, lower openings
* Body-color monotone rear fascia with larger exhaust opening
* Large diameter chrome exhaust tip
* Body-color bodyside moldings
* "GT" badge on left liftgate, "2.4L TURBO" badge on right liftgate
* Performance front seats with unique cloth interior
* Driver seat manual lumbar adjuster
* Unique silver-faced cluster gauges with 140 mph speedometer
* Tachometer with "2.4L Turbo" badging
* Unique instrument panel accents
* "GT" embroidered front floor mats
* Silver painted shift ball
* Silver shifter bezel (automatic transaxle vehicles with AutoStick)
Motor Trend's one-year PT Cruiser road test update expresses general satisfaction with the PT, noting that it still turns heads, has had no breakdowns, and seems to be losing less oil now that it's broken in (they are giving it the recommended 7,500 mile oil changes - most owners won't see oil consumption). They recorded 0-60 acceleration as 8.6 seconds, better than the five-speed Honda Civic EX (9.0 seconds) - so much for "poor acceleration." 10, 2002.
Mr. Source tells us that the turbocharged PT Cruiser will be built starting July 7, 2002, with automatic transmissions only. The manual-transmission version, which will most likely have faster acceleration and better gas mileage, will be produced starting October
/rant mode on/ This decision will no doubt hurt the publicity for the turbo PT, since acceleration times will be hindered by the slushbox. Producing the manual first would make for more favorable coverage by the automotive press, even though most buyers will probably opt for the automatic. Most people do not consider the transmission when comparing 0-60 times...but we're glad it's going into production soon. /rant mode off/
This is roughly ptcruizer.com's two-year anniversary.
Early reports indicate that the turbo PT will be sold not as the GT Cruiser - which is catchy and sensible - but as the PT Cruiser GT, which, um, makes no sense. It will, according to rumors, come with 17" wheels, four wheel antilock brakes, a manual lumbar adjustment, and an optional AutoStick "manumatic." About 25% of the GTs sold are expected to have a five-speed. The only other change for 2003 would be painted bumpers on the Touring and Limited editions, but not on the base models. The two-door ragtop is expected to be produced during calendar year 2004 but may arrive earlier. (We don't really expect that, Chrysler's cycle times seem to have doubled since the takeover.)
The PT Cruiser turbo was announced, and we have full details.
New page! PT Cruisers of Europe
The Street Cruiser Series 1 was announced at the Geneva Auto Show for European sale. It's similar to the American Series 1 in every way except engine and title. Visit the bottom of the PT Cruisers of Europe page for details.
A two-door convertible version of the PT Cruiser has been approved for 2004 production - no word on price yet.
The Chrysler PT Cruiser did very well in Consumer Reports' latest tests, as the #2 "small car" (after the Echo and Corolla/Prizm). It easily beat the Honda Civic, as well as the Neon on which it is loosely based. The Ford Focus, by the way, came in last in that category.
According to Pete Johnstone, the PT Cruiser was the equal of the Toyota Camry and Avalon and better than the Honda Accord. The Chrysler 300M was the best domestic car of any make, presumably beating the PT by a narrow margin.
We noticed that Chrysler quality seemed higher than Mercedes quality. Shame Chrysler didn't buy Mercedes instead of the other way around...
Chrysler is pushing for PT Cruiser sales, with new $1,000 rebates in the Northeast and Midwest, ads emphasizing the low price (and, we hope, the quiet, comfortable,usable interior and excellent handling), and a push to fleet buyers. Dan Minick sent us an article sent by Chrysler to fleet buyers, reprinted from Automotive Fleet, on Loctite's use of PT Cruisers as a fleet car. 14 of Loctite's 52 entry-level fleet purchases last year were Cruisers. Chrysler overcame initial resistance to the PT by having senior management test drive it, and discover for themselves the room and storage space of the small vehicle. As Chrysler wrote, "It offers functional versatility, comfort, safety, an attractive price point, and low maintenance costs." Buyers also get the 7 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
We hope their price-based push doesn't hurt the PT's image. More than anything, Chrysler needs to get more people in a Cruiser - both journalists and ordinary folk - to fight the widespread belief that it's "just a Neon" (as though that's something bad! They need to get more people into Neons too!).
In March, the PT Cruiser will be available with a 2.2 litre OM664 common rail diesel engine. The diesel, jointly engineered by Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, is for Europe only.
Limited edition, true, but still impressive - an under $20,000 turboNeon with incredible acceleration and braking (see below) using the existing Neon. Viper-powered 500 hp Ram with 5-second 0-60 times. "We may build it" Dodge Razor with $14,500 price for 0-60 of 6 seconds and rear wheel drive (presumably based on the Lancer). And the four cylinder engines to replace the current 2.0 and 2.4 (in 2006 or so)...well, they're going to be designed jointly by Hyundai, Chrysler, and Mitsubishi. The future is suddenly brighter! What's more, the Intrepid squads are starting to roll off the line, and a new Intrepid variant is due very soon.
The GT Cruiser's 2.4 liter turbo engine is detailed along with lots of other information and pictures of the new turbocharged 148-mph Dodge Neon SRT-4. In short, the engine produces 205 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque, with a relatively flat torque curve (so it doesn't wait until you're at 6000 rpm to get moving). Seems like they're doing it right - upgrading brakes and suspension at the same time. (Neon SRT does 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, stops from 60-0 in 120 feet).
The GT Cruiser is almost certainly a "go" for 2003 production (possibly as a 2003 model), with a turbocharged 2.4 liter engine.
Daimler-Benz is in the process of selling the Austrian factory where European Chrysler Voyagers and Grand Cherokees are made. The buyer, parts maker Magna, will reportedly phase out PT Cruiser production. Various Chrysler parts plants are also being put up for sale as Daimler squeezes the assets out of Chrysler.
2002 PT Cruisers have been recalled for a computer software upgrade which will prevent the instrument panel from suddenly being darkened. No accidents have been reported. The upgrade should take a few minutes.
We've updated our accessories page again, and neatened up our style sheet again. Forum software is faster and popup ad problems should be gone now.
Bob Lutz is now chairman of General Motors - North America!
Chrysler is reportedly testing a turbocharged four-cylinder - we understand the 2.4 liter - for EPA approval, presumably to finally produce the long-awaited GT Cruiser. While rumors have pegged the new engine at about 220 horsepower, we'd expect a more modest increase, figure 180 hp the first year, possibly rising to 200. The engine may also be used in the Neon SRT. It's also possible that the company is testing a Mitsubishi turbo since Chrysler will stop making four cylinder engines in the next five years.
Chrysler has extended its powertrain warranties on all vehicles to 7 years or 100,000 miles - through the end of the year only. 0% financing is not available on the PT Cruiser, whose sales rose in October anyway.
We've tried to trim our popup ads, and have changed providers to make ads less intrusive across the board.
Chrysler has made 0% financing available on most of its vehicles - but not the PT Cruiser.
Though Chrysler sales have generally been plummeting over the past months, the PT Cruiser has been holding steady - no small feat. Chrysler has aired some ads, developed long ago but placed on hold for some time, including one which emphasizes the interior space - though most concentrate on its looks, which are well known and presumably do not need to be advertised.
Bill Cawthon wrote: "In the Q1/2001 volume of TransGlobal, their quarterly publication dedicated to commercial vehicle users, DaimlerChrysler claims they offer a version of the PT Cruiser for German fire brigades. Sadly, they did not include a picture."
Motor Trend posted some interesting photos of PT Cruiser variants under consideration - they look like real photos but may be doctored-up "what-ifs," there's no indication either way. Included are a remarkably attractive pickup and coupe, as well as an extended van and the now-familiar Panel Van and Convertible.
The PT Cruiser will not be converted to a Mitsubishi platform in the foreseeable future. However, around 2006, we speculate that it may be moved to the next-generation Lancer/Neon or Stratus/Galant platform - unless pickup, panel van, and coupe variants are made and sold. For the moment, it stands alone.
PT Cruiser production in Austria has reportedly been cut by 22%. However, the same factory makes Chrysler minivans, and an upsurge in minivan sales would presumably yield a greater profit than PT sales. In Europe, Cruiser is handicapped by relatively poor gas mileage, especially with no diesel options.
As PT Cruiser mania fades here in the United States, we wonder why Chrysler does not start to advertise its many high points - aside from style, which we don't need commercials to see. For the price, the Cruiser is hard to beat, with its combination of handling, space, comfort, and style - and, with the five speed, it isn't a slowpoke, either.
We received the following message: "I own a Cruiser. I am also a Chrysler Tech. I have seen several Cruisers including my own with mileage between 6k-8k showing signs of the lower control arms on bothe sides blowing out. Have you noticed any?" -- please respond on the tech board. Thanks.
Mopar Muscle's most recent cover story was a Hemi PT Cruiser. To fit the legendary, over-400 horsepower elephant engine in, Automotive Innovations had to lengthen the engine bay. Upgrading the vehicle to deal with sudden torque was handled by using a Viper rear and A618 transmission.
Remember PT dealer price-gouging? You ain't seen nothing yet. Read this article over at Detroit News (link broken) to see what Ford dealers are doing to their customers...it may seem too familiar.
Two new PT Cruiser models were just announced by Chrysler. The first, a Woodie, is no surprise - but the price may be, at a steep $895 list. Chrysler wrote: "A simple, flowing wood-grained graphic appears on all four doors, the quarter panels and liftgate. The graphic is a linear Medium Oak woodgrain framed with Light Ash surround moldings. Unlike aftermarket wood accent applications, this vehicle will have a full factory warranty." Not real wood!
The second new model is the Woodward Dream Cruiser Series 1. Starting on January 7, 2002, 7,500 of these will be made at $23,170 (5-speed) or $24,000 (automatic), including destination charge. They will be Inca Gold, include a chrome badge and numbered plaque (similar to the Shelby Dodges), and have 16-inch chrome wheels with gold center caps and bright PT Cruiser graphics. "Dream Cruiser" will be threaded into the floor mats. Gold color accents will appear throughou;t the interior. Matrix leather, which is textured, will be used in the seats, steering wheel, and (on automatics) shift knob.
Various sources have posited that the first "real" PT variant will be either the convertible or the GT Cruiser. We're hoping for the GT. Given its extra weight, we suspect the convertible will need the turbo engine as well.
A USA Today article covers the production story of the PT Cruiser. When the vehicle was first put into production, it took about a day to make each one, because getting the engine in was too difficult - there was only a .6 inch tolerance, one third of previous vehicles. However, by practicing and drilling, the workers - without outside help - got that time down, within a month, to about two minutes.
More importantly, the article notes that J.D. Power's review of six Mexican plants ranks Toluca as best in quality, beating plants owned by Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, GM, and DCX itself. The Toluca factory was rated the second best plant, worldwide, for DaimlerChrysler, including Mercedes plants. The PT Cruiser is one of the five highest quality "premium compact" cars, though it is a new model.
On 2002 models, a new, corporate almond color and a steel blue replace aqua and shale green. The underseat storage drawer is now standard. A passenger seat armrest has been added. As reported earlier, a flame kit (made of vinyl and applied by the dealer) is optional for about $500 on black, cranberry, red, and silver models. We still believe the rumors of a factory "Woody" package.
Almond is apparently the dealers' favorite color.
We may have information on specific changes on September 1.
The latest rumors have a factory "Woody" package being produced for 2002 models.
The 2002 models are being produced as we speak. We don't have any more information on changes, but suspect they are minor individually, and add up to a more refined and reliable vehicle collectively.
Even as the Cruiser went into production in Austria, demand seems to have softened somewhat. Gas mileage may be a factor; fortunately, a Detroit Diesel engine will probably be added as an option within one year. Austrian Cruisers can have right or left hand drive, and are built on the same line as Voyagers. Quality is reportedly very high since the flexible factory design allowed many "production style" prototypes to be tested. The diesel will probably not make it to the US, but would be welcomed by those who are disappointed by Cruiser gas mileage.
Based on changes in demand within the US, we'd expect special edition PT Cruisers to be built within a year - though what form they would take is up for grabs. We're hoping for diesel and turbocharged versions, to handle both common issues. A more efficient transmission wouldn't hurt, either.
The Crossfire has reportedly been approved and will be produced in 2002. However, no details on the platform have arrived. Rumors of a Mercedes C-class under the sheet metal have appeared.
We were able to speak with Ann Smith, communications manager for the small car platforms. She answered a number of our questions, including why the PT Cruiser is heftier than the smaller Neon: First, it is taller. Second, structural rigidity was increased to bring handling up to its currently, surprisingly good levels. Third, as a truck, it needed to meet Dodge's truck endurance standards, which are tougher, it seems, than those for cars (though we've found Dodge cars to be pretty tough as well) - which meant a heavier duty suspension and chassis. Thus, more weight, with the resulting impact on gas mileage and acceleration.
She also confirmed that the company was planning to build variants of the Cruiser in time. Ann said she would get back to us regarding details on the allocation formula, but that it was mainly based on factors such as dealership sales and comparisons of vehicle on-lot time to the national average - and is the same for all vehicles.
Finally, she said that the decision to source more production from Toluca was the result of a long and intensive analysis, and that many different alternatives were considered.
Update. Ann said that the allocation of all Chrysler vehicles is based on factors such as sales volume and vehicle on-lot time. Five-star dealerships do not get a better allocation. For more on our conversation, click here.
The rumor mill has the introduction of the GT Cruiser moved forward a little, bucking the Daimler-Benz trend of pushing back or cancelling new product introductions. While we expect a 180 horsepower version, rumors abound of 200-225 horsepower Cruisers on the way. Certainly, Chrysler is capable of getting that much power - in 1991, they produced a 2.2 liter engine with 225 horsepower - but they've been playing the horsepower wars down lately.
The Daimler-Benz policy of shared engineering may result in Mitsubishi transmissions coming to the Cruiser, but probably not until 2006. Chrysler's automatic transmission is reputed to have a fairly high amount of power loss; replacing it could improve the automatic Cruiser's power and gas mileage.
The Chevrolet SSR, which uses the Trailblazer platform to deliver a hot rod-style rear wheel drive V8 sportster, has generated a great deal of enthusiasm, but is expected to retail for about $30,000 - competing more with the Prowler than the PT Cruiser.
Good and bad news for the PT: Chrysler will delay redesigning the PT Cruiser until 2006, to save money and stagger new product introductions a bit. The good news is they won't mess with the winning design and look - many Neon enthusiasts are still hurting from that car's redesign, which, incidentally, sealed its fate (it will be gone in 2005). The bad news is that they may not invest any engineering dollars in engine and transmission upgrades (or in body lightening) which would increase power and economy.
The PT engine will be used in the Jeep Liberty, but will be called "PowerTech" there.
G. Widner wrote: "I would like to ask all the other lucky Cruiser owners to start a tradition of waving to fellow Cruiser owners. Once upon a time, I owned a 'Vette, and every time I saw another vette, each of us drivers would wave - it was like belonging to an exclusive and friendly club, and each owner, stranger or friend, was a member. For some reason, I seldom get waves back from Cruiser owners, and I would like to see this tradition catch on."
Chrysler will expand the Toluca, Mexico plant which currently builds PT Cruisers, to increase production by about one third within two years. At that time, the company is also likely to make limited-production variants such as the convertible and GT. We don't know why Chrysler is investing millions of dollars in expanding Toluca when it is closing other plants across North America, and when the Brazil plant will soon be idle.
Mitsubishi direct-injection technology will eventually be given to Chrysler, if recent announcements are true. This could provide a substantial power or economy boost to the PT Cruiser. (DCX may choose instead to use the Mitsubishi 2.4 in place of the Chrysler engine.)
Mercedes tuning unit AMG may build a high-performance version of the PT Cruiser. Rumor veracity - unknown but we don't believe it will happen now.
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