2011 Chrysler 200Enlarge Photo
If you’re in the market for a 2012 Chrysler 200, a 2012 Dodge Avenger or a 2012 Dodge Journey, we have good news for you: all of these models will cost less than their 2011 equivalents, at least in base trim levels.
The 2012 Chrysler 200 and the 2012 Dodge Avenger will both start at $18,995, which is a difference of $250 compared to base 2011 models. That makes the Chrysler mid-size sedans cheaper than competitors such as the Suzuki Kizashi and the Kia Optima, and we couldn’t find any specific evidence of de-contenting on the 200 or Avenger. That’s not to say that Chrysler didn’t trim a few corners to save money, only that any changes are buried fairly deep on the build sheet.
The 2012 Dodge Journey gets a substantial price reduction on the base model, which now starts at $20,995, or $1,450 less than last year. Base model Journeys still come with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, and they still include five-passenger seating with a third-row as an available option. The price cut makes the entry-level Journey SE one of the lowest-priced mid-size crossovers on the market, beating out even the Kia Sorento, and we’re fairly sure that 2012 Journeys have a few less features than their 2011 counterparts (although Chrysler isn’t giving us specifics just yet).
This may seem like an odd time for Chrysler to lower prices, since used-car prices are up and most competitors are either raising new car prices or lowering sales incentives. We suspect it has a lot to do with moving inventory, since none of the discounted models have sold in sufficient quantities to make Chrysler happy.
The revamped-for-2011 Dodge Journey, for example, sold just 27,000 copies through the first six months of the year, which is only a five-percent increase over 2010’s dismal sales. On the plus side, the Journey is a hit in Europe, where’ it's sold as the Fiat Freemont.
Will lowering prices help Chrysler sell more units? Perhaps, but being perceived as the “least expensive” automaker isn’t always a good thing, either.