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The Stellantis first-quarter sales report is out and revealed some automotive zombies are somehow still hanging in there. Savvy salespeople managed to sling not only a Chrysler 200 but a Dodge Dart, too.

No, we aren’t caught in a time loop and your memory is correct: The Chrysler 200 died about four years ago and the Dodge Dart died about five years ago. These cars were fine, but uncompetitive in a world where crossovers rule the roads and sales charts.

A 200 and a Dart were still sitting on a lot, just waiting for someone, anyone, to take them home. These aren’t the only zombies on the Stellantis 2021 first-quarter sales report. Some salespeople also dusted the cobwebs off of a couple of Vipers and a few Fiat 500s.




The Vipers aren’t too surprising, as some dealerships are holding onto the last remaining new serpent-themed sports cars and slowly releasing them into the wild, reports Road & Track. But that Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart? A part of me is imagining the poor things sitting out in the back of the lot, dusty and ignored.

It’s not all dead ends in the Stellantis sales report. As Detroit Free Press notes, Ram truck sales beat out Silverado sales:

For the quarter, Ram sold 148,836 pickups, up 16%, compared with the Chevrolet Silverado, at 126,591, down 12.5%. Ford’s F-Series remained in front at 203,797, up 9%.
Cars generally don’t like sitting for extended periods of time. A car that’s been sitting on a lot for five years could have rusty brakes, paint blemishes or a battery that won’t hold a charge. Since these zombies were sold via dealerships, these problems are less likely to pop up, but still, if you score an epic deal on some unsold dead car, be sure to check it out to make sure everything is as they should be.

 

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Are There Any Zombie Dealership Remnants near You?

Brands come and go, but the landscape can preserve some artifacts.

Pull into an old shopping plaza where the scent of the 1990s still hangs in the air, and you're bound to see a car dealer that had changed brands several times since the Reagan administration. Sometimes it's obvious, like a quonset hut left over from the heyday of the Hummer H2. Other times it's a more obscured by layers of questionable architectural decisions, leaving the building's initial intent unknown. Occasionally, a giant sign remains, still advertising its past life.


3743



The Peugeot sign in this photo was part of a very small dealership that sold Jeep, Renault, AMC, Chrysler, and Peugeot brands in the 1980s, but then became a Jeep, Eagle, and Chrysler dealer in the 1990s. Eagle was dropped after a few years, and Peugeot itself left the U.S. in 1991, but the Peugeot sign remained, upstaging the very last Jeep phase of the dealership that lasted until about 2010. So yes, there was a Jeep dealership with a giant Peugeot sign until a decade ago. The sign itself was finally taken down in 2011 after the dealership became a used car lot, when a crew with a bucket truck came and spent an hour taking it down, relegating the six-foot tall sign to a construction dumpster.

The 1990s saw a wave of brands close down entirely or leave the U.S. market: Geo and Eagle franchises often switched to other brands from same same corporate family, while Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, and Daihatsu left outright.




The auto industry crisis of 2007-2009 created yet another wave of zombie dealerships, mostly affecting GM brands including Saab, Pontiac, and Saturn. Others like Suzuki and Isuzu had gotten up and left the U.S. during this time.

Out of all of these, we certainly remember some lingering Saturn signage in the early 2010s, only a couple of years after Saturn closed its doors. But finding something from the 1980s or 1990s is far more difficult, even though some former Alfa Romeo dealers had converted into independent service shops but kept the Alfa signs.


 
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