DETROIT -- The PT Cruiser, which initiated a batch of retro-styled vehicles at Chrysler, will live for at least another year.
Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company will keep building the PT Cruiser in Toluca, Mexico, reversing the automaker's plan announced in January.
At that time, Chrysler had said it would stop production and put the line up for sale. Chrysler then was under majority ownership of the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which was trying to sell as many of the financially troubled automaker's assets as possible.
Cerberus was unable to stave off Chrysler's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing. The new company that emerged from reorganization in June is called Chrysler Group and is controlled by Italian automaker Fiat S.p.A.
Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said all the company's product plans are under review.
The PT Cruiser was introduced in 2000 as a wagon and in 2005 as a convertible. The convertible was discontinued in the 2008 model year. Since launching the PT Cruiser, Chrysler has launched the retro-styled Dodge Charger and Challenger muscle cars.
Jim Hall, an analyst for 2953 Analytics in suburban Detroit, says keeping the PT Cruiser around for a while makes sense.
"It's a vehicle they sell that has no marketing cost," Hall says. "The tooling is paid off. There's no reason to drop it."
Says John Wolkonowicz, an analyst for IHS Global Insight: "Chrysler is going to have to continue some existing products longer than originally intended, simply because the new replacements won't be ready on time."
Chrysler officials declined to say how long they would produce the vehicle. The company also makes the Dodge Journey crossover at the Toluca plant.
U.S. annual sales of the PT Cruiser peaked in 2001 at 144,717. Chrysler sold 50,910 in 2008 and has sold 8,591 this year.