The first generation Neon was introduced in January 1994 and manufactured until 1999. It was available as a four-door sedan or two-door coupe. It was powered by either a 132hp (98kW) @ 6000rpm and 129ft (39m)·lbf (175N•m) @ 5000rpm SAE 2.0L SOHC or a 150hp (112kW) @ 6500rpm (R/T DOHC model) and 133 ft·lbf (180N•m) @ 5600rpm SAE 2.0L DOHC four-cylinder engine. The first generation Neon was available with a three-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission and was sold as a Dodge and Plymouth in the United States and Canada, and as the Chrysler Neon outside North America.
The Neon had more standard power when compared to competitor cars of similar vintage - the Civic DX at 102 hp (76 kW), the Civic EX at 125 hp (93 kW), the Sentra at 115hp, the Escort ZX2 at 130 hp (97 kW), the Corolla at 115 hp (86 kW), etc.
At the Neon's release, then chairman of Chrysler Corporation Robert Lutz said, "There's an old saying in Detroit: 'Good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two.' We refuse to accept that."