By on June 11, 2012

Dodge dealers looking to get their hands on the 2013 Dart are in for a bit of a surprise – their allocation of the new compact sedan will be based on how many units of the wretched Caliber they sold before the car was killed off.

Chrysler wouldn’t comment on allocation policies, but dealers have told Automotive News that the number of Darts they’ll receive is tied to past Caliber sales. The first examples for sale will be demos that are set to hit dealer lots at the end of June. Dealers will have to pick up the cars at a regional event, after which the cars can be sold to the public.

Our own Alex Dykes will have a review of the Dart later on – TTAC was unable to find a sex blogger that met our standards, so readers will just have to wait for The Truth About Darts.

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48 Comments on “Dodge To Allocate Darts Based On Caliber Sales...”


  • avatar
    vwbora25

    dumbest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      How so? How else will you ‘move the metal?’ Do any armchair quarterbacks on TTAC know of any other method to sample where the largest concentration of Chrysler B car customers reside? Plus, sellingthis car is almost a reward to dealers who could successfully push the Caliber.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        I audibly laughed out loud when I read the title to this post. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. The Genie from Alladin couldn’t sell a Dodge Caliber. What a God-awful car.

        Base Dart allocations on overall Dodge sales from the past 6 months, not on sales for a car that nobody in their right mind would have maybe some day purchased five years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        So tuffjuff, what kind of mythical creature sells 200,387 in the US throughout the life of the car? Possibly a unicorn? Maybe a sasquatch?

        Despite not being a great car, the Caliber sales are in line with other compact budget hatchbacks.

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        DTS,
        Maybe the Hertz faerie? The “no credit turned down” gnome? The forest nymph with a brother-in-law in federal government purchasing who owes him a favor?

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        But they still sold in numbers comparable to the competition. Which still provides a benchmark for allocation. Tresmonos really hit this one on the head.

        The kind of folks who bought the Caliber will be the same kind of folks who buy the Dart.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Correct, dts. Tuffjuff would like us to believe the Ram buyers (majority of Dodge allocation) would be the ones to scoop this up. Common sense says that isn’t the case. I’m not sure what’s with all the ‘outrage’ about the article. It numbs the brain.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        If anything I’d say potential 200 buyers would consider a loaded Dart as an alternative. Partially because, while the 200 is a great car since Fiat re-did it recently, it’s still super ugly from the outside, and partially because it’s ridiculous to think the Caliber wasn’t purchase by anybody other than those who maybe couldn’t get financing for a real car, or people who were idiots.

        Since we all know this country is full of idiots – how else could a car with a T on the front sell half a million copies a year based solely on the pipe dream of “superior” reliability? – I’m guessing the second option. Or it could be because Chrysler put tons of cash on the hoods of those things.

        Chrysler *still* does this. The difference? Now, their vehicles are worth buying, every last one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Sending all the Darts through Caliber channels means that the Dart will wind up in fleets and one-dealer towns with buyers bereft of all the choices that were superior to the Caliber through its reign of terror. This assures that the Dart will rapidly pick up the fleet/ignoramus stigma that afflicted the Caliber and is culling the Cruze from shopping lists.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I suppose Dodge has to use some allocation standard, but they’d be better off using the old Neon sales as a hint of per-dealer sales.

    I’m eager to read the TTAC Dart review; other reviews have been fairly glowing.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      One problem with using sales of Neon is that the dealer base has changed. The last Neon was in 2005 and quite a number of dealers have closed/consolidated about 2009.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Talk about haunting poor Dodge dealers beyond the grave…

  • avatar
    forraymond

    Since it is not a GM product, the review may be “fair and balanced.”

  • avatar
    Robbie

    GM sponsoring Manchester United; the Dart being covered by sex bloggers… Does anyone else feel the same fear that I feel – that in spite of the bankruptcies, Detroit is still not about product and engineering, but about PR instead?

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Makes sense to me.

  • avatar
    99_XC600

    Well I guess this means that there will be zero dealers within the United States taking delivery on any Darts.

    Sounds like if you want one…better head to Enterprise, Hertz, Alamo ETC ETC ETC. I’m pretty sure they were the biggest purchasers of the Caliber Crap Wagon.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    They need to distance this one from the POS that preceded it, maybe instead they should keep it away from dealers that sell a lot of Ram trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokees. Them folks would not buy some Aitalian designed crap!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “dealers have told Automotive News that the number of Darts they’ll receive is tied to past Caliber sales.”

    The Automotive News article claimed that it would be ONE of the criteria, not the only criteria.

    In any case, how else would you do it at this juncture? As of now, they don’t have other sales data to use for this. As the car hits the market and sales are made and that data is generated, then one would expect the allocations to change accordingly. But as of now, nobody knows how well or badly it is going to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      I think the point is that the way to sell the Caliber was to discount heavily and find financing for customers who had poor credit ratings and couldn’t buy another new car otherwise.

      I thought the point of the Dart was that it was a world-class car that would compete with the best: Mazda3, Cruze, Focus, Elantra, Civic. So if you are focusing your sales efforts on dealers who specialize in selling garbage, are you putting your best foot forward?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        That doesn’t really address my point.

        -You have a limited amount of initial inventory

        -You don’t have product-specific data by which to set allocations, as it’s a new car

        -How would you allocate the initial inventory? You need to figure out some way to divvy it up. What would you do differently?

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        PCH,
        If you were a sophisitcated marketer, you would understand your customer base and tailor your marketing plans, including dealership allocations, around that customer base.

        In the case of the Dart, the target market is people who are knowledgable enough about cars to read all the glowing reviews the car mags will print about it, but not so knowledgable that they would recognize that the combination of Chrysler competence and FIAT design can only result in a rusting, unreliable vehicle with severe ownership challenges.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “In the case of the Dart, the target market is people who are knowledgable enough about cars to read all the glowing reviews the car mags will print about it, but not so knowledgable that they would recognize that the combination of Chrysler competence and FIAT design can only result in a rusting, unreliable vehicle with severe ownership challenges.”

        If that’s the target market, then they’re screwed, since there aren’t many people who match that description.

        The manufacturer serves as a lender to the dealer. The slower the turn, the worse that it is for the manufacturer, since it is the manufacturer that is carrying most of the inventory holding costs.

        Past performance can provide useful insights for future performance. That’s why past sales success is necessarily one of the criteria. Since they don’t have past data for the Dart, they are using data for the car that the Dart is replacing. Fairly straightforward stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I think all of the intelligence has just checked out of TTAC for the day.

  • avatar

    The Dodge dealers who sold lots of Calibers should be arrested for littering all over America.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I can just see the sex blogger’s post now. “The Dodge Dart is like Johnny Cash, it’s coming in June.”

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    You don’t mine for gold at random locations, so it makes perfect sense. If you were good at convincing folks that K-alibers were good cars… Well there’s a special place in hell for ya, but yeah.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    If you sold a lot of Calibers, you are:
    1) Highly dedicated to the Dodge brand.
    2) Located in a region where people looking for a compact car are willing to step foot in a Dodge dealership.

    What’s the problem? This sounds like a smart allocation plan to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Exactly. Unfortunately, there are too many smart-a**es here who just can’t pass on yet another knee-jerk hammering of Chrysler for one of their second rate cars. Which means any chance of intelligent discourse is smothered under the usual Best & Brightest bigotry.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Really, ChicagoDude and Syke were right. In today’s information age, who can be duped? Anyone who bought a Caliber was probably doing so on price and/or credit availability. They certainly weren’t expecting to get class-leading performance, efficiency, quality or reliability. “Special place in hell?” C’mon, it’s the manufacturer who deserves some Hades living space. Every dealer has to sell crap, including the hallowed brands like M-B, BMW, Hyundai, etc.

    • 0 avatar

      Chicago Dude,

      Those are valid points but on the other side of the ledger is the fact that basing allocation of new product on the sales performance of a previous product that was not particularly competitive in its market segment may not be an accurate predictor of the new product’s sales.

      Sure, those dealers that sold a lot of Calibers probably will sell a lot of Darts. On the other hand, perhaps if the Caliber was a better car, other dealers might have done even better.

      Since we’ll never know and since Chrysler has to allocate production in some way, there are probably worse ways than based on Caliber sales.

      Actually, I’m not convinced that allocation makes sense, beyond making sure that all dealers have a demo, a showroom example and at least a couple of retail units in stock for sales at all times.

      Perhaps someone can explain to me why they don’t just allocate based on dealer orders. Providing that a dealer has enough financing, why shouldn’t they be able to order as many cars as they want?

      Either way, an allocation system is going to involve inequities. Why not just make let market demand shape allocation beyond necessary per-dealer stock levels.

  • avatar
    cerenkoveffect

    Makes sense to me – anybody that bought a Dodge Caliber is going to be in the market for a new car.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The same reason why someone would buy the inferior Journey, more car for the money at least, as far as size is concerned, while giving up things like driving dynamics and quality.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    “Dodge To Allocate Darts Based On Caliber Sales”
    Which is to say, they won’t.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    I don’t understand the Caliber hate. I’ve never owned one but the ones I’ve rented didn’t seem that bad. At least a big person could sit in one and the there were no gunslit windows.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      The Caliber had reliability issues, an awful power train with awful efficiency, class trailing interior materials and build quality and… those are the only reasons I can think of; coincidentally, they happen to be the reasons that matter the most. ;)

  • avatar
    el scotto

    +1000 to Syke. Is it a decent car? Yes. Will it be a decent DD? Yes. Will I see a lot of them when I go back to the great Midwest? Yes. They’re built there, duh. Sorry to the ADD challenged that it’s not your Thunderbolt Grease Slapper Gomez Addams Special Edition.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    The policy makes sense, target the dealers where smaller cheaper vehicles sell and avoid allocating the ones that base most of their sales on trucks etc.

    I don’t get what the problem is, it’s a good way to estimate initial demand. After a bit of time I’m sure it will be adjusted appropriately, but they have to have some logical system to start from.

    I can’t think of any other metric that makes sense for initial product delivery. If any of the naysayers about the Caliber can come up with a better REALISTIC metric, please by all means enlighten us.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Look we won’t be getting Alfa’s anytime soon so at least build an adquate supply of Darts for folks who are not interested in other cars in the $20k compact class i.e Elantra, Focus, Cruze etc. and want to stand out from the pack and desire a bit of Italian brio especially when ordered with the MultiAir Turbo and 6spd.

  • avatar
    jnik

    The Dart is for CLOSERS ONLY!
    Maybe they should have named it the Glengarry.


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