Fiat debuted the Ottimo at the 2013 Guangzhou Auto show. The five-door hatchback is based on the same platform as the Dodge Dart and Fiat Viaggio sedan and it will be assembled alongside the Viaggio by the joint venture between Fiat and Guangzhou Automobile Group, doubling production at that plant in southern China.
Tag: dodge dart
Will there ever be a time in which no Chrysler A-bodies show up in North America’s cheap self-serve wrecking yards? Sure, Darts and Valiants were as common 20 years ago as are dead Tauruses now, so the former torrent of old Chrysler compacts has become a trickle, but I still find at least a couple of them every time I visit The Crusher’s waiting room. In the last couple of years, this series has included this ’75 Duster, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’66 Dart, this ’73 Valiant, and this ’61 Valiant, and today we’ll be admiring the car that was to 1983 what the ’94 Corolla is to 2013: a cheap, dependable sedan that nobody noticed. (Read More…)
In the compact segment, GM and Ford are having no trouble moving metal. The Cruze is coming off of a record month, and the Focus is slightly ahead of the Cruze year-to-date. So what about the Dodge Dart? Sales of the Dart have been incredibly weak; in a segment where the top sellers can move between 20,000 and 30,000 units monthly, the Dart has barely cracked 8,000 units per month. Not a good sign when Sergio Marchionne himself said “if you’re a serious car maker, and you can’t make it into this segment, you’re doomed.”
The Dart’s biggest competitor may not even be in the compact segment, but in the the very same showroom it lives in.
The Dodge Dart was supposed to have been the Messianic Redemption for Chrysler’s passenger car side; a well-built, competent compact car that would draw in young buyers to the Dodge brand while taking the fight to established players like Civic, Corolla and Focus. It had all the right elements on paper too; a large cabin, Alfa Romeo underpinnings and the all-important 40 MPG rating.
As we come to yet another hiccup in the launch of the Dodge Dart, it’s worth taking a look backwards to examine how we got to this point; the elimination of a second shift at the Dundee, Michigan plant that builds the Dart’s 1.4L FIRE engine, as well as the firing or re-assignment of 58 workers.
As both Ronnie and Michael Karesh noted, the same 1.4T FIRE engine that’s so delightful in the Fiat 500 Abarth is weaksauce in the Dart. The 1.4T’s clunky dual-clutch auto doesn’t help matters either. If it weren’t for government mandated fuel economy targets imposed as a condition of the bailout, that engine – and possibly the Dart – wouldn’t even be here right now.
While the GM inventory woes have been a fixture of TTAC for months, excess inventory isn’t the sole domain of GM’s pickups. Chrysler is having its own issues, with the Dodge Dart suffering from a glut of inventory.
Consumer Reports tested the latest offerings of Detroit automakers, did not like the Dodge Dart, was frustrated by the Cadillac XTS, was underwhelmed by the Lincoln MKS, and put off by the Chevrolet Spark. CR ended up recommending a Japanese Lexus ES instead. (Read More…)
Four 2013 models, the Lexus ES, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Subaru XV Crosstrek, and the Dodge Dart received the coveted “Top Safety Pick” award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (Read More…)
A hot tip from a few friends in my generational cohort, the ones who don’t drive or have any interest in motoring. They all love this ad for the Dodge Dart and encouraged me to check it out.
The folks over at Allpar are concerned about Dart sales. The initial batch of Darts were released as “Rally” models with manual transmissions for about $23,000 — and apparently, one of the Allpar reader’s dealers has an ADP sticker on top of that! The Darts don’t seem to be selling. Not for $23,000, and not with a manual transmission.
Now the Wall Street Journal is chiming in.
You’ve got to give Sergio Marchionne credit for at least one thing: he’s a masterful negotiator. The Italian-Canadian FIAT exec bluffed General Motors into paying $2 billion for the right to NOT buy the Italian company. He went on to acquire a controlling stake in Chrysler for no cash. Instead, FIAT agreed to provide the auto maker, hollowed out by Daimler and Cerberus, with powertrains and platforms. Three years after that deal, Chrysler has introduced the first car developed for North America around FIAT innards, the compact Dodge Dart sedan (pre-production review).
The last time Chrysler made a serious attempt at the C-segment was in 1995 with the Neon. High initial sales were soon followed by less-than-stellar crash scores, a redesign that put off buyers, the death of the Plymouth brand, and the unholy offspring that was the Dodge Caliber. With Fiat needing to add a “40 MPG CAFE” vehicle to the fleet to continue their acquisition, the Dodge Dart was born. This first fruit of the Fiat/Dodge marriage isn’t just a rebadged Alfa Romeo Giulietta (pronounced Juliet-ta), and there’s a reason for that. Dodge wants a bigger part of the pie since sedans account for 80% of the compact segment. Rather than “sedanify” the Giulietta, Dodge took the extra step of crafting an entirely new vehicle that shares little with the Italian organ donor. Can some Italian spice give Dodge what they need to compete with the growing compact sedan segment? Dodge invited us to a regional preview event to find out.
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.