Poor Sales Of Dodge Dart Prompt Plant Layoffs

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
poor sales of dodge dart prompt plant layoffs

Poor sales of the Dodge Dart have led to temporary layoffs at the auto maker’s Belvidere, Illinois plant, where the Dart is produced. Despite Chrysler sales being up 11 percent last month, sales of the Dart were down 37 percent.

Speaking to the Daily Herald, Autopacific’s Dave Sullivan noted that

“What’s going on now with the Dart is that when buyers go into a Dodge showroom they are getting such great incentives on the Dodge Avenger that buyers are choosing the larger car. It’s going to be several months before the Avenger is sold out, then we’ll get a better sense where the interest is in the Dart.”

Current incentives on the Avenger mean that it’s possible to get a mid-level Avenger for roughly the same price as a Dart. Although the difference may be $1,000-$2,000 in MSRP, it means virtually nothing in the realm of monthly payments that most car shoppers operate in.

As of February 1, Chrysler had a 220 day supply of Avengers and a 129 day supply of Darts. Both figures are abnormally large for the industry, but they only serve to highlight the problem outlined by Sullivan. Incentives on the Avenger will rise, as Chrysler tries to clear out the remaining stock, meaning the Dart could languish on the lots. Year-to-date, the Avenger is even outselling the Dart by about 3,000 units.

Prior to the Dart’s launch, Sergio Marchionne sat for an interview with 60 Minutes, where he proudly showed off the Dart for the cameras and said “ If you’re a serious car maker and you can’t make it into this segment, you’re doomed.” At the time, it might have seemed like harmless bluster. Right now, those words look a bit ominous – even if the Dart itself isn’t such a bad product.

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  • Brettc Brettc on Mar 06, 2014

    We briefly looked at the Dart before recently buying a 2014 Jetta SE. I loved the colours they offer them in and the amount of options was so good, it was overwhelming. Plus there was the fact that the special ordered cars were something like a 2 month wait. So we ended up buying a Jetta because we're used to VWs and the Dart had various things going against it like the weak/thirsty engine options on the dealer lot. Plus my wife said the car smelled like cheap plastic and that was even before the door was opened. (She's really sensitive to smells). So we bought the Dart's poorly selling cousin. In the end the wife made the final call and she was not fond of the Dart so no Dart for us!

  • Roadscholar Roadscholar on Mar 06, 2014

    Almost 22K miles of driving like I stole it on my 2013 Limited 1.4L/6M and no problems. Reminds me of a European sports sedan minus the 20 or 30 hp it needs but very quiet and comfy at high speed on the highway. Fun to drive but, yes, I do have to wind it up to go anywhere. Wonder if I can put a VW 2.0T in it. The seat/driving position fits me very well and I'm 6'7". All in all happy with the car.

  • Koreancowboy Koreancowboy on Mar 06, 2014

    People would have snapped this up, if this was the direct replacement for the Neon back in 2005. But alas, it is 2014, and virtually everything in this segment has already passed this by...they're going to need a tonne of incentives to move this.

  • DIYer DIYer on Mar 14, 2014

    Bought a 2013 Dart Aero 1.4T 6-spd manual exactly 1 year ago today. This is the high-mileage version of the Dart, definitely not a hot rod. It's the most economical car I've had, getting 40 mpg on a consistent basis. Took it out West to the Tetons and Yellowstone camping last May, no problems to date. Probably will take it out West again this year, maybe Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia.