What Will Last Longer: the Dodge Dart or Obama's Presidency?
After announcing earlier this year that it wanted someone else to take care of its problem patients, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is performing surgery on the slow-selling Dodge Dart lineup.
The Fiat-based compact will be pared down from five offerings to three, outfitted to offer the features customers want at a strategic price, with no engine overlap between models. It also means the end of the “Obama Dart” — the high-mileage Aero edition produced to satisfy the U.S. government’s bailout conditions many years back. More on that later.
To try to reverse the trend, FCA is trying consolidation. Dodge will now drop the entry-level Dart SE, and start the ladder with the Dart SXT Sport. That model, which retails for $17,995 (about a grand more than the SE), comes equipped with a 2.0-liter Tigershark four-cylinder making 160 horsepower.
The SXT model will disappear, as will the Aero, with a Dart Turbo slotted into the middle spot. Powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo four that makes 160 hp, but significantly more torque than the 2.0-liter, the Dart Turbo will retail for $19,495, less than the similarly equipped Aero.
Topping out the range will be the Dart GT Sport. Packing the hottest Dart powerplant — a 184 hp 2.4-liter Tigershark four — the GT Sport will sell for $20,995, undercutting the price of the GT and Limited models it will be replacing.
Three appearance packages — Chrome, Rallye and Blacktop — will remain available.
“We are repositioning the Dart lineup to better align production and dealer inventory with consumer demand and preference,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA’s North American passenger car brands, in a statement.
Six-speed manual transmissions will come standard on all models, with a six-speed automatic available as an option … except on the Dart Turbo.
If you recall, the Aero/Obama Dart came with an optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic (now on its way to becoming a museum piece) that never took off with the buying public, but was needed to satisfy fuel economy demands.
That model, and the requirement of achieving 40 miles per gallon combined (via the “old” EPA methodology), could be to blame for the Dart’s botched launch back in late 2012.
With a six-speed stick as its sole transmission choice, the Dart Turbo will continue to keep the bailout days alive — for the time being, anyway — thanks to an EPA highway rating of 41 mpg.
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- MaintenanceCosts This class of car competes hard with Chargers/Challengers and modded diesel pickups for the douchey-driving crown.
- 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
- Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
- Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
- Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
A chilling thought - President Rodham - nominates and gets King Pimple of a man put on the Supreme Court. Conservatives flee the court and then King Pimple become chief justice. 30 years of his judicial activism and contempt for the Constitution would make Canada erect a wall to keep us all out.
Since President Obama is on the sidelines at this point(12/2019), I'd say his legacy will be longer than that of the modern Dodge Dart. I hope Sergio Marchionnes'legacy will last a lot longer. He was one of my favorite auto execs, and his forecast on the 60 Minutes interview that FCA could survive one failure(meaning the Dart being manufactured during the time of the interview) makes me doubly sad that he's no longer alive. This being said, the Dart was a sales failure while I lived in Boston. Now out in Reno, I probably see one on the highway every other day, which dwarfs the number bought in Boston. This is also Dodge/Ram country, more seen on the road than either F150 or the Chev/GMC cousins as far as late model rigs. Maybe that and a generous rebate for Darts after assembly stopped are factors in the higher sales numbers out west.