2013 Dodge Dart production starts at Belvidere plant

Article by Christian A., on May 8, 2012

2013 Dodge Dart has already started production at the Belvidere, Illinois plant and will begin to arrive in dealership this June. The first unit that rolled off the line was a red Rallye model. It features a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four engine, a backup camera, a six-speed manual transmission, and sunroof. The 2012 Detroit auto show was where the 2013 Dodge Dart was unveiled.

The Dart SE has a starting price of $16,790 (which include a $795 destination charge) while opting for the Rallye trim level brings the price to as high as $19,790. The Dodge Rallye features the following as standard equipment: air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, distinctive front and rear fascias, dual exhaust tips, black headlight surrounds, and a steering wheel that’s covered in leather.

It’s believed that there will soon be several other derivatives of the 2013 Dodge Dart. For the Chinese market, it will be available as the Fiat Viaggio and will receive a mild restyling. Before 2012 ends, Dodge will offer a special Dart Aero model that could attain a 41mph fuel economy rating on the highway. The Jeep Compass and Patriot are also produced at the Dart’s factory in Belvidere.

Due to the high consumer demand, vehicle production has to increase and so the plant will not have its usual two-week shutdown for the summer this year. The demand is high for the new Dodge sedan because of its gorgeous styling and its impressive driving performance. In addition, the Dart’s interior space is the best in its class while its horsepower ratings are standard. The 2013 Dart is truly much better than the Dodge compacts (Caliber and Neon) that came before it.

According to the Head of Dodge Design – Chrysler LLC, Joe Dehner, the Dart was every designer’s fantasy; a total delight to design. So much artistic freedom was given to the team by the company, allowing them to design an exterior with proportions that scream ‘fun-to-drive’. It has Charger-inspired 'racetrack' taillamps, a sleek, crosshair grille and piano black accents, adding up to a performance-inspired design that bears the right attitude.

The Fiat Group-based Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) architecture's low-slung, wide and elongated dimensions gave an unwavering "body-in, wheels-out" stance and coupe-like silhouette.

Fender formations were emphasized by the platform with the wheels pushed farther to the corners as far as possible, creating a stable look. This allowed Dodge designers to do some sculpturing.

Designers treated the vehicle framework using processes similar to stretching nylon over a surface. The basic design, spirited strokes and arches from every angle were mixed with the distinct Dodge quality. The facade of the Dart was tailored with the Dodge split crosshair grille, with a modern, sleek look that hovers in the front fascia, giving it a full-width veneer that makes it recognizable as a Dodge.

The rear of the Dodge Dart has a Charger-inspired "racecourse" full-width taillamp with 152 indirect luminosity LEDs, and class-exclusive dual exhausts in the rear fascia. The anterior of the Dodge Dart was designed for suave, all-encompassing, airflow in the car without compromising styling or engine cooling. The lower radiator close-out panel below the front fascia is a major factor in Dart's lower front-end appearance. However, it also cuts drag while permitting an 8-inch curb clearance.

Press Release

History-Making Day for 2013 Dodge Dart

May 7, 2012 2:31 PM

There's a prevailing attitude at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. No matter where you go inside the nearly 5-million-square-foot facility, or who among the more than 2,700 workers you may talk to, there's one distinct feeling there that overshadows all the rest.

Pride.

And for good reason.

Today, the first 2013 Dodge Dart rolled off the assembly line, officially beginning a new era for the brand's compact car segment, offering customers roominess, style, functionality and fuel-efficiency.

It's also time for a little pomp and celebration on this watershed day for the plant, its workers and for Dodge.

"This is huge for everybody here at Belvidere," said plant manager Kurt Kavajecz. "Seeing that Dart roll off the line was quite a thrill for me and the men and women who built it."

"The launch of the 2013 Dodge Dart is one of the most anticipated in our history and represents a tremendous source of pride for the Brand and the Company," said President & CEO Dodge Brand Reid Bigland. "The all-new Dart offers consumers features and benefits never before found in a compact car."

The all-new Dart will begin to arrive at Dodge dealers across the country in late June and already has been bestowed with several awards. The Dart was named to "Ward's 10 Best Interiors" List for 2012, as well as being awarded "Most Significant Vehicle" at the North American International Auto Show by editors at Autoweek. And, just last week, the Texas Auto Writers Association named the Dart the "Best Value," "Best New Feature" and "Compact Car of Texas."

It's ironic that although the pride for the all-new Dodge Dart felt throughout the Belvidere plant is genuine (and not manufactured), it was the manufacturing of the Dart that provides the source of that pride.

There's an anonymous quote that puts the whole issue into perspective: "Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity."

Or, as that great sage (and former baseball pitcher/broadcaster) Dizzy Dean was known to say, "It ain't bragging if you can do it."

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