While the 2013 Dodge Dart compact is competitively priced, automotive analysts think that a lot of its success would depend on how reliable it is. The Dart is the first compact sedan from the Chrysler Group since it discontinued production of the Neon in 2005. It has a price range of $16,790 to $23,290 (which includes a delivery charge of $795.
It is offered in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T. This model has been priced and styled to appeal to Generation Y consumers, or those who are between 19 and 31 years old. The Dart arrives this June at showrooms. Rebecca Lindland, senior analyst with research firm IHS Automotive in suburban Detroit, considers the Dart to be a crucial model for Chrysler in the compact car market.
He said that its pricing is comparable to that of its key rivals like the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra. She said that to succeed, the Dart has to impress the market with its price, utility, fuel economy, and reliability.
The problem is that Dart is new and so its reliability isn’t known yet. The Dart starts production this quarter at Chrysler’s assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill. What’s offered as its base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 160 hp and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed automatic.
According to Alexander Edwards, an analyst with California research firm Strategic Vision, the styling of this Dart is bolder than others in the compact market but it comes from a brand that has had challenges with being reliable and with gaining consumers’ trust. Edwards believes that the Dart will perform well in a market where the average new compact car is sold for around $19,000.
He said that around 30% of new small-car sales are vehicles that have prices lower than $18,000. Honda Civic has been the top-selling compact in the U.S. through March, with 77,169 units sold. The Civic is priced from $16,545 (which includes a delivery cost of $790). Coming in at second place is the Toyota Corolla with 68,428 units sold in the U.S. It has a starting price of $16,890, (which include a $760 delivery charge).