Chrysler to ramp up production of 2013 Dodge Dart at Belvidere facility

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 3, 2012

Chrysler Group will boost production of the 2013 Dodge Dart quickly at a plant in Belvidere, Ill., generating at least 1,800 additional jobs even before the first model has been built, the automaker has revealed. In a ceremony with local and state officials at the facility, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne disclosed that the vehicle manufacturer will shell out an additional $100 million in the factory's body shop, bringing recent investments there to a total of $700 million.

Marchionne commented that it was "not by chance" that they chose Belvidere to make the investment and assemble the new Dodge Dart. He further stated that their decision is "evidence of the faith" that they have in the plant employees' level of commitment and passion to provide great products for customers. He also told the employees that they have been "essential" in the company's ability to "author a remarkable story of recovery."

Currently, Chrysler has 2,500 employees in its production line at the Illinois facility and a nearby stamping factory. Around 500 of the new workers are required for the production of Dart, while the rest are needed for the plant to meet increased demand for two other automobiles, the company disclosed. 

The facility outside Chicago also manufactures the Jeep Patriot and Compass. The production of the Dart will commence in spring. The Belvidere facility produced the Dodge Caliber until December. It will convert to the automaker's controversial 3/2/120 production schedule.

The head of Dodge Design- Chrysler Group LLC, Joe Dehner, enthusiastically stated that the dream design of the Dodge Dart was based on the Alfa Romeo’s architecture, which guided design engineers in the successful creation of the Dodge Dart’s well-proportioned exterior. Its overall design exudes an appealing temperament, thus radiating a distinct fun-to-drive character. Joe Dehner further explained that with the addition of some of the Dodge Charger’s features, such as racetrack-type taillamps, a sharp-looking crosshair grille design and sporadic piano-black accents, the 2013 Dart was able to achieve a perfectly balanced design character with just the right amount of attitude.

Embracing the Fiat Group’s Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) architectural character of low, wide and long dimensions, the Dodge Dart attained a stable, well-balanced “body-in, wheels-out” posture and a coupé-like profile. Moreover, the CUS-wide platform resulted in the fender’s improved, accentuated form and the relocation of the wheels farther out to the corners, thereby giving the Dodge Dart a smart and stable low-profile look. Taking advantage of a wider and longer body, the designers infused dramatic sculptural accents on the Dart’s exterior while stretching the design throughout its body, resulting in a clean, taut and elegantly smooth exterior design.

Dehner added that they got the design inspiration for the all-new 2013 Dart from the beautiful, classic vehicles created through the years. He explained that such classic vehicles possessed simple yet elegant exterior surfaces, without the need for additional accessories and ornaments which merely complicated its beauty and confused the beholder.

Elaborating further on the Dodge Dart’s design, Dehner said that after the completion of the basic design which ensured pleasing dynamic lines and curves for the Dart’s exterior, the designers threw in a dash of the distinct Dodge attitude into the brew. He said the Dart’s facade was enhanced with the infusion of the unique Dodge split crosshair grill, but with a hint of a modern, contemporary appearance. This resulted in an embossed perception on the fascia and provided the 2013 Dart with a new frontal look that is unmistakably Dodge.

Viewed from the rear, the 2013 Dodge Dart’s tail lamps strikingly stand out with its 152 indirect glow LEDs, which was inspired by the Dodge Charger’s racetrack full-width tail lamps. A dual-exhaust system also adds to the sporty rear character of the Dart. Truly, the features of the new Dodge Dart will surely make it one of the frontrunners in its category today.

With an aerodynamically designed facade, airflow is smoothly and evenly distributed all throughout the new Dart’s exterior, which increases fuel efficiency since drag is substantially reduced. Interestingly, the air flow is also used to cool the engine, further contributing to its efficiency. Furthermore, the low radiator panel positioning contributes to better aerodynamics, while still giving the 2013 Dodge Dart a sufficient 8-inch curb clearance with its low-profile, sporty stance.

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