The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Dodge Dart as one of four new vehicles available in the U.S. to earn the "Top Safety Pick" award. The three other models are the Hyundai Motor Co. crossover Santa Fe, the Lexus ES 350 midsize luxury sedan, and the Subaru XV Crosstrek hatchback. Chrysler is relying on the Dodge Dart to be a top-selling small car.
The 2013 Dart is the first model that Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC jointly engineered and designed. Being named a "Top Safety Pick" means that the vehicle had a good performance in test crashes that evaluated front, side and rear impacts, and even rollovers. Reid Bigland, chief of Chrysler's Dodge brand, said that its engineers were able to deliver on their high expectations for the Dart.
Russ Rader, IIHS spokesman, said that the IIHS tested 180 vehicles for the 2012 model year. From that batch, 132 were awarded the Top Safety Pick designation. This December, the IIHS will issue its annual list of the safety report for vehicles available in the U.S. market.
Rader said that tests were conducted on these four models after their automakers asked for these tests before the normal IIHS schedule. These four models were presented to the U.S. in the past several months. Hyundai sold 7,378 Santa Fe units, the highest sales among the new models in September. This is 19% higher than last year’s record. It also signifies a major improvement over August sales of 4,524.
Hyundai is attributing the success to the newer model’s attractiveness. Last month, Hyundai said that it sought to sell 100,000 of the recently remodeled Santa Fe vehicles in the 2013 model year in the U.S. market.
Toyota Motor Corp. sold 6,553 Lexus ES vehicles in September in the U.S. market, about 81% from a year ago. According to a Lexus spokesman, about 80% of the cars sold in September were the new 2013 model. The Dart sold 5,235 units in September in the U.S., higher than the 3,045 units sold in August. For the Subaru's XV Crosstrek's first full month of sales in September, 192 units were sold.