Dodge hopes Fast & Furious 6 tie-up leads to higher Dart sales

Article by Anita Panait, on May 27, 2013

Chrysler Group is hoping that the latest installment of the Fast & Furious film would drive further demand for its Dodge Dart vehicle. Although the Dart doesn’t play any role in Fast & Furious 6, Dodge is hoping that a Fast & Furious-like advertisement and other marketing ties with the action-thriller will lead to people becoming more aware of the compact car.

Since its launch in June 2012, the Dart was not as saleable as it was expected to be, although Dodge was able made a good comeback in April 2013 by posting 8,099 units in sales. The slow start of the Dodge was partly attributed to the fact that early production vehicles were only available in manual transmissions.

According to Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc., Dodge was losing around 95 percent of potential Dart sales since it couldn't offer an automatic gearbox for the compact car. The Dodge Dart, which is Chrysler's first compact car since its dropped Neon in 2005, has received generally positive reviews, although some reviewers hit its performance.

The Dart is competing in one of the hottest segments in the auto industry, and it was overwhelmed by major players like the Toyota Corolla/Matrix, Honda Civic, VW Jetta, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze. Dodge only sold 31,064 Darts in the United States from launch to April 2013, ranking the model ninth out of 19 compact cars.

The segment is ruled by Toyota Corolla and Matrix, with sales of 104,517. According to Don Lee, president of Lee Auto Malls, Dart sales have been modest at his two Maine dealerships. He said that when buyers look for a car in the Dart's price range, they find the mid-sized Dodge Avenger more attractive due to rebates that lower the final purchase price.

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