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.

The new 2013 Dodge Dart has a timeless exterior design that is altogether unique and displays style. When it comes to the appearance, it can be described as agile, athletic, fluid, and sculpted. The design of the exterior brings with it the right amount of visual drama, which when combined with the timeless surfaces, increases the excitement to an already competitive compact sedan class in the U.S. market.

Head of Dodge Design for Chrysler Group LLC Joe Dehner revealed that designing the Dodge Dart was indeed a dream. By utilizing a platform based on the Alfa Romeo, he continued, this made it possible to have an exterior to be designed in a way that it would showcase excellent proportions while giving a fun-to-drive feel when looking at it.

Putting in the “this results in this performance-inspired design to have enough attitude,

Dehner said further that by the performance-inspired design is enhanced with the installation of “racetrack” tail lamps that are Charger-inspired as well as by its piano black accents and the sleek crosshair grille.

Going back to the architecture, the one employed is the product of Compact U.S. Wide, or CUS-wide, a Fiat Group company. The configuration shows dimensions that are long, wide, and low. This results in a silhouette similar to a coupe with that “body-in, wheels-out” stable stance. By making use of this particular platform, it allowed the wheels to be pushed to the vehicle’s corners while helping put focus on the fender formations. As such, it gives off a very stable appearance that enabled the designers at Dodge the chance to implement some dramatic sculpturing.

In fact, the designers were able to able to stretch the skin, visually, over the framework much like stretching a nylon on a surface. Dehner said that in designing the new Dart, it was the stunningly designed and classic vehicles that serves as the inspiration. He also said that just basing it on the presence and the surface work, each car is truly beautiful. None of the cars have any unnecessary jewelry, cladding, or even lines that tend to confuse those looking at it.

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