Chrysler Group's 2013 Dodge Dart makes its world debut at the Detroit Auto Show. This will be the automaker's first compact sedan since 2005, when it stopped manufacturing the Neon in 2005. This is also the first automobile designed from the wheels up by the partnership of Chrysler with Fiat S.p.A., and carries more than an aspiration to sell more vehicles in the market's biggest segment.
The 2013 Dodge Dart will share a modified Fiat base with more than seven cars, crossovers and SUVs. These vehicles are an all-in bet by Chrysler that it can adapt the technology of Fiat widely for the United States. Sharing platforms and technologies between Fiat and Chrysler is the linchpin of the long-term plan of CEO Sergio Marchionne to revive profits to both automakers.
In a letter to his employees last week, Marchionne said that the platform sharing between the two automakers will be a "key driver" of their efforts to boost volumes and efficiencies in the years ahead. With so much at risk, Chrysler packed the vehicle with features that are common on more upscale automobiles. The automaker will also provide consumers a range of powertrain and styling options.
The Dart takes it styling cues from the larger Dodge sedans. Its fascia is suggestive of the Avenger. Its LED-emblazoned rear end is reminiscent to that of the Charger. It is based on the CUSW platform, which is a widened variant of the Fiat platform used for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
The vehicle will be launched with three four-cylinder engine options -- a 2.0 liter and 1.4-liter turbo, which both deliver 160 hp, and a new 2.4-liter Tigershark turbocharged engine, which delivers 184 hp. It will also come with a six-speed automatic transmission for the two larger engines, while the 1.4-liter engine will be partnered with a Fiat six-speed dual dry clutch automatic. For the three engine variants, a six-speed manual transmission will be available.
Customers have 12 exterior colors to choose from. In addition, they can choose from 14 interior color-and-trim combinations as well as six wheel patterns. Moreover, the Dart has the same 8.4-inch infotainment screen that is found in the Chrysler 300. It also has an instrument cluster with a 7-inch reconfigurable graphic display as well as accent lighting that surrounds the instrument panel. Regarding the price, the 2013 Dodge Dart will be priced from $15,995.