Designers tout Dodge Dart's fast look, 'Charger-ness'
Photo credit: Michael Shuster
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DETROIT -- The man who put the face on Chrysler Group's new compact sedan says the 2013 Dodge Dart is infused "with a little Charger-ness," but designed to look fast and efficient at the same time.
Ralph Gilles, head of design for Chrysler Group and head of its performance SRT brand, also said that his Street Racing Team-brand designers "would be idiots" not to consider a performance version of the Dart after the car arrives at dealerships in the second quarter of 2012.
"I'm a big believer in a vehicle that has a face," Gilles said. "The first thing is to give it that expression, give it that snarl, that 'not apologetic' look, then obviously see what we could garner from our [Dodge brand] DNA.
"Without even looking at the label, you know the car's sleek. It looks fast, yet efficient at the same time," Gilles said.
Pricing for the Dart, revealed this morning by Dodge brand head Reid Bigland to a throng of international media, will start at $15,995. The car is expected to achieve an adjusted highway fuel economy rating of 40 mpg, Bigland said.
Gilles said the Dart's styling, with its overt cues taken from the much larger Dodge Charger sedan, is admittedly a risk in a compact segment full of entrants with more subdued styling.
"It's such a populated segment that we have to stand for something. If you don't do that, you end up being another also-ran," Gilles said. "We'd rather take a risk and find the unserved. There are a lot of unserved people out there that want a car that's exciting, that maybe are downsizing, and this is a perfect place for them to fall into."
Asked if his SRT brand would consider using the Dart to underpin another SRT-4 performance compact as it did in the past, Gilles was blunt: "Hell yeah. Ever since the pictures have been leaked, there's already been chat on the internet wondering if there would be an SRT. We'd be idiots not to consider it."
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