Dodge aims Dart at Gen Y
Chrysler Group wants the 2013 Dodge Dart, its first compact sedan since the Neon was dropped in 2005, to attract hard-to-reach Generation Y, consumers between 19 and 31.
"They want something that they can customize, something that says, 'This is mine,' but that has the latest technology, like putting a wild skin on their phone," says Richard Cox, Dodge brand chief.
The Dart, which starts at $16,790, will be available in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T. The R/T starts at $23,290. Prices include shipping. Production of the Dart is to begin this month in Belvidere, Ill.
The base engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four that generates 160 hp and is combined with a six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed automatic.
The interior has options such as an 8.4-inch infotainment screen in the center stack and a 7-inch customizable display in the instrument panel.
Alexander Edwards, an analyst with Strategic Vision, says, "The exterior and interior cues of the Dart will help reassure some of the buyers that may be unsure of the Dodge brand name. It's something younger buyers will be taking a look at."
Through March, the Honda Civic was the top-selling compact with 77,169 U.S. sales. The Civic's base price is $16,545, including shipping. The Toyota Corolla was second at 68,428. Its base price is $16,890, including shipping.
Dodge dealers are upbeat.
John Schenden, president of Pro Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Denver, says pricing for the Dart is where it needs to be.
Bruce Glascock, vice president of Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Houston, agrees. He plans to stock a lot of them. "It's replacing a car [the Neon] that did not sell very well, and I think Dodge finally introducing a quality compact car will really drive sales."
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