Dodge Dart R/T morphs into GT -- at a lower price

The Dodge Dart GT will sticker for $21,790 including delivery. That's several thousand dollars less than the price the Dart R/T was expected to command.
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DETROIT -- What does it take to turn an "R/T" into a "GT?"

Apparently for Dodge, the answer is less money and competitors with more powerful and less expensive performance compact sedans.

Chrysler Group announced today that a new 2013 Dodge Dart GT will arrive in dealer showrooms this summer.

The Dart GT will be powered by Chrysler's 2.4-liter Tigershark engine mated, for now, to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The combination produces 184-hp, and 174 pounds-feet of torque.

If those numbers look familiar, they should: they are – or were – the powertrain specifications for what was to have been the promised Dodge Dart R/T.

In addition to the upgraded powertrain, the Dart GT will get all of the added goodies that were to be standard on the R/T: an 8.4-inch center stack infotainment system, leather seats, racetrack LED lighting and a 7-inch customizable instrument cluster screen, to name a few.

When it arrives in showrooms this summer, the Dart GT will sticker for $21,790 including delivery. That's several thousand dollars less than the price the R/T was expected to command.

A spokesperson for Chrysler admitted that the GT was identical to the planned R/T in every way except the price, and said the "competitive landscape" in the segment had changed since the Dart launched last June.

Instead, the GT will makes its public debut next week at the Detroit auto show.

The R/T was originally supposed to arrive on dealer lots last September, but was delayed for several months without much of an explanation as to why.

The Dart GT will be equipped with an 8.4-inch center stack infotainment system, leather seats, racetrack LED lighting and a 7-inch customizable instrument cluster screen.

In announcing the GT model today, Dodge said it "continues to investigate a high-performance R/T model."

Given that it's taken everything that was going to be in the R/T model and put it in the GT, I'm thinking that Dodge's investigation is going to be wrapped up quickly.

That is, of course, unless Chrysler's engineers can find a way to add a supercharger. Then we just might see the Dart R/T back on the front burner again.

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.

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