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Growing Number of Models Won’t Make it to 2013

Clearing out space for some all-new offerings.

by on Jun.19, 2012

Gone and soon forgotten? The Dodge Caliber will soon vanish from the fleet.

Don’t look now but some old and familiar nameplates – perhaps one parked in your garage – won’t be around much longer.

Automakers plan to drop a number of models that aren’t cutting it over the next couple years, sometimes to bring in a renamed replacement but in many cases simply to abandon a market niche that isn’t generating enough sales to justify the cost of an update.

Among the many products that manufacturers plan to eliminate is the once-popular Chrysler Town & Country minivan.  In fact, the Detroit maker has been steadily paring back its range of people-movers as sales slide and competition increases.

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A dozen or more products will quietly vanish from the market over the next several months as industry assembly lines re-tool for the 2013 model-year.  Among those also heading off to the automotive rust heap are: (more…)

First Look: Dodge Dart

Automaker resurrects an old name for new compact with Italian bones.

by on Jan.09, 2012

The Dodge Dart is the brand's critical new entry in the compact segment.

Two thousand eleven was a huge year for Chrysler, but the automaker knows that it has to fill a huge hole in its lineup to succeed.

With that in mind, the automaker’s Dodge brand resurrected the Dart nameplate, putting it on a new compact which replaces the unloved Caliber in its lineup.

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Dodge President and CEO Reid Bigland said Chrysler increased sales by 43 percent in 2011, the largest increase for any automaker and far above the 11 percent recorded by the industry as a whole.

Dodge leaned on Italian partner Fiat for the the Dart’s platform which comes from Alfa Romeo.


Dodge Dart Inside-Out

Maker offers an additional peek at new Fiat-based compact.

by on Dec.13, 2011

Dodge plans to give a decidedly upscale look to the new Dart - which will feature a high-tech reconfigurable TFT display.

Preparing for what could be the company’s most important launch since its 2008 tie-up with Italy’s Fiat, Chrysler is continuing to dole out small sugar cubes of images and information about the new Dodge Dart it plans to introduce at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Those who count themselves part of the Baby Boom generation will undoubtedly recall the original Dart as one of the more popular of Detroit’s compact offerings in the 1960s and 1970s.  The model that will join the automaker’s line-up for 2013 likely won’t ever come close to that model’s popularity but will nonetheless be essential if Chrysler plans to maintain its recent momentum.

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The 2013 Dodge Dart notably will be the first product developed jointly by Chrysler and Fiat off what they have dubbed the new Compact U.S. Wide, or CUSW, architecture.  It will replace the largely forgettable Dodge Caliber, the result of a misbegotten triangle that paired former partners Chrysler, Daimler AG (once known as DaimlerChrysler) and Japan’s Mitsubishi.


Dodge Bringing the Dart Back

Once-familiar nameplate returns at Detroit Auto Show.

by on Dec.06, 2011

Dodge revives a once-familiar nameplate with the rebirth of the Dart.

A name once familiar to Baby Boomers will be making its return in time for the new crop of Millennial motorists, the Dodge Dart staging its revival at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

A fixture of the ‘60s, the Dart was one of the more popular small cars in the domestic line-up but steadily lost traction as imports came to dominate the market for compacts.  It was last produced in 1976.  But the Dodge Dart nameplate will be revived for the 2013 model-year as the replacement for the largely unloved Dodge Caliber hatchback.

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The name may harken back to an era of peace, love and 30-cent gasoline but Dodge insists this is anything but a retro-mobile, describing it as “a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s fuel-efficient, beautifully designed and crafted.”

It’s also the first vehicle in the Chrysler line-up to get an injection of partner Fiat’s DNA, or more precisely, the automaker’s upscale brand Alfa Romeo.  The new 2013 Dodge Dart will be based on a Fiat platform “adapted from the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta,” explains an advance release.