The 2013 Dodge Dart is set to enter production later this week in Illinois as Chrysler’s first vehicle to sit on Fiat underpinnings. When the Italian automaker acquired its struggling American counterpart back in 2009, Fiat swore it would share its knowledge of small car engineering. Now, it appears the fruit of both automaker’s labor are ready to be picked as Dodge has announced it will be releasing an aerodynamics package for the Dart’s base SE trim in the third quarter of this year.
Known as the Dart Aero, this aerodynamics package is expected to bump the all-new mid-size sedans highway fuel economy to “at least 41 mpg.” The Dodge Dart, which is based on Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta, is currently rated at 39 mpg on the highway and this average earned Fiat another five percent in Chrysler raising its controlling stake to 58.5 percent. The regular Dart also employs an active grille shutter system which will stop air flow from entering through the vehicle’s lower grille automatically. This system engages when the Dodge Dart is cruising at highway speeds (when engine cooling doesn’t need to be on full-tilt) to help boost aerodynamic performance.
While you can’t see it by looking at the all-new sedan, Chrysler encountered its fair-share of obstacles that needed hurdling as production of the Dodge Dart began to ramp up. Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Bloomberg that there was an issue with an unspecified part, one that will see a lot of action. Marchionne originally said production of the Dart would begin at the beginning of April.
“We’re working with our suppliers,” George Welitschinsky, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1268 in Belvidere, Illinois told Bloomberg. “Very shortly, that’s not going to be an issue. We’re rolling, we’re putting it out, we’re moving forward.” The Dart is set to enter production at Chrysler’s Belvidere facility later this week.
When it comes to market next month, the Dodge Dart will be capable of being customized in 100,000 different ways. There are 14 interior color combinations to choose from along with 12 exterior colors, six wheel combinations, three different engines, and two transmission. The base-model Dodge Dart SE will command a price of $15,995 when it comes to market and that excludes a $795 destination charge. The top-of-the-line Dodge Dart R/T trim will go for $22,995 excluding a $795 destination charge as well. The Dart SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited are expected to show up at dealerships next month and the R/T trim will join the rest of the lineup in quarter three of this year.