2013 Dodge Dart
The resurgence of Chrysler, which not long ago was given up for dead -- again -- was among the auto industry's biggest stories in 2011. So big that even CEO Sergio Marchionne growing a beard was news at the auto show.
But Chrysler is still missing one thing: a credible entry in the compact car segment. To get one, Chrysler reached back into the past for a name.
"They resurrected the name from the 1960s," said Loh, of Motor Trend. "The car looks spectacular, and Dodge is offering a bunch of interesting four-cylinder engines," including one called the Tigershark.The Dodge Dart will be the first Chrysler based on Fiat architecture and will be built at Chrysler's Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant. Pricing will begin at $15,995, with the car scheduled to come to market in the second quarter of 2012. Ralph Gilles, Chrysler's head of design, told Automotive News that Dart's sleek styling, some of which derives from the much larger Dodge Charger sedan, is risky in a compact segment where styling is generally more subdued. "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 told the newspaper. "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."