Slow Dodge Dart sales prompts temporary layoffs at Chrysler.
When the all-new Dodge Dart first appeared at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the media was excited. It marked the revival of a once-admired automobile brand and the first major collaboration between Chrysler and Fiat the new Italian owners.
The Dart of the 1960’s was a very successful car with the reliable slant six under the hood. For its day it was state of the art and very dependable.
The new Dart is a reasonably priced compact sedan offering an appealing range of options. However, public acceptance of the Dart has been less than enthusiastic and Chrysler executives have been somewhat at a loss to explain the underwhelming sales of the Dart.
The brand got off to a bad start with the lack of automatic transmissions in the first wave of Dart’s as the number of stick-shifters accounts for only a very small percentage of the buying public.
Those manual-only models turned off automatic fans and prevented many consumers from taking the Dart for a test drive.
By the time the automatics arrived the buzz about the Dart had begun to wane as the bloom was off the rose.
Also causing trouble: the optional dual-clutch transmission, which, by CEO Sergio Marchionne's own admission, was too European for U.S. drivers.