Dodge Dart Shines Light on Future Chrysler-Fiat Vehicles

2013 Dodge Dart
The 2013 Dodge Dart is the first compact sedan from Chrysler in nearly seven years. That in itself is a milestone, but the car also looks competitive against the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze.

Chrysler's compact car plans are thanks to its new partner, Fiat. In the Dart we get the first real-world example of what to expect from upcoming replacement vehicles for the Jeep Liberty, Chrysler 200 and others in the future.

Chrysler has stated that the Dart's underpinnings are based off a new basic platform originally used to design and produce the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in Europe. Chrysler says the Dart platform — called Compact U.S. Wide — will also underpin most of its upcoming midsize and large sedans, crossovers, SUVs and minivans. The exceptions are the Jeep Wrangler, which will remain body-on-frame, Ram's trucks and the 2013 SRT Viper.

How can one platform complement such a wide range of vehicles? Chrysler says a vehicle platform refers only to the most basic, fixed structural elements (also known as "hard points"); everything else — from general length, proportional elements, wheelbase, type of engine and suspension architecture — can be altered. A platform can cost up to $200 million, says Chrysler; the shared cost will save money and speed up the development of new vehicles. The new front-wheel-drive platform is designed for hybrid and all-wheel-drive systems, as well as for a newly developed nine-speed automatic transmission.

A new Jeep Liberty will come this year, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Chrysler. That's an advancement of one year from the expected 2013 launch, which Chrysler presented under its five-year product plan in late 2009. It's even possible we could see the new SUV at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. Chrysler's CEO Sergio Marchionne told the Detroit Free Press that the new Liberty will "be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car."

Under Chrysler's previously announced product plan, the Jeep Patriot and Compass will be replaced by one compact crossover based off the Dart platform; also expect a redesigned Chrysler 200. Both vehicles should launch in 2013. When the new 200 comes, the Dodge Avenger will be discontinued. A Chrysler-branded midsize crossover also should show up in 2013. The automaker plans model-year 2012 or 2013 midcycle updates for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram trucks. A subcompact Dodge hatchback (not based off the Dart) is also scheduled for 2013. The carmaker is also considering a Chrysler-branded compact hatchback called the "Chrysler 100," according to the Detroit Free Press.

In 2014, the Chrysler Town & Country will undergo a complete redesign and also be underpinned by the CUSW platform. We probably got our first glimpse of the new Town & Country via the 700c Concept shown off at the Detroit auto show. There's still some uncertainty whether Dodge will get a Grand Caravan replacement, however.

Comments 

JM

so what is the point of Dodge going to be again? After this new wave of products, it sounds like Dodge is going to have the Durango, Dart, Journey, and Charger. all of those vehicles will be or could be easily moved to the Chrysler brand. Dodge will have no midsize sedan or volume models. its done for.

SophieC

The Alfa Giulietta has clearly done wonders for Alfa's UK sales. It is very well pitched here in the UK. Its a great hatchback. The Dart is different in the way that it's going to be more attractive to a US audience where the Giulietta has been more successful in Europe.

cody

this is no different than the current chrysler/dodge/jeep offerings. the caliber, sebring/200, journey, avenger, compass, and patriot are all based on the same platform...which is derived from the platform that the mitsubishi lancer rides.

@cody Yes and no.... Chrysler says all C- and D-segment vehicles that AREN'T the Wrangler, Ram Trucks or the Viper will ride on this platform, eventually.

That would mean vehicles like the Town & Country and Liberty -- that have their own platforms now -- would also share with the Dodge Dart. Currently, the JS platform (Avenger, Journey, 200, Patriot, etc.) can't accommodate those types of vehicles.

So this is a different beast.

cody

@colin,

i would submit that the 'trail rated' patriot and liberty show that the JS platform could support the liberty (might be a bit triple redundant unless the platform was stretched between the comp/pat and journey)....and the journey shows that the platform could have also supported a minivan if they chose.

the fact of the matter is chrysler had sunk quite a bit into the current minivan platform before the proliferation of the JS platform, so there was no financial reason to scuttle it.

cody

oops, i meant 'trail rated' compass and patriot.

Fortunately, every reviewer who has driven the new Dart have said it is a GREAT car. It appears Chrysler has a major winner on their hands.

I seriously believe that there should be a replacement for the Avenger and a new compact sub to fill in the void left by that Liberty wannabe, the Nitro and they shouldn't kill Durango in 2016, cause really people were rejoiced of it finally seeing it after a two year hibernation status and Durango kicks the Explorer and it's GM'S rivals pride into the ground, I mean come on, 7,500lbs of towing capacity, and a Dart coupe is not a bad idea cause Forte, Elantra, and Civic have coupes of their own. The Journey has a Fiat sibling, so a Chrysler version sounds pretty desirable for both Journey and Durango

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