Dealership wants to see Dart sales fly
Chrysler Corporation is hoping the newly reintroduced Dart will hit a bulls-eye with car consumers.
The car hit showrooms this month including Cecil Atkission Motor in Orange. The company wishes to be competitive again in the compact market.
“It starts off at $16,000, it gets 40 miles per gallon and there’s four different motors to choose from. It’s sporty and it’s fun to drive,” said Tolbert Thibodeaux, general manager of Cecil Dodge. “It’s a piece of the market we’ve been missing.”
The Dart is also available in more upscale models with items such as navigation aid and other “toys” as Thibodeaux placed it.
“You can get it nice or inexpensive. The smaller motor comes with a manual transmission and the best gas mileage. They’re all four-door models with a good-sized interior and good trunk space. There’s lots of room too. I’m six (feet) one (inch) and I had to move the seat up,” he said.
Buyers can choose from three four-cylinder engines: the two liter called the Tigershark with 160-horsepower, a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo, also with 160-horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbo in the R/T version and a 184-horsepower engine that will come out at the end of the year.
People can custom order the Dart in more than 100,000 combinations. Thibodeaux foresees the company possibly making several different models in the future.
The original Dodge Dart was a popular brand for Chrysler from the years 1960 through 1976. During that time 3.3 million units were sold. The top year was 1974 when 340,000 were sold.
The new Dart is built on the chassis of the Giulietta, a five-door hatchback sold in Europe, made by Alfa Romeo.
The Dart replaces the Caliber for Chrysler. Thibodeaux said the Caliber was popular with an older crowd, but they didn’t have a successful compact car for younger drivers to be competitive.
“We’re like others (car companies), producing fuel-efficient models. During the first week in July we’ll be releasing the car. We want to cater to both ends of the scale — young and old — a vehicle for every step of life,” he said.