Leery that an offshore automaker would only buy Chrysler for its brand names and shut all its American factories, the U.S. Government stipulated that Fiat could only increase ownership in Chrysler if it agreed to certain domestic manufacturing stipulations. One was that the company had to build in America, one vehicle with “an unadjusted combined fuel economy rating of 40 US mpg (5.88L/100km)” as defined by the EPA.
|2013 Dodge Dart (Photo: Dodge)
The 2013 Dodge Dart is that vehicle. Or more precisely, the soon-to-be introduced Dodge Dart Aero is that vehicle. Expected sometime in the last quarter of this year, the Aero will feature the 1.4L MultiAir turbo engine, 6-speed manual transmission, low resistance tires, wheel covers, more aluminum, and other various tricks and treats no doubt.
The EPA has not yet released its unadjusted combined fuel ratings for the first Dart models coming this summer. The most fuel-efficient Dart powertain so far introduced — the 2.0L with the 6-speed manual — is very efficient but falls below that EPA target.
Even without the US-manufacturing mandate, it’s highly unlikely Chrysler/Fiat would have even considered “importing” a compact car line into North America. It’s such a large segment and marketplace, with its own standards and tastes. Most automakers build North-American specific vehicles for large-volume segments.