The Dodge Dart Compact Sedan Essay
The modern Dodge Dart compact sedan is nothing like the popular coupes, convertibles, and sedans of the 1960s and 1970s credited with introducing the model name. After a 37-year hiatus, the current version was presented in 2013 and is derived from an Alfa Romeo platform, one it also shares with the slightly larger Chrysler 200 sedan.
The Dart operates in a highly competitive segment dominated by the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Domestic competitors such as the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, along with Hyundai, Subaru, Mazda, Volkswagen, Kia, Nissan, and Mitsubishi also vie for sales.
Trouble is, today’s new car shoppers are looking at SUVs and trucks in greater numbers, turning away from small cars as part of that trend. When shoppers do want a small car, they’re more likely to consider Honda or Chevrolet, not Dodge.
Trim Level Reduction and Shuffling
Through the first three months of this year, compact car sales were down by 5.2 percent, while demand for similar-sized SUVs soared by 25 percent. For the Dodge Dart, sales are off by nearly one-third, but parent Fiat Chrysler is fighting back by shuffling trim levels in the middle of the 2016 model year.
Gone are the base SE and top-of-the-line Limited trims, with the SXT Sport, Turbo, and GT Sport trims taking over. Notably, the SXT Sport replaces the previous SXT, the Turbo slots in to replace the Aero, and the…