Dodge Dart makeover follows trend
LOS ANGELES – Chrysler is bringing back the Dodge Dart – Italian style.
The automaker’s Dodge division last offered a Dart in 1976, when the angular Dart models had names like Swinger and Hang 10. This time, Chrysler says the Dart will be more curvy and stylish by today’s standards.
The new Dart, a 2013 model, will be the first Chrysler vehicle based on a Fiat architecture, in this case the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Italian automaker Fiat owns Alfa Romeo and holds a controlling interest in Chrysler. All three companies are starting to share auto development and design.
The redesigned Dart joins a growing number of once-defunct nameplates that are making a comeback.
Last year, Ford Motor Co. brought the Ford Fiesta compact car to the U.S. market after a 30-year absence. Chevrolet reintroduced its sporty Camaro in the 2010 model year after last selling a version in 2002.
Automakers are playing off these older names on the belief that they still resonate with consumers or have good buzz overseas, said Brandy Schaffels, senior editor at auto information company TrueCar.com.
Chrysler introduced the Dart in 1960, and by 1963 it was part of a triumvirate of popular U.S.-built small cars – they would seem large by today’s standards – that included the Chevrolet Corvair and the Ford Falcon.