Dodge Dart is not a popular choice among U.S. customers, with Chrysler posting much lower sales than those of Dart’s rivals.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Chrysler sold just one Dart for every five Civics that Honda retailed the last four months of 2012. GM’s Chevrolet Cruze, the No. 4 compact car in the market, also outsold the Dart almost 4-to-1 during the same period.
The Dart’s underperformance illustrates the brand’s unresolved challenge: convincing buyers it has more to offer than SUVs, pickups, minivans and big sedans. Chryler’s sales gains are based on its familiar products, including Ram pickups, Jeep SUVs and Dodge minivans.
The Dart is positioned between the Fiat 500 and the 200 midsize sedan, often offered with heavy incentives or to fleet customers. Sales figures for these new models are far away from those of Chrysler’s light-trucks.
Chrysler’s trucks, minivans and SUVs made up 70 percent of the company’s sales last year, according to researcher Autodata Corp. That is down from 73 percent in 2008, the last full-year before Fiat struck its alliance with Chrysler.
The Dart is Chrysler’s first car based on a Fiat architecture. The 40mpg car was the final milestone set by the Obama administration to trigger an increase in Fiat’s ownership of Chrysler.