Fiat Chrysler Automobiles manufacturing facility in Belvidere, Illinois, which manufactures the compact Dodge Dart, has required a week of layoffs for 325 of its workers because of slow sales for the model.
The Dart is the successor to Dodge’s Caliber model and has been a model jointly developed by Fiat and Chrysler before its transformation at the beginning of this year into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The US compact, a sedan, is based on the technical platform of the European hatchback Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
“It’s a good-looking car, but it’s under-powered. Dodge is just not a brand that’s in the minds of the customers when they go out looking for a small car,” said Dennis Virag, president of the Automotive Consulting Group in Michigan.
According to figures from Autodata Corp. the Dodge Dart is down for 2014 a big 33%, at the moment falling from eight to ninth place among compact cars, lagging behind Toyota’s Corolla – the most popular compact in the US market – almost five times.
According to Alec Gutierrez, an analyst that works for the industry research firm Kelley Blue Book, the average incentives for the Dart in February went up a good $400 from last year, to $2,200 per unit.