Manual Transmissions Stall Dart Sales

Dodge Darts are sitting on dealer lots unsold, and according to dealerships it has nothing to do with buyers not being interested in the cars or the price being wrong.  Dodge might have a winner with the new Dart, but the small car isn’t selling because buyers want automatic transmissions and dealers are having trouble getting them.

“We were just told that [the automatics] weren’t ready yet, we were a little surprised by it. We’re a little bit out of the water with stick. We sell so few of them,” David Kelleher, a Dodge dealer said.

Dodge launched the Dart with only manual transmission models available.  Dodge’s chief executive hinted that the delayed launch of the automatic Darts was to ensure that no quality issues remained that would hurt the Dart’s reputation, and with it Dodge’s chances of survival post bankruptcy.

The Dodge Dart Aero, which will be the Dart that cracks the 40-mpg barrier, was supposed to be in showrooms at the start of the third quarter of 2012, but hasn’t even started production yet.  The Aero package will have a 41-mpg rating thanks to a lighter weight, lower rolling resistance tires and improved aerodynamics including louvers in the hood that close automatically when extra air isn’t needed for cooling.



Source: The Wall Street Journal