Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reid Bigland, Pres/CEO Dodge and Head of U.S. Sales

Reid Bigland, President and CEO of the Dodge Car Brand and Head of U.S. Sales describes the 2013 Dodge Dart that just went into production and will go on sale in mid-June supported by a major ad campaign that will kick off in mid-July. Bigland also gives a rundown of the other new vehicles coming from Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Fiat this year. In a speech to journalists, Bigland emphasized the focus on California and how the market is outpacing the overall growth in Chrysler sales. A new Southern California-based Chrysler center has been tasked with helping sales and distribution and has already been responsible for adding 37 dealers. The Chrysler brands have seen fast-paced growth in sales that boosted it's first quarter 2012 profit to the highest in 13 years.

I test drove the six speed manual versions of Rallye and Limited new 2013 Dodge Dart and found strong low end torque, nimble handling with a solid feel, especially given the price in the high teens to low-$20,000s depending on features and options. The trunk is roomy, seats comfortable and the touchscreen display somewhat intuitive. One thing a test drive can't answer is the durability question - will it still feel like new in 5 years or 60,000 miles with just routine maintenance. The Dart, based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, starts at $15,995 - check it out in 4 weeks at a Dodge showroom near you.