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Archive for March, 2014

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The last time a Dodge Dart rolled off the assembly line was 1976. Fast-forward to 2013 as the Dart nameplate is introduced back into the Dodge lineup to replace the slumping Caliber and you’ve got what Cars.com calls the most-improved vehicle from the past 15 years.

Now that the Dart has been available at Chapman Dodge Scottsdale for a full model year and is experiencing robust sales (83,388 units sold in2013), it’s time to look at the economics of a redesign, and why Cars.com named the Dart “most improved vehicle.”

First, it’s a big commitment for an automaker to embark on the redesign of a vehicle. According to a study by MIT, on average it costs an automaker $1 billion to redesign a vehicle. Typical reasons for a redesign include wanting to boost sales, increased competition, and advances in technology. In the case of the Dart, Dodge needed to replace the Caliber, which lacked power, a quality interior and produced poor mpg. And, it was a poor seller. During the last year of production in 2012, the Caliber sold only 10,176 units in the US, compared to 101,079 units in 2007, the year it replaced the Dodge Neon.

The redesigned Dart is based on the Fiat Compact platform, on which the Alfa Romeo Giulietta also is built. A choice of three engines gives it plenty of power and an average 33mpg on the highway, and it’s rated as a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The interior is sporty and comes in 14 color and trim combos featuring cloth or leather seating; exterior color choices (there are 12) include Header Orange and Maximum Steel Metallic; and technology features include an 8.4-inch Uconnect Touch Media Center, situated in an exclusive, floating-island bezel in the dashboard. In short, the new Dart is everything the Caliber was not – sporty, reliable and engineered to compete with the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze. This 180-degree turnaround is why Cars.com named it the most-improved vehicle in the last 15 years.

“The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart has been engineered with a passion that demonstrates Dodge is back in the compact car segment in a big way,” said Matt Liddane, Vehicle Line Executive — Chrysler Group LLC. “The Dart is well-crafted, agile, powered by world-class, fuel-efficient powertrains, loaded with high-tech features that are both clever and useful, and it’s fun to drive.”

dodge dart blacktop   dodge dart blacktop interior   dodge dart blacktop Scat package

A new Dart trimline has been added for 2014 and is available at your Phoenix Dodge dealer. The Dodge Dart SXT Blacktop offers unique, 18-inch Gloss Black wheels, Gloss Black side mirrors, Gloss Black painted split-crosshair grille with matching surround, darkened headlamp bezels and a unique sport interior. This package option brings it in line with other Blacktop options offered on the Charger, Challenger, Avenger, Journey and Grand Caravan.

To test drive one of the new Dodge Dart vehicles, visit Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Scottsdale, or view our complete inventory online at www.chapmandodge.com.

Ram 2500 CNG

Chrysler has looked at the human lung for the design of new fuel tanks for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.  CNG is a readily available alternative to gasoline that’s made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s drawn from domestically drilled natural gas wells or in conjunction with crude oil production. According to Chrysler, their patent-pending compressed natural gas fuel tank solves two of the major drawbacks to the fuel by drawing from this inspiration.

While a lot of truck owners are interested in CNG because it can be had for relatively cheap, the downside is that because it’s not a very energy-dense fuel, the tanks need to be large to hold a great deal of it. CNG costs around $1 per gallon less than gasoline, but requires much larger fuel tanks to achieve the same range. Current tanks can take up about a third of a pickup bed and have to be cylindrical in shape, due to the high pressure.

Chrysler says it has solved these problems by forming its new CNG tanks inspired by some very tiny biological tanks: alveoli. In the human body, Alveoli are air sacs in the lungs in charge of bringing in oxygen to the blood system and putting out carbon dioxide. Because of this new CNG technology, the new tanks are able to be more adaptable in shape, and are no longer limited to the cylindrical shape of previous tank designs. Instead, Chrysler confirmed that the new tank design will conform to the vehicle and preserve space, for a no-compromise solution.

The Ram 2500 CNG pickup is the industry’s only factory-built CNG-powered pickup thus far, rolling off the same assembly line as conventionally powered vehicles. Available for both retail and fleet sale, the Ram 2500 CNG truck uses a V8 engine; when CNG is depleted, the system automatically switches to gasoline. The truck can travel 255 miles on CNG and a total of 745 miles when ordered with an available 35-gallon reserve gas tank.

For more information on CNG technology, or the Ram 2500 CNG truck, stop by Chapman Dodge!