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Dart clone to debut in Beijing next month

by Bill Cawthon on

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera is reporting that Fiat will be introducing the Viaggio, a China-produced clone of the new Dart at the Beijing Auto Show next month.

As reported on Allpar in February, the car is a product of Fiat’s joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group as part of an effort to increase Fiat’s presence in China, a market in which neither Fiat nor Chrysler is a major player. The Viaggio will be built at the Fiat-Guangzhou plant in Hunan province.

Fiat hopes to increase sales from fewer than 1,500 in 2010 to 300,000 vehicles annually by 2014. There are also plans for a hatchback version that could be exported to Europe to replace the Bravo.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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