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Automated System
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Detroit News reported that the Dundee plant had dropped a shift. While writer Bryce Hoffman said it was "another sign of trouble for the new Dodge Dart," the  move may simply indicate that Dart buyers are opting for the base 2-liter engine or waiting for the 2.4 in the upcoming Dart GT. Dodge Dart sales have been lower than anticipated due, many believe, to internal competition from the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200, which are being heavily discounted. Dodge has refused to add high incentives to the Dart, preferring to create new, lower-cost option packages for SXT and Limited. However, an Avenger or 200, outfitted similarly to the Dart, can cost thousands of dollars less. The 1.4 liter engine adds over a thousand dollars to the price of the Dart, and conservative buyers may be avoiding the dual-clutch transmission which is the only automatic transmission available with the Dart..

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I'm pretty sure there is consumer confusion regarding these motors, specifically a lack of proper advertising.
Consumers read reviews that state "sluggish" and they see 1.4 is smaller than 2.4.
We aren't Europe and while we all complain about fuel economy, we then go out a buy a Hemi.
If this engine and car launch is to be successful, they better start explaining the virtues of the 1.4.
It's perceived as slow, it's expensive and so far the ad campaign, while hip and fun, has failed to get the message across.

Chrysler needs to get out ahead of this and quickly.
 
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MoparNorm said:
I'm pretty sure there is consumer confusion regarding these motors, specifically a lack of proper advertising.
Consumers read reviews that state "sluggish" and they see 1.4 is smaller than 2.4.
We aren't Europe and while we all complain about fuel economy, we then go out a buy a Hemi.
If this engine and car launch is to be successful, they better start explaining the virtues of the 1.4.
It's perceived as slow, it's expensive and so far the ad campaign, while hip and fun, has failed to get the message across.

Chrysler needs to get out ahead of this and quickly.
You nailed it, Norm.
Marketing is blowing this launch big time.
 

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The TV spots, while funny and clever, are just adding to the confusion. They show pseudo GRC maneuvers, speeding cars and a bunch of gibberish.
Let's pretend our potential buyers have a high school diploma and explain the car a bit better, in adult terms, mpg, handling, comfort, quality and durability.

I recently had a friend shopping for that specific car, thought the Dodge "looked nice", but never went to a Dodge Dealer, instead shopped KIA, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai, buying a Honda.
She paid more, and got less. Dodge needs to re-introduce itself to consumers.
 

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unverferth said:
You nailed it, Norm.
Marketing is blowing this launch big time.
But Chrysler marketing keeps winning awards, making them think they are doing a good job.
 

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Erik Latranyi said:
But Chrysler marketing keeps winning awards, making them think they are doing a good job.
Right. Just because the self appointed advertising gods think it is good does not mean it hits the mark with potential customers.
Kind of like movie critics. I have found to like movies they hate and dislike movies they love.

Listen to the people and tailor the commercials to fit what they say, not what the suits think the ad should say. But when it is the suits that make the decisions that is hard to do.
 

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Marketing awards are not sales awards.

I've said it before - pushing the 1.4L FIRE Turbo in the Rallye trim did nothing but entice the performance crowd - and when the reviews showed that it was clearly not performance-oriented (or, as performance-oriented as they expected) - consumers shied away.

They need an "EcoBoost" type name/marketing gimmick to push the fact that the 1.4L FIRE Turbo is smaller but provides equivalent power to the larger 2.0 and gets better MPG. Just because gas is relatively cheap right now doesn't mean they shouldn't push that angle. Push it now, and then when the prices jump back, consumers should have it in their mindset already to look at it.

Past that, I have to agree with Dave - the biggest killer for Dart sales right now is the Avenger, which gets very little in the way of marketing attention - but is also cheaper to buy.
 

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It's just going to take time for it to catch on. It's a good car but CLLs sales estimates may have been a little too ambitous for it out of the gate. Plus, for those who go shopping for one - and I really do think this is the biggest problem - you can get such a steal with the Avenger/200 that it kind of undercuts the Dart.

What will help sales most of all is when the Avenger goes away... And if they roll out incentives this spring, that'll help even more,,,
 

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If the saleman is thinking he may lose a deal, he will quickly lead you over to the Avenger. Until the cost differential issue is taken care of, it will be hard to get good volume Dart sales. Also, the introduction with only the manual was a fiaso and then only the dual clutch was available as an alternate. Finally an automatic is available and both dealers I looked at only had the premium editions available. They were way above the competition for a reasonably well equipped model.
 

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So far Mr. Marchionne has proven he can improve existing models and improve their sales.

However, in the new model department he is 0-2, in initial sales success. First with 500 and now with Dart. Hopefully they get it turned around before the general public hears the negative buzz and thinks there is a problem with this car.

The sales aren't that bad, inspite of a very slow start, but the press and media are starting to spin it like no one is buying the Dart, and that just isn't true.
 

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Some of the Dart Commercials are a Full of Them-self's.

Confusing Too.

Are They Selling a Little Race Car?

TMD
 

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My mom thinks my Dart is a "little sports car" so I'd say the average buying public is confused. She's by no means an enthusiast.

She also thinks its fast because of the turbo. Heh.
 

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The Mad Duck said:
Some of the Dart Commercials are a Full of Them-self's.

Confusing Too.

Are They Selling a Little Race Car?

TMD
Yup, I always felt like it was marketed in a way that set it up to over promise, under deliver. This is not a criticism of the car, but in some ways, some of the ads kind of make it out to be something it really isn't.

I wonder if things will get to the point where someone will lose their job over this... I would imagine they wouldn't, but then there was the 500 fiasco...

Seems like a pattern... They really haven't been very good at launching cars of late.
 

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I just saw an ad on TV for the Dart and I actually had to rewind it to confirm what they were advertising. I definitey agree about the (techie) gibberish part; IMO commercials like that are not helping much to sell the car. It's all about the car, advertise the car: more room than, fuel mileage, responsive handling etc.
 

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Didn't the Dart just have it's best sales month in December? It will be interesting to see what it does for January (will be down month-to-month most likely, but so will everything else).

The 2.4 needs to get here and quick. I can name four people off-hand that are waiting for that. Another one is waiting specifically for SRT, and won't buy anything else in the meantime, either (current Neon SRT owner). Once the quicker models are out on the streets I think you'll see more interest in the entire lineup with the younger audience they are trying to target. The car just doesn't have any "cred" with those people yet.

The "How to Change Cars Forever" ads were cool at first, to pique your interest. Dodge never came back and told anyone how exactly the Dart does that. It's time to start showing people how this thing stacks up against it's competitors and still undercuts many of them in price. And as has been said already, showing the R/T (or GT as it were) in all the advertising when it wasn't for sale yet, made no sense.

Lastly, I don't think the Avenger is stealing Dart sales. Ok, maybe one or two, here and there. But not many.
 

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True @ the advertising. I like the ads, but at the same time; they don't tell you why it's better than a Honda or Toyota. It tells you that there is available stuff.. but it's honestly a bit too quick to catch most of the time. A few people on the Dart forum are hung-up on the Phone App; when there isn't even the 'normal' one available on Android, let alone the one that's supposed to start your car 'n all that from the Ad.

I think the only parts people remember from the ad, or at least I do - is the phone, the 41mpg, and the registry @ this point. Not a whole lot of retention when images are literally being flashed at you. Yeah, its fun watching Pastrana launch the car, but at the same time, what's the point of the ad. That it's fun to drive, or to entertain the audience. I think they got the second part down, but lost the point of the ad. To sell.

I think they should do some head-to-head advertising like the Durango vs. Explorer ones. Might get people to look twice.

Especially with the interior. That, alone, is a HUGE selling point; especially versus the Ford Focus. Someone on the Dart forums was going to buy an SE until he hopped in a Limited to test drive.. ended up buying a fully-loaded Limited. This is someone who's other daily-driver is a fully-loaded '13 Camry that he LOVES.. o_O
 

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Dart SE... LOL.

I had a feeling THAT wasn't going to happen. ;)

I'm also a believer that the Avenger is killing Dart sales. There's just no way of beating the value. Dealers around here don't stock many, if any, SEs because it is not eligible for an employee discount. That is also killing sales. Dealers in all areas may now do so since it is now available with cruise control.
 

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Retooling to add the MA2 2.4? Hmmm.
 

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It sounds weird, but I think they made the dart to big. It's pushing mid sized territory and strays to far into the Avenger territory s a result. I agree that the 2.4 needs to get here yesterday, as well as the 9 speed. Me personally I'd buy a dart over the avenger because I like the styling better, as well as having the 8.4" radio and the TFT cluster
 
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