Fiat has been able to increase its stake in the Chrysler Group after the new Dodge Dart achieved 40 mpg in preliminary testing. Fiat now owns a 58.5 percent share of Chrysler Group, up from 53.5 percent previously. The remaining 41.5 percent is held by the United Auto Workers’ VEBA retiree healthcare fund.
The move was the last of three “performance benchmarks” established by the U.S. Treasury when Fiat purchased Chrysler in June 2009. In January 2011, the company increased its stake in Chrysler from 20 to 25 percent by starting to build its 1.4-liter MultiAir engine in Dundee, Michigan. In April 2011, Fiat increased its ownership in the company from 25 to 30 percent after Chrysler recorded over $1.5 billion in revenues from countries outside North America, and agreed to sell Chrysler products in Brazil and Europe.
The third benchmark required Chrysler to sell a car that achieved 40 mpg and was built in the U.S. According to the Chrysler, the 2013 Dodge Dart managed 40 mpg combined in preliminary testing, qualifying for the new benchmark. The 2013 Dart will be built in Belvidere, Illinois, and debuts at the Detroit auto show later this month.
It’s unknown what powertrain combination allowed the Dart to muster 40 mpg. Engine choices will comprise two “Tigershark” inline-fours displacing 2.0 and 2.4 liters, as well as a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir inline-four. Chrysler has also said there will be a choice of three transmissions for the compact Dart sedan. The Dart is based on a lengthened and widened version of the platform that underpins Europe’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback.