Dodge Expecting 40 MPG From 2013 Dart, Will Offer 9-Speed Auto

Dodge teased us earlier this week with photos of its sleek new 2013 Dart compact but left out the details we most want to know, namely horsepower and torque figures, transmission choices, and fuel economy. According to Automotive News, Fiat head Sergio Marchionne addressed two of those details, saying that the company expects the 2013 Dodge Dart to be certified by the EPA at 40 mpg by the end of the month with six-speed dual-clutch automatic and nine-speed automatic transmissions.

AN says that the key to the Dart’s 40 mpg highway rating will be its Fiat-derived six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, bolted to a choice of three fuel efficient inline-fours.  As we previously reported, the three engine choices are a 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter “Tigershark” I-4, and a turbocharged 1.4-liter “Fire” I-4 that see’s duty in the pint-sized Fiat 500 Abarth.

If the Dodge Dart does achieve an EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway, it will allow Fiat to buy its final 5 percent of stock, bringing its total holdings of Chrysler to 58.5 percent. The remainder of Chrysler’s stock is held by the UAW’s retiree health care trust.

The six-speed dual-clutch auto won’t be the only fuel-efficient transmission choice in the Dart though; Automotive News also reports that ZF will build a new nine-speed automatic gearbox for the Dart in its South Carolina factory starting in 2013. ZF officials believe that the nine-speed automatic will boost the Dart’s fuel economy by 10 to 16 percent over the dual-clutch transmission.

The 2013 Dart, which will be built in Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois plant starting in the first half of next year, and will debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)

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