As the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan heads to dealerships around the country, dealers may be haunted by a previous compact Dodge vehicle. When determining how many examples of the Dart each dealership will receive, Dodge will take into account several factors -- including the number of Dodge Caliber hatchbacks that each dealership previously sold.
The slow-selling and much-maligned Dodge Caliber ceased production in December 2011, making way for the automaker to instead build the 2013 Dart at its factory in Belvidere, Illinois. The specter of the Caliber will still hang over some dealers, however, as they have discovered that Dodge will take into account sales of the old Caliber when determining how many new Dart models each showroom will receive.
Dodge spokesperson Kathy Graham explained that dealer allocations of the Dart will primarily be driven by a measure of which markets have high compact-car sales, followed by factoring in how many Dodge vehicles overall a particular dealership sells. Previous sales volumes of the Dodge Caliber are part of the allocation decision, but Graham told us "it's not the main reason."
It seems logical that sales of the Caliber would only marginally influence dealer allocation of the Dart, as the two cars are very different. The Dodge Caliber was a poorly received hatchback, while the Dodge Dart is a much-improved compact sedan that is based on a renowned Alfa Romeo chassis from Europe. In 2011, the Dodge Caliber sold just 35,049 copies, down 22 percent from 45,082 sales in 2010.
The first 2013 Dodge Dart destined for customers rolled off the assembly line in May. Each dealership will receive at least one example of the Dart this month. Many of those cars will be picked up by dealers from "drive away" launch events around the country, and can be sold to customers. Dodge showrooms will receive a higher number of Darts available for sale by July.
Sources: Automotive News, Dodge