Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois plant will begin cranking out about 2000 Dodge Darts in May, and another 8000 in June, Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Dodge told Detroit Free Press. Things won’t start heating up until late summer though, when all the options and availability detailed on the online Dart configurator will “really hit the stride,” Bigland said. The recently launched configurator gave us a peek at how the Dart’s trim levels will be stratified, but Dodge emphasizes that packages and prices are only tentative. The Dodge Dart, with its fuel economy of up to 40 mpg, will arrive in showrooms at a good time in the summer, when gas prices start taking a toll on vacationers’ wallets. And with a reported starting price of $15,995, the 2013 Dart is set to compete with all the big players like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Chevrolet Cruze.
Dodge plant workers will pick up the pace in late summer, when 10,000 to 12,000 Darts will be built each month, including some for Mexico and Canada. China however, will get its own rebadged version of the Dodge Dart called the Fiat Viaggio, which will be powered by same naturally aspirated and turbocharged 1.4-liter engine in the U.S.-spec Fiat 500 and Fiat 500 Abarth, respectively. The Viaggio, scheduled for a Beijing debut, will be built at Fiat and Guangzhou Automobile Group’s new factory in China’s Hunan Province in July, which has an annual capacity of 140,000 vehicles. Fiat also plans on launching a hatchback version of the Viaggio in China, but don’t count on a four-door Dart hatchback heading to the U.S. market this year.