Can’t wait for Dodge to rethink its small-car offerings? Fret not: new reports indicate the aging Caliber will finally be discontinued come November, making way for an all-new, Fiat-based C-segment offering that should launch early next year.
The Mopar maniacs at Allpar claim production of the Caliber will grind to a halt on November 23, just before Thanksgiving of this year. Dodge’s compact car, which replaced the Neon in 2006 as a 2007 model, never exactly resonated with consumers. Though designers hoped its chunky, SUV-ish styling would resonate with buyers both in North America and abroad, it never happened. From 2008 to 2009, sales more than halved; from then on, volumes dropped by roughly 10,000 units annually.
It wasn’t exactly hard to see why. The Caliber was saddled with anemic engines, a noisy CVT, and a low-rent interior, and trailed its competitors from day one. Upgrades were applied throughout its lifecycle (including a retuned transmission and a redesigned interior for 2010), but sales are still falling below expectations.
The good news, however, is that Dodge is readying a new C-segment offering — and it’s quite likely to be a very good car. The forthcoming model will be based heavily on Fiat architectures, notably that found beneath the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. While we’ve driven (and enjoyed) the Alfa, details on the U.S.-spec Dodge equivalent are fleeting: we hear it’s likely to return 40 mpg on the highway, and should use a four-cylinder engine with Fiat’s MultiAir technology. Better yet, we also hear the performance junkies at SRT are considering a high-performance variant in the years to come.
But perhaps the best news is we likely won’t have to wait all that long for it to arrive. Chrysler representatives have refrained confirming the new car’s launch timing, but did say it would go on sale during the 2012 calendar year as a 2013 model. We’ve heard some rumblings that the new small Dodge is likely to debut early next year, although officials refused to comment on the matter.