Dodge Dart

Chrysler

Consumer Reports says it won't put three Detroit cars on its influential "recommended" list - the Dodge Dart, a compact car from Chrysler, the Lincoln MKS, Ford's refreshed luxury sedan , and the Cadillac XTS.

Consumer Reports:  Dart "stalls out on its powertrains."

This is especially bad news for Chrysler, according to Mark Phelan, auto critic for the Detroit Free Press.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Dart will help make Chrysler a full-line auto company once again. It's a compact car, or so-called "C-segment," car.

It's the first vehicle to combine a U.S. design with a Fiat chassis or platform.  The last small car Chrysler made was the Dodge Caliber and that was not very successful.

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne thinks the Dart will do much better.

"We are looking forward to a successful launch of a C-segment sedan, which is a piece of the market that we've been absent from for a long period of time, so we're expecting great volumes in terms of the Dart for the remainder of the year," said Marchionne.

A version of the Dart that gets 41 miles per gallon is expected later this year.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

GENEVA (AP) - Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he may shift the date of the Dodge Dart's production launch off of April 1 to "to avoid being jinxed" by an April Fool's Day launch.

The Dodge Dart is the first Chrysler model to use Fiat architecture under the nearly three-year-old alliance.

Marchionne on Tuesday called the Dodge Dart "a huge step forward in terms of moving the brand into the American heartland."

Fiat, which controls a 58.8 percent share of Chrysler, sells the city car 500 in the United States, hitting sales of 2 million last year.

It plans to bring over the 500L - a larger version of the 500 that was launched at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday - in 2013.

On Monday, Chrysler unveiled its 2013 Dodge Dart at the Detroit Auto Show.

Sarah Cwiek reports:

Reid Bigland, President of the Dodge brand says the Dart represents a true blend of Fiat and Chrysler’s traditional strengths. “Quite simply, it is groundbreaking. It has a world-class architecture, the DNA of an Alpha-Romeo, with the unmistakable presence of a Dodge,” said Bigland. He says the Dart will make its debut in showrooms this spring with a price tag of just under $16,000.

Chrysler

Fiat's ownership stake in Chrysler goes up 5 percent now that the company is building a car that gets 40 mpg in the U.S.

The added stake was part of the agreement with the U.S. government when it bailed out the auto company in the 2009 bankruptcy restructuring.

The Associated Press has more:

The U.S. government...gave Fiat a 20 percent stake in Chrysler in July of 2009 in exchange for Fiat's management expertise and use of its technology. Fiat gradually raised its ownership by meeting performance goals and buying the government's stake in Chrysler.

Chrysler said early Thursday that a pre-production version of the new Dodge Dart compact got 40 mpg in testing by the Environmental Protection Agency in late December. Full testing for the mileage sticker that will go on the Dart's window has not been finished. The window sticker testing is done under different standards and could be lower than 40 mpg.

The AP reports that the added 5 percent comes from a UAW trust fund that pays for retiree health care. After giving up the five percent, that fund still owns 41.5 percent of Chrysler.

Automobile Magazine has more on the Dart, which will be built Belvidere, Illinois:

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.

The Dart will be revealed at the North American International Auto Show starting next week. We'll have more then.