Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has confirmed it will cease production of its compact Dodge Dart sedan this fall, and will reconfigure the plant that builds it to expand Jeep production to meet growing demand.
Beginning next year, FCA’s Belvidere, Illinois plant will switch production from the Dart to the more profitable mid-size Jeep Cherokee SUV, currently built only in Toledo, Ohio.
As part of the product changeovers, FCA will retool both plants to the tune of more than $1 billion US, according to Bloomberg.
The Belvidere plant will have $350 million invested in it, while the Toledo Assembly Complex will have $700 million channeled into it as it prepares to take on assembly of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler at its North Plant.
FCA expects to add about 300 jobs at Belvidere and 700 in Toledo as a result of these changes.
Production of the Dart and Belvidere’s other products, the Jeep Compass and Patriot, will wrap up in September and December 2016, respectively.
The demise of Dodge’s small car can be attributed to one thing: it didn’t sell.
Through the end of June 2016, the Dart’s sales have declined 58.1% in Canada, and by 40.7% in the U.S., according to GoodCarBadCar.
In terms of actual units sold, Chrysler managed to move only 829 Darts in Canada this year through the end of June; the segment-leading Honda Civic sold 33,193 copies over the same time period.
After replacing the Dodge Avenger in 2012, the Dart’s sales peaked in Canada in 2013, at 9,870 units.
The Dart’s Chrysler-badged sibling, the 200, is also expected to be taken out of production later this year or in early 2017. The Sterling Heights, Michigan plant that builds it will be retooled to assemble the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup truck.