Familiar nameplate returning to Chrysler fold

Familiar nameplate returning to Chrysler fold

Credit: AP

The 2012 Dodge Dart is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

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by AP

KMOV.com

Posted on January 9, 2012 at 4:32 PM

DETROIT (AP) — If the new Dodge Dart sells anything like the original, Chrysler will have the small-car hit it needs.

The reinvented compact, which debuts at the Detroit auto show today, is nothing like its predecessor from the 1960s and '70s. But Chrysler is counting on the Dart, and its zippy name, to help it sell more small cars and continue its recent revival.

Instead of the somewhat boxy lines of the original, the new Dart has the sleek stance of a modern muscle-car, with a short hood, long roof and slightly flared fenders. And it's based on the frame and suspension of a crisp-handling Alfa Romeo hatchback brought over by Chrysler's Italian owner, Fiat SpA.

The automaker needs a breakthrough in the growing small-car market, where it hasn't had success since the bug-eyed Dodge Neon in the mid-1990s.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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