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January 30, 2012

Dodge Dart Brand Name Hits the Spot

DodgeDart.pngToday, AutoSpies raises its bloggy eyebrow at the Dodge Dart name.

The Dart was one of the stars of the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and consumers seem generally happy with the car's specs and appearance.

AutoSpies, however, brings up a problem with the name by commenting, "In it's day the original Dart was the LAMEST Dodge built and only grannies drove it. They even had special editions called 'Swinger' and 'Demon' and even THEY were lame."

That aura of lameness around the Dart name did briefly make me pause before giving it the nod. But my nod still stands, for a number of reasons.

First, Dodge almost called this car The Hornet. The Hornet brand name comes to us from the 1950's and has survived in various incarnations throughout to the 70's. It is just a little "way out" there and, like Dart, it has been slapped on some cars that are frankly not memorable.

Second, the CEO for Dodge, Reid Bigland, tells us that when they showed pictures of the new car to a target group under 35, "Dart was the overwhelming bulls-eye. These people weren't very familiar with the 1960-1976 Dart. They were just looking at Dart for matching the design and the aero of the current car." Plus, around 4 million "lame" Darts were sold.

Bottom line?

The target market is not aware of the original Dart that was sold between 1960-1976, when most of the consumers likely to buy the car were born.

The admittedly biased DodgeDartCentral.Com recently conducted a poll that showed 51.6% of respondents voting for the name.

Motor Trend says that Dodge "hits the bullseye" with the name, bemoaning the "inscrutable alphanumeric names" GM has saddled itself with.

I believe the Dart name fits the car and will resonate with young buyers, while those who remember the original Dart may simply not be in the market for a car like it.

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Posted by William Lozito at January 30, 2012 8:00 AM
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