By Patrick Rall
When the 2012 Beijing Motor Show opens next week, the 2013
Dodge Dart will make its Chinese debut but it won’t be called the Dart and it
won’t be badged as a Dodge – instead sporting the new name Fiat Viaggio for the
Chinese market. Also, the Fiat Viaggio
will not be built at the Belvidere Assembly Plant with the new Dodge Dart but
rather, Fiat will build the Viaggio at the new GAC-Fiat ‘World Class
Manufacturing’ plant in the Hunan province.
The differences between the Fiat Viaggio and Dodge Dart don’t
end at the name and build site though, as the Chinese market Fiat wears under
fascias that are a bit ‘softer’ than the uber aggressive Dart along with adding
a bit more chrome around the front end to support a more upscale look. More importantly to Dodge lovers – the Viaggio
will not feature the awesome wraparound LED taillight from the Dart.
engines from the Dodge Dart have been left in the US as the Fiat Viaggio will
be powered by a pair of 1.4L T-Jet 4-cylinder engines; one making 120
horsepower and the more powerful version making 150hp. These motors both come mated to a 5-speed
manual transmission in standard form but a dry dual clutch automatic
transmission will also be available for Chinese buyers.
For those wondering…Viaggio means voyage in Italian.
The Fiat Viaggio will arrive in Chinese Fiat dealerships
during the third quarter of 2012 – right around the same time that the Dodge
Dart R/T is arriving at American dealerships.