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2013 Dodge Dart Quality and Safety

2013 Dodge Dart quality steps

Doug Betts, Senior Vice President for Quality, said, “Despite an unprecedented amount of product changes during [2011], internal and external quality indicators show that all our brands continue to outpace the industry’s rate of improvement for reliability. This is a crucial vehicle launch for the company as we re-enter the compact sedan market, and everyone is committed to launching a high-quality product. We [were] applying what we learned from the 2011 launches to the Dodge Dart’s development right at the beginning of the program.”

dodge dart safety cage

The Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit was the first Chrysler Group assembly plant to install a dedicated Metrology Center to house highly precise dimensional control tools. JNAP’s Metrology Center started inspecting parts just prior to volume production of customer vehicles and helped propel the Dodge Durango to the top of influential quality surveys in its launch year.

The Metrology Center at the Dart’s Belvidere Assembly Plant started operations almost a year before full production, measuring components and systems before the first prototype vehicles were built. These tools allowed engineers to find the sources of variation, even when components appear perfect, and resolve any fit and finish issues before customer cars are built.

Perceived quality of the Dart

Knowing that many car buyers make judgments about a car’s quality the first time they see it, the company’s Perceived Quality (PQ) team set the bar high, assuring the fit-and-finish, surface quality, and the sound quality of moveable parts like doors and storage bins. The Dart is the first Chrysler program to use PQ best practices from the start of development.

The PQ team benchmarked more expensive European sedans with the goal that the Dart will look and feel comparable to an entry luxury sedan under close inspection. Testing included all kinds of road surfaces, at various altitudes, through blizzards and deserts, for 8.5 million reliability validation miles.

headlights

Some of the most punishing tests take place inside the Chrysler Technology Center on the Road Test Simulator (RTS). It recreates the abuse vehicles endure at the hands of a customer who drives the vehicle in more severe conditions than 95% of all owners. The RTS replicates a wide range of on-road and off-road driving surfaces and puts a lifetime of wear-and-tear on a vehicle in one month’s time.

More than 100 Dodge Darts were tested daily for about 3 months until each vehicle reached 36,000 miles; these test drivers were not engineers, and were chosen from diverse backgrounds to represent customers of different ages, sizes, and ethnicities. The test drivers also scrutinized all the functional aspects of each car, from seat belt buckling to heating and ventilation operation. Seven different test protocols were used to simulate random customer use and prevent test drivers from becoming desensitized to expected outcomes. The Dodge Dart quality team reviewed the test drive data daily to find and fix any issues that arise.

The Uconnect® Touch Media Center also got a thorough test drive – by a passenger who runs through a 12-page checklist to test the functionality and reliability of the system as well as how compatible it is with a wide variety of mobile phones, music players and other media devices.

Dodge Dart manufacturing

The Belvidere Assembly Plant has invested in new technology and processes to improve quality, including $5 million for a new Center for Technical Vehicle Validation (CTVV) – the first such quality center in a U.S. Chrysler Group plant. The CTVV randomly audits newly built vehicles and measures up to 600 technical and functional characteristics, including emissions, fit-and-finish, heating and air conditioning performance and ride height. The Belvidere plant also will house a Materials Laboratory staffed with an onsite chemist. The CTVV and Materials Lab will allow engineers to identify and troubleshoot emerging issues onsite, with fewer delays from sending parts to Auburn Hills or supplier locations for analysis.

Testing the Dart cars

More than 100 Dart vehicles are [as of April 2012] tested daily for about 3 months until each vehicle reaches 36,000 miles; drivers are chosen from diverse backgrounds and scrutinize operations from seat belt buckling to heating and ventilation operation. Seven test protocols simulate random customer use and prevent test drivers from becoming desensitized to expected outcomes. The Dodge Dart quality team reviews the test drive data daily.

The Uconnect® Touch Media Center also gets a thorough test drive as testers work through a 12-page checklist to test the functionality and reliability of the system as well as how compatible it is with a wide variety of mobile phones, music players and other media devices.

The Belvidere Assembly Plant has a new Metrology Center for precise measurements, and the first Center for Technical Vehicle Validation (CTVV) and Materials Laboratory in a U.S. Chrysler Group plant. The CTVV randomly audits newly built vehicles and measures 437 functional characteristics; it is staffed with an on-site chemist, and allows the plant to identify and troubleshoot emerging issues without delay.

Dodge Dart Safety

The Daylight Opening (DLO) graphic for the new Dodge Dart includes a rear quarter window that helps reduce blind spots and increase outward visibility for both drivers and passengers.

The new Dart was created with 60 available safety and security features, starting with a strong foundation of 68% high-strength steel. The ten standard airbags are unsurpassed in compact cars, and include dual-stage, adaptive venting front airbags; front seaet mounted pelvic and thorax bags; rear pelvic airbags; front knee bags for driver and passenger; and side curtain airbags for both rows.

The 2013 Dodge Dart is also the only car in its class to offer Rear Cross Path Detection.

dart dashboard

The Dart also has standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes on all models, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, optional rear back-up camera, and rear park assist. Other standard and optional safety and security features include:

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