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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 , 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.”
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.
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.
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:
- All-speed traction control: helps keep driving wheels from spinning during acceleration from a stop or during all speeds using brakes and/or engine torque reduction
- Anti-lock, four-channel disc braking system: Senses and prevents wheel lockup independently at all four wheels. Allows individual wheel braking, and provides backup braking in the unlikely event that one of the two braking circuits would fail.
- Automatic Humidity Sensor: Enables the Dodge Dart’s automatic temperature control (ATC) system to measure humidity inside the vehicle and provide a fog-free windshield automatically without driver intervention
- Blind-spot Monitoring: Uses dual ultra-wideband radar sensors to aid the driver when changing lanes or if being passed by or passing unseen vehicles. The system notifies the driver of a vehicle in their blind spot via illuminated icons on the side-view mirror and with a driver-selected audible chime
- Brake Assist: In an emergency brake situation, the system applies maximum braking power
- Brake-lock differential system (BLDS): Allows the vehicle to maintain forward motion if one or two wheels lose traction by selectively and aggressively applying brakes to the spinning wheels.
- Brake Override: When a disagreement exists between the throttle and the brake, the brake signal causes the engine controller to reduce engine power, allowing the operator to stop the Dodge Dart
- Brake-traction control system (BTCS): Helps to keep driving wheels from spinning during acceleration from a stop or during slow speeds by applying individual brakes to the slipping wheel(s)
- Electronic brake-force distribution: Assists the driver to optimize stopping distances and control under all vehicle loading conditions by regulating braking pressure front-to-rear
- Electronic roll mitigation (ERM): An extension of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Uses input from ESC sensors to anticipate if the vehicle is at risk of entering a potential roll situation then reacts immediately, applying the brakes individually and modulating throttle position as needed to attempt avoiding a roll situation
- Electronic stability control (ESC): Enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. Provides the benefit in critical driving situations, such as turns, and is valuable when driving on mixed surface conditions, including snow, ice or gravel. If there is a discernible difference between driver input through the steering wheel and the Dart’s path, ESC applies selective braking and throttle input to guide the Dart back on to the driver’s intended path
- Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS): Makes it easier for emergency personnel to see and reach occupants in the event of an accident by turning on the interior lighting and unlocking doors after air bag deployment. Also shuts off flow of fuel to the engine
- Front seat-belt active load limiters: Designed to optimize the chest loading in an impact event
- Front seat-belt pretensioners: During a collision, impact sensors initiate front seat-belt pretensioners to remove slack in the seat belt system, thereby reducing the forward movement of the occupant’s head and torso
- High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps: Provide approximately three times the light output of conventional reflector lamps for improved nighttime illumination
- Hill-start Assist: Prevents the Dodge Dart from rollback and assists drivers when starting from a stop on a hill by maintaining the level of brake pressure applied for a short period of time after a driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal
- Intrusion alarm (Ultrasonic Intrusion Alarm): The ultrasonic intrusion alarm provides an increased level of security beyond a traditional alarm. The intrusion sensor monitors glass breakage, vehicle shock (bumping) and vehicle attitude (towing) changes.
- Keyless Enter ’n Go: When an individual enters the Dodge Dart, electronic sensors detect if the vehicle key fob is present. This will then allow the individual to push a button to start the Dodge Dart without having to insert the key into the ignition (The driver must apply the brake pedal when starting the car). The sensors also allow the deck lid to open without use of pressing the key fob
- LED taillamps: Provide dual function illumination (brake, stop, turn and running light functions) with harmonious and consistent illumination throughout the taillamp due to individual illumination points
- Lock on Sync tire pressure monitors – Tire pressure monitoring system self-learns tire position after rotation or tire is moved to a new location
- Rain-sensitive wipers: A driver convenience feature that automatically senses moisture on the Dart’s windshield and activates wipers
- Rainy Brake Support: The system uses the ESC pump to occasionally push brake pads lightly against brake rotors in rainy conditions in order to keep rotors dry and assure maximum braking performance under wet conditions
- Reactive head restraints: Activate in the event of a rear collision. Restraints are designed to reduce injuries by minimizing the gap between the head restraint and the passenger’s head
- Ready Alert Braking: The system anticipates situations when the driver may initiate an emergency brake stop and uses the ESC pump to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application
- Rear Cross Path Detection: In parking lot situations, this system warns drivers backing out of parking spaces of traffic moving toward their vehicle. It activates any time the Dodge Dart is in Reverse. The driver is notified of vehicle(s) crossing behind the vehicle via illuminated icons on the side-view mirror and with a driver-selected audible chime
- Remote keyless entry: Locks and unlocks doors and turns on interior lamps. If the vehicle is equipped with the optional security alarm, the remote also arms and disarms that system
- Sentry Key® engine immobilizer: Uses a key fob that has an embedded transponder with a pre-programmed security code to shut off the engine after a few seconds and discourage vehicle theft
- SmartBeam® headlamps: Headlamp system adjusts to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting
- Tilt-and-telescoping steering column: Allows steering column to tilt and move toward or away from the driver to achieve a safe and comfortable distance from the advanced multi-stage front driver air bag, if deployed
- Trailer-sway control: Reduces trailer sway and improves handling in adverse towing conditions caused by crosswinds and traffic. The system monitors the vehicle’s movement relative to the driver’s intended path, then applies alternating brake pressure to slow the vehicle and then increases the pressure on one front wheel in order to counteract the sway induced by the trailer
- Turn signals on exterior mirrors: Visually signals other drivers warning of a turn or lane change
- Uconnect Voice Command: An in-vehicle, voice-activated communication system that allows drivers to operate a Bluetooth compatible phone with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. When the Bluetooth phone is initially connected, the contact list is automatically downloaded, synchronizing as many as 1,000 phone book entries, which can then be selected by simply saying a contact name. It also allows drivers to switch radio modes, tune to AM/FM and SiriusXM Satellite Radio stations and request real-time information (such as fuel prices) from SiriusXM Travel Link using natural voice commands. The handsfree option promotes safety, freedom, value and flexibility
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