Should 2013 Dodge Compact Be Named Dart, Duster, Camber...Or Caliber?

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2013 Dodge compact sedan - cropped

2013 Dodge compact sedan - cropped

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With just six weeks to go before the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, where Chrysler will unveil its critically important 2013 Dodge compact sedan, we still know relatively little about it. 

We've seen a spy shot, and last week we learned that the new model won't be called the Dodge Hornet, a name we rather liked.

“Hornet will not be the name," according to Reid Biglund, who runs the Dodge brand, talking to The Detroit News,

Turns out there are several other candidates for the new model's name, though.

According to enthusiast site AllPar, they are:

  • Dodge Dart
  • Dodge Duster
  • Dodge Camber
  • and even ... Dodge Caliber

We have our own opinions on each of these possibilities. You knew that, right?

1960 Dodge Dart - top

1960 Dodge Dart - top

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DART: We're old enough to remember the last of the Dodge Darts, a sedan that launched in 1960 and lasted until it was replaced in 1976 by the Dodge Aspen (the sedan, not the short-lived Chrysler sport-utility vehicle).

But perhaps the younger buyers that Dodge will likely target for this compact won't have any of those references, so Dart would be a new name altogether. We suspect Chrysler is surveying potential buyers and studying that question now.

DUSTER: The Plymouth Duster was the fastback body style of the badge-engineered Plymouth Valiant model, the equivalent of the Dodge Dart, from 1970 to 1976. It was also a trim level of the replacement Plymouth Volare.

1970 Plymouth Duster - factory photo

1970 Plymouth Duster - factory photo

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We chuckled at the lightweight 1976 Feather Duster, which had the best fuel economy in its class, not to mention the other special editions: Gold Duster, SIlver Duster, Space Duster, and the Duster Twister.

But both names smack of household items. Does anyone still dust?

CAMBER: This one has the advantage of no historic roots, pro or con. And it's not a word that most auto buyers are familiar with, being one dimension of suspension geometry.

But if there's to be a Dodge Camber sedan, can we expect a Dodge Caster hatchback or even a Dodge Toe-In truck to follow in a year or two?

(That was a suspension engineering joke. Never mind.)

CALIBER: This is the current, deeply uncompetitive, and slow-selling model that the new compact sedan will replace in the Dodge lineup.

2011 Dodge Caliber

2011 Dodge Caliber

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The Caliber five-door hatchback was launched in 2006, and didn't get great reviews at its debut. The intervening years have been less kind still.

Is this really another model name Chrysler wants to carry forward? It killed off its even-more-maligned Sebring name, and we suggest the same fate for Caliber.

But we'd like to hear what you think. If you ran Chrysler, what would you call the new, slightly-smaller-than-its-competitors Dodge compact sedan?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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