There’s a prevailing attitude at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. No matter where you go inside the nearly 5-million-square-foot facility, or who among the more than 2,700 workers you may talk to, there’s one distinct feeling there that overshadows all the rest.

Pride.

And for good reason.

Today, the first 2013 Dodge Dart rolled off the assembly line, officially beginning a new era for the brand’s compact car segment, offering customers roominess, style, functionality and fuel-efficiency.

It’s also time for a little pomp and celebration on this watershed day for the plant, its workers and for Dodge.

"This is huge for everybody here at Belvidere,” said plant manager Kurt Kavajecz. “Seeing that Dart roll off the line was quite a thrill for me and the men and women who built it."







Belvidere Assembly Plant Manager Kurt Kavajecz (left), UAW Local 1761 President Bob Cunningham and UAW Local 1268 President George Welitschinsky celebrate with employees as the first Dodge Dart rolls off the assembly line ealier today.

"The launch of the 2013 Dodge Dart is one of the most anticipated in our history and represents a tremendous source of pride for the Brand and the Company," said President & CEO Dodge Brand Reid Bigland. "The all-new Dart offers consumers features and benefits never before found in a compact car."

The all-new Dart will begin to arrive at Dodge dealers across the country in late June and already has been bestowed with several awards. The Dart was named to "Ward’s 10 Best Interiors" List for 2012, as well as being awarded "Most Significant Vehicle" at the North American International Auto Show by editors at Autoweek. And, just last week, the Texas Auto Writers Association named the Dart the "Best Value," "Best New Feature" and "Compact Car of Texas."

It’s ironic that although the pride for the all-new Dodge Dart felt throughout the Belvidere plant is genuine (and not manufactured), it was the manufacturing of the Dart that provides the source of that pride.

There’s an anonymous quote that puts the whole issue into perspective: "Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity."

Or, as that great sage (and former baseball pitcher/broadcaster) Dizzy Dean was known to say, "It ain't bragging if you can do it."

See Flickr for the above and another 2013 Dodge Dart image (downloadable for your non-commercial use).