May 7, 2012 2:31 PM
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.
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
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
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
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
See Flickr for the above and another 2013
Dodge Dart image (downloadable for your non-commercial