June 27, 2012 8:44 PM
Chicago’s Soldier Field has been the site of some pretty
impressive events over the years – a college football
national championship game (Army vs. Navy, 1926); the “Long
Count” heavyweight championship fight between Jack Dempsey
and Gene Tunney (1927); the Chicago Freedom Movement rally led by
Dr. Martin Luther King (1966).
And now, another significant event played out today at the stadium
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearly 300 2013
cherry-red Dodge Darts encircled the venerable field and, after a
rally led by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Dodge Brand
President/CEO Reid Bigland, drove off in a caravan down Lake Shore
Drive, with the final destination being Dodge dealerships across
“We’ve launched the Dart in a very special way,”
noted Bigland. “We’ve hosted 12 of these 'ride aways'
across the country, and having one in the Chicagoland area was an
auto industry is alive and well in Illinois,” said Governor
“The next generation of Dodge Darts is being assembled at our
Belvidere plant and since 2008, Chrysler has gone from 200 jobs to
more than 4,000 jobs – we want that growth to
The Soldier Field event is significant because the all-new Dodge
Dart is built at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly
Plant, about 60 miles from Chicago. The Dart blends Alfa Romeo DNA
with Dodge’s passion for performance and style, resulting in
a groundbreaking compact sedan.
And dealers can’t wait to get their hands on them.
“We really want to get this Dart in the showroom for everyone
to see,” said Mike Bettenhausen, a dealer from Tinley Park,
Ill. “It’s got so many attractive features –
inside and out – that it will end up selling
“Today’s event is a great example of a momentum shift
forward for the Dodge brand,” said Eric Maines, a dealer from
Elgin, Ill. “Being able to offer the public a compact car
with lots of features at a great price is just the ticket to get
dealers excited about sales prospects for the coming year.”
The attendees represented close to 300 dealerships in Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Missouri, with some
traveling distances greater than 450 miles away to attend.
Chrysler Group invested nearly $700 million in the Belvidere plant,
reconfiguring the facility to accommodate production of the
Visit the Chrysler
Communications Facebook Page for more event images.