You have to love the global auto industry. Fiat will be introducing a Chinese-built version of the American Dodge Dart, a car that's based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, at the Beijing auto show on April 23. Dubbed "Viaggio," production of the new sedan will launch in July, with sales commencing in China by the end of the year.

While Fiat isn't saying whether the model will be exported from China, the Viaggio will be powered by Fiat's 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. Two versions will be available, one making 120 hp and the other 150, with either a five-speed manual or a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. From the teaser images Fiat released, we can see that the car basically looks like a Dart with different front and rear fascias, which give it a somewhat less sporty look. As is Fiat's way, some tasteful application of chrome makes the Viaggio seem like a more upscale product than the budget-oriented Dodge.

The Italian-American-Chinese mutt will be produced under Fiat's partnership with Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group. GAC also has joint ventures with Mitsubishi, Honda, Isuzu, and Toyota (and formerly with Peugeot), giving us cause to wonder whether GAC employs more factory workers or lawyers.

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Fiat has just published the first official snap-shots of the Viaggio, a totally new model which will have its world preview at the Beijing International Auto Show on Monday 23 April this year.

Viaggio (voyage in English and its Chinese name Fei Xiang meaning flying) is the first Fiat-Chrysler twin project which brings to life an all-new world class vehicle with high levels of refinement and craftsmanship that breaks the mould in China's compact sedan segment.

The new Fiat Viaggio sedan delivers a unique blend of power, fuel efficiency, sophistication, technology and vehicle dynamics, beautifully clothed in a distinctive Italian design.

The new four-door, five-seater Fiat Viaggio is based on the CUSW (Compact US Wide) architecture -the most advanced within the Fiat Group – which is also the basis of the new Dodge Dart, presented at the Detroit Motor Show last January. The CUSW architecture is, in turn, derived from the Compact architecture originally developed for the best-selling Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

At 4,679mm in length, 1,850mm in overall width and with a 2,708mm wheelbase, the Viaggio is the new C-segment benchmark. With this car, Fiat is bringing the very best of its technological know-how, design and refinement to the biggest selling segment in China.

The Fiat Viaggio will be the only car in its segment to exclusively offer sophisticated turbocharged engines; the 1.4l T-Jet in both 120 hp and 150 hp outputs matched to either a 5-speed manual transmission or the latest Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDTC) developed by Fiat Powertrain.

Designed by the Fiat Group Style Centre in Torino, the Viaggio has a timeless, clean-surfaced expressive exterior design that blends fluid and curvaceous forms with strong proportions. A contemporary Fiat 'face' ensures unmistakable brand identity. Rear tail lamps with refined LED lights deliver an image of superior quality.

The new Fiat sedan will be the first car to be produced in the new GAC-Fiat World Class Manufacturing plant in Changsha, Hunan province. The first cars will be produced from July and will go on sale in the third quarter of this year.

Also at the forthcoming Beijing International Auto Show, GAC-Fiat, Jeep, Chrysler, Maserati and Ferrari will jointly have a strong presence in Luxury Hall E4. The Luxury Hall E4 of the China International Exhibition Centre aims to offer Chinese customers the synthesis of the present and future view of the Fiat-Chrysler Group and its willingness
to become a key player in the significant Chinese market.

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