We mentioned this fact in our recounting of the 2007 Dodge Caliber debut at the Detroit Auto Show, but felt that it was significant enough not to be glossed over. The new Caliber will go on sale in the U.S. with a base MSRP of $13,985, which includes a $560 destination charge. The Neon is still listed on Dodge’s website with a base MSRP of $14,395, which is a difference of $410 that favors the all-new Caliber.

Without knowing all the specs on the Caliber, we can’t compare the two models to see exactly how much more or less you’re getting for the money. We do know that the Caliber’s 1.8L four-cylinder World Engine that produces 148 hp handily outperforms the Neon’s base 2.0L four-cylinder that makes 132 hp. Of course, we’d venture to guess the Neon weighs a lot less, too.
It was assumed the Caliber would carry a price that matched its size, which anyone can see is larger than the Neon and today’s current crop of small cars. Instead of growing itself out of the segment, this Neon-replacement has managed to price itself back in, which gives Dodge a very compelling buy in the sub-$15,000 market.

The real question is with the Caliber going for so cheap, does Dodge need an even less expensive model in its lineup to take on the likes of the Chevy Aveo, Kia Rio and Scion xA? Subcompact cars are notoriously difficult to make a good business case for in North America and Ford seems to be doing fine here without one, so we doubt Chrysler will be pumping out Akinos any time soon.

[Source: DaimlerChrysler]

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