The new 2013 Dodge Dart subcompact set to debut next month at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show is a crucial model in the Fiat-Chrysler empire, as the car’s fuel efficiency will likely see Fiat reach the final of three goals that allow the Italian auto giant to increase its stake in Chrysler without paying any cash.

This final goal is the production of a 40 mpg vehicle in the U.S., a fuel efficiency rating the Dart is expected to earn by the end of the month, according to Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

If successful, Fiat will receive an additional 5 percent of Chrysler, lifting its stake in the American automaker to 58.5 percent. The remainder of the company is held by the UAW's retiree health care trust.

Marchionne revealed the information to Reuters when he said Fiat's ownership in Chrysler would increase "after the last dilution event, which will happen hopefully this month".

As previously reported, the Dart will come with three engine options; a standard 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged engine, a mid-level 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and a range-topping 2.4-liter MultiAir unit, also a four-cylinder.

The Dart has also been confirmed with three transmission choices, though exactly what these will be is yet to be disclosed.

At next year’s launch, a six-speed manual should be offered as standard along with a Fiat-derived six-speed dual clutch remaining as an option. Automotive News (subscription required) is reporting that a year after launch the Dart will be offered with a new nine-speed ZF automatic that’s said to be between 10 and 16 percent more fuel efficient than the already efficient six-speed dual clutch.

Stay tuned for an update but in the meantime click here for our original post on the 2013 Dodge Dart.

2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan

2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan