The all-new ’13 Dodge Dart C-car marks the leading edge of a technology wave that will see all Chrysler vehicles equipped with electric power steering, WardsAuto learns.

The technology is destined to proliferate through Chrysler’s lineup as the auto maker responds to increasingly challenging fuel-economy standards, two independent sources tell WardsAuto.

Chrysler is coy when asked to confirm its plans. Spokesman Rick Deneau says only that the auto maker continually is “exploring new technologies” and no announcements are imminent.

Chrysler pegs the Dart’s EPS-related fuel-economy benefit at 3%, compared with the performance of a conventional hydraulic steering system. Depending on the application, the technology can deliver improvements up to 6%.

A leading global EPS supplier suggests the technology is headed for Chrysler’s fullsize Ram pickup. Nexteer executives are on record saying every vehicle in the segment, except the Nissan Titan, will follow the lead of the EPS-equipped ’11 Ford F-150.

Ford has said 100% of its models will feature the technology by 2013.

In the Dart, which debuts today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler promises “optimal” steering performance with less noise than hydraulic systems. Gone with the power-steering pump is parasitic loss, which will contribute to improved fuel economy, the auto maker says.

In addition, the Dart’s EPS is integrated with the car’s electronic stability control system to deliver better handling on split-mew surfaces and crowned roads while reducing torque steer, Chrysler says.

The Dart’s dual-pinion steering system is borrowed from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, from which the Dodge C-car’s platform is derived. It is the first Chrysler product to benefit from the auto maker’s technology-sharing partnership with Fiat.

“The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking car that will surprise and delight customers who want a no-compromise, fun-to-drive car,” Reid Bigland, Dodge brand president and CEO, says in a statement.

Chrysler does not reveal pricing for the car, which is slated for production this spring at the auto maker’s plant in Belvidere, IL. But Bigland promises “great value.”

Notably, the Dart can be had with integrated dual exhaust, light-emitting-diode taillamps, heated steering wheel and the largest telematics display screen in the segment, 8.4-in. (21.3-cm).

The Dart also heralds a new era in powertrain technology at Chrysler with three new 4-cyl. engines and one new transmission that, like the car’s platform, benefits from the auto maker’s partnership with Fiat.

Two engines are tweaked versions of the auto maker’s World Engine and dubbed Tigershark after the development project of the same name. The base-model 2.0L Tigershark is rated at 160 hp and generates maximum torque of 145 lb.-ft  (200 Nm), while the 2.4L Tigershark features Fiat’s acclaimed MultiAir valve-actuation technology to deliver 184 hp and the same peak torque.

The third engine, a 1.4L turbocharged I-4 with MultiAir, comes directly from Fiat. It boasts 160 hp and peak torque of 184 lb.-ft. (250 Nm).

The new turbo already has paid dividends for the Chrysler organization by triggering a 5% increase in Fiat’s stake in the auto maker.

The landmark 2009 operating agreement that gave Fiat management control of then-bankrupt Chrysler promised the stake hike if the Italian auto maker could help Chrysler produce a car that delivered 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km). That milestone was achieved in testing last month.

A new dry dual-clutch 6-speed transmission also debuts on the Dart. The car also is available with 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic gearboxes.

emayne@wardsauto.com