Dodge

Dodge logoThe Dodge brand has largely been recognized for performance and handling during the past two decades or so as it defined itself further as the sports car peddler among the brands sold by Chrysler, then FCA and now Stellantis.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170

Consequently, it’s also considered one of the least environmentally friendly brands as well, as most models it was offering over the past few years were available with naturally aspirated and supercharged V8 engines with no hybrid assist whatsoever. Despite a reduced and aging product lineup, it was able to keep sales afloat with a continuous flow of special- and limited-edition variants, wild and rare paint colors, and simply offering cars and crossovers that the North American market actually desired–and not necessarily needed.

2023 Dodge Hornet

That’s changing with the recent introduction of the Dodge Hornet hybrid and plug-in hybrid crossovers as well as the next-generation Dodge Charger, which will be offered with a fully electric powertrain. It will be interesting to see how Dodge will keep up with its focus on performance and deliver greener products on the market.

2024 Dodge Charger

Dodge also needs to improve its products in several areas. The brand regularly ranks near the bottom of the list in J.D. Power’s annual Customer Service Index studies. It also ranked average in J.D. Power’s latest Vehicle Dependability Study. In Consumer Reports’ latest brand rankings, based on member polling, Dodge placed 25th out of 34.

2024 Dodge Durango Citadel

Current Dodge Model Lineup

The brand’s U.S. and Canadian lineup currently consists of the Dodge Hornet and Dodge Durango crossovers. A new-generation Dodge Charger coupe is expected for the 2024 model year with gasoline and fully electric powertrains.

Dodge History

The Dodge Brothers Company was founded in 1900 by Horace and John Dodge, and after a few years working as parts suppliers for other automakers such as Ford and Oldsmobile, the 1914 Dodge Model 30 appeared as its very first complete automobile under the Dodge Brothers Motor Company. By 1916, the Dodge brand was already second in U.S. vehicle sales.

1914 Dodge Model 30

Specializing in the production of durable trucks, Dodge manufactured a fleet of vehicles for the U.S. Army, which were also used during World War I.

1929 Dodge Senior Six Roadster

In 1920, tragedy struck. John Dodge died of pneumonia in January while Horace died of cirrhosis in December. The brothers’ widows took over the company, naming a new president to oversee operations.

1934 Dodge KC Pickup Truck

During the 1920s, the Dodge Four replaced the Model 30 while the brand’s light-truck portfolio expanded, but sales started to sag without the founding brothers’ involvement and vision. In 1925, Dillon, Read & Co. acquired the Dodge Brothers Motor Company for USD$146 million, the largest cash transaction in history at that time.

1936 Dodge D5

Under new ownership, the Dodge Senior Six was introduced equipped with six-cylinder engines, while the existing four-cylinder models were renamed Dodge Fast Four. The latter series was replaced by the six-cylinder Dodge Standard Six and Dodge Victory Six models in 1928.

1939 Dodge Deluxe Town Coupe

Dodge Brothers was sold once again in 1928, this time to the Chrysler Corporation, which included the company’s dealer network, but also the factory built in 1910 that was located in Detroit/Hamtramck, Michigan. The factory closed in 1980 and the site was purchased by General Motors, which is now home to GM’s Factory Zero plant.

1939 Dodge Luxury Liner Sedan

Under Chrysler ownership, the Dodge brand competed in the low-priced car segment, rivaling Chevrolet and Ford, among others. The Dodge Eight appeared in 1930 alongside the Six, sporting an eight-cylinder engine, while the cars were restyled almost every year to remain competitive, using model codes D2, D5 through D11, D14, D17, D19 and D22, and were offered in a variety of body styles such as a coupe, two- and four-door sedans, two- and four-door convertibles and a four-door limousine. The larger variants wore the Senior designation while the smaller, more affordable variants were called Junior. The Dodge H Series, K Series and M Series trucks appeared as well.

1940 Dodge Pickup Truck

Marking the brand’s 25th anniversary, the Dodge Luxury Liner series was introduced for the 1939 model year, while Special, DeLuxe and Custom trims appeared as well. Export market units were named the Dodge Kingsway from 1940 onwards, and the Dodge T Series and V Series trucks launched–also called Dodge Job-Rated trucks.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon

Dodge vehicle production then stopped during World War II. The Dodge WC54 truck was manufactured for military use, and a civilian variant was sold after the war ended, resulting in the four-wheel-drive Dodge Power Wagon that was born for the 1946 model year. The pre-war car lines restarted production as the D24 and D25 in 1946, and the Dodge B-Series pickup truck and van lines appeared in 1948.

1949 Dodge Wayfarer

In 1949, Chrysler hired stylist Virgil Exner, and Dodge vehicles started to feature more eye-catching designs, including tail fins inspired by the aviation world. The Dodge Wayfarer, Dodge Meadowbrook and Dodge Coronet launched in 1949 as the first all-new post-war models. The Dodge 100 line of trucks also appeared in 1949, which was built in Britain.

1955 Dodge La Femme

The 1950s saw the arrival of the Dodge C-Series pickup trucks, the Dodge Royal and Custom Royal, and in an effort to attract more women buyers, the Dodge La Femme was introduced for the 1955 and 1956 model years, boasting white and pink paint, gold-colored scripting and pink interior trim, and each car included a matching pink calfskin purse fill of accessories, a raincoat, a rain bonnet and an umbrella. Meanwhile, the brand’s first V8 engine, which was the first iteration of the well-known Chrysler Hemi engine, debuted in the Fifties, while the Dodge Dart appeared for the 1959 model year.

1966 Dodge Charger

During the 1960s, the Dodge Matador, Dodge Polara, Dodge Custom 880, Dodge Lancer, Dodge 330, Dodge 440 and Dodge Monaco launched, as did the Dodge D-Series pickup truck line, the Dodge A100 (Fargo A100 in Canada) van line and the Dodge LCF series of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. As the decade ended with trending muscle cars, the Dodge Charger and Dodge Super Bee debuted, quickly followed by the Dodge Challenger for the 1970 model year. Following the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” philosophy, Dodge was involved in NASCAR racing and released the legendary Dodge Charger Daytona with its wedge-shaped front fascia, sky-high rear wing as well as 7.2L V8 and 7.0L Hemi V8 engines. Chrysler Europe was established in 1967 to oversee the company’s operations in the continent, after acquiring companies Simca (France), Rootes (U.K.) and Barreiros (Spain).

1970 Dodge Challenger

The oil crisis in the 1970s required the American automakers to bring smaller and fuel-efficient cars to the market, and the Chrysler Corporation partnered up with Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors. The collaboration brought Mitsubishi products to the North American market wearing Dodge badges, such as the 1971 Dodge Colt, the second-generation Challenger for 1978 and the Dodge D-50 compact pickup for 1979.

1973 Dodge Colt

Meanwhile, home-grown nameplates were also introduced such as the compact Dodge Aspen in 1976, the midsize Dodge Diplomat for 1977 and the full-size Dodge St. Regis for 1979. The truck portfolio expanded with the arrival of the Dodge Ramcharger three-door full-size SUV in 1974 and the B-Series van line, also known as the Dodge Ram Van in the ‘80s. The fourth-generation Charger shed its performance-minded image to become a personal luxury coupe for 1975. For the 1978 model year, the Dodge Magnum coupe replaced the Charger while Chrysler’s first home-grown line of front-wheel-drive cars appeared with the Dodge Omni subcompact.

1979 Dodge Ram Van

During that time, the Chrysler Corporation was struggling financially, and under the leadership of new CEO Lee Iacocca, the company asked for a U.S. government loan to avoid going bankrupt while selling its money-bleeding Chrysler Europe subsidiary to Groupe PSA for $1.

1981 Dodge Aries

The 80s saw Chrysler regain momentum with the launch of its K platform, spawning a plethora of Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler models, including the compact Dodge Aries for 1981, the compact Dodge 400 for 1982, the midsize Dodge 600 for 1983, the Dodge Daytona coupe for 1984 and the ground-breaking Dodge Caravan and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans for 1984. The fourth-generation D-Series pickup introduced for 1981 was now known as the Dodge Ram going forward.

1984 Dodge Caravan

Meanwhile, the Dodge Mirada coupe replaced the Magnum for 1980 and Mitsubishi-sourced models continued arriving such as the Dodge Colt Vista multipurpose vehicle, the Dodge Conquest sports coupe, the Dodge Ram 50 pickup and the Dodge Raider SUV, while the Dodge Omni 024 liftback coupe launched for 1980 off the Omni hatchback’s L platform. The 1982 model year brought the L-platform Dodge Rampage pickup, while the Omni 024 was rebadged the Charger.

1984 Dodge Omni GLH

More platforms were developed off the K architecture, leading to more new models such as the midsize Dodge Lancer five-door sedan for 1985, the compact Dodge Shadow for 1987, the midsize Dodge Dynasty sedan for 1988 and the Dodge Spirit for 1989. A new pickup truck niche was created when Chrysler introduced the Dodge Dakota midsize pickup truck for the 1987 model year, which even added a Dakota Convertible for 1989.

1987 Dodge Dakota

Performance-focused variants of some nameplates were introduced through a collaboration with racing legend Carroll Shelby. This resulted in the Dodge Charger Shelby, the cult-status Dodge Omni GLH, GLH-T and GLH-S, the Shadow-based Shelby CSX and the Shelby Dakota.

1991 Dodge Stealth

The Chrysler Corporation’s return to profitability allowed the company to create Diamond-Star Motors with Mitsubishi in 1985, leading to the construction of an assembly plant in Normal, Illinois. In 1987, Chrysler acquired the American Motors Corporation or AMC, bringing in the Jeep brand as well as leading to the creation of the Eagle brand. Italian supercar brand Lamborghini was also purchased by the Chrysler Corporation in 1987.

1992 Dodge Viper RT/10

The Dodge 2000GTX launched for the 1989 model year in Canada as a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant. In the Nineties, the Dodge Monaco nameplate was revived for a few years in the U.S. market as a rebadged Eagle Premier sedan, while the Dodge Stealth sports car appeared for 1991 through another collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors. In 1991, one of the brand’s halo cars saw the light of day: the 1992 Dodge Viper roadster launched as an unbridled supercar with a massive 8.0L V10 engine. The Dodge Neon replaced the Shadow, the Dodge Stratus replaced the Spirit, the Dodge Intrepid replaced the Diplomat, Dynasty and Monaco while the Dodge Avenger coupe replaced the Daytona. The second-gen Ram Pickup was now offered as the Ram 1500 and Ram 2500HD/3500HD lines. The Dodge Durango midsize SUV debuted as a 1998 model.

1994 Dodge Ram 1500

In 1998, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation merged to become DaimlerChrysler AG, allowing vehicle, platform and technology sharing that eventually trickled down to the Dodge lineup.

2003 Dodge SRT-4

In the 2000s, the Stratus Coupe was introduced as a replacement for the Avenger, while a performance-focused variant of the Neon appeared as the Dodge SRT-4, a product of the company’s Street and Racing Technology performance development team. The Neon was renamed the Dodge SX 2.0 in Canada from 1993 onwards, and replaced outright by the Dodge Caliber that launched for the 2007 model year. The Dodge Sprinter launched as a rebadged Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for the 2003 model year, replacing the Ram Van. The high-performance Ram SRT-10 pickup debuted in 2003 using the Viper’s V10 engine.

2005 Dodge Magnum RT

The decade also saw the return of classic nameplates in North America with the Dodge Magnum full-size wagon for 2005, the Dodge Charger full-size sedan for 2006 as the Intrepid’s replacement, along with the Dodge Challenger muscle car for 2008. The Dodge Nitro compact SUV launched for 2007, while the Dodge Avenger was revived for the 2008 model year as a sedan, replacing the Stratus. The Dodge Journey midsize crossover hit the market in 2008 as a 2009 model.

2007 Dodge Caliber

In South America, a collaboration with Hyundai led to the sale of several rebadged vehicles such as the Dodge Atos, Dodge Verna, Dodge Attitude and Dodge i10 small cars–all developed by the South Korean automaker.

2009 Dodge Journey

DaimlerChrysler sold the Chrysler side of its operations to Cerberus Capital Management in 2007, and the resulting company became known as Chrysler LLC, of which newly renamed Daimler AG still held a 20% stake. Following the financial crisis at the end of decade, Chrysler LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and with U.S. government financial support, the company was reorganized as Chrysler Group LLC, and Italian manufacturer Fiat started acquiring shares of the American company in 2011. In 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was formed, also known as FCA.

2013 Dodge Dart

In the 2010s, product rollouts slowed down considerably for the Dodge brand. The third-generation Dodge Durango launched for the 2011 model year as a midsize three-row crossover, while Ram became a standalone brand, taking the Dodge Ram and Dakota pickups with it. The Dodge Dart was introduced for the 2013 model year as the Caliber’s replacement, and was discontinued after 2016. The third-generation Viper appeared for the 2013 model year, and was renamed the SRT Viper for two years before returning as the Dodge Viper again for 2015. High-performance SRT and SRT Hellcat variants appeared for the Charger, Challenger and Durango, all equipped with a supercharged 6.2L V8.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT 392

Over in South America, the Dodge Vision and Dodge Forza were sold as a badge-engineered Fiat Siena, while the Dodge Attitude was now offered as a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage sedan.

2015 Dodge Attitude (South America)

In 2021, Stellantis N.V. was formed following the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group.

2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona

The Dodge Hornet subcompact crossover arrived as a 2023 model, sharing many components with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The 2023 model year also saw the discontinuation of the Charger and Challenger nameplates, capping off a production run that saw many high-horsepower, high-performance variants introduced, such as the Dodge Charger SRT and SRT Hellcat, the Dodge Challenger SRT and SRT Hellcat as well as the Challenger SRT Demon and SRT Demon 170.