Dodge is a brand of cars produced by the American company Chrysler. The Dodge brand includes passenger cars, pickups, SUVs and commercial vehicles. The company was founded in 1900 by the Dodge brothers to produce automotive components. In 1914, the production of its own cars began. Dodge was sold to Chrysler in 1928, was part of the DaimlerChrysler alliance from 1997 to 2008, and is now part of Fiat-Chrysler LLC. The new Dodge logo features ‘Dodge’ lettering with two red stripes; the old logo (bighorn head) is now used on Ram vehicles.
Brothers John Dodge and Horace Dodge entered the auto industry long before they founded their own auto company. Back in 1897, they started making bicycles in Detroit, and in 1900 they founded an engineering plant that made parts for cars. They supplied transmissions for Oldsmobile, in 1903 they helped Henry Ford) with funding the Ford Motor Company and built engines for it, and John Dodge was even vice president of this company until 1913.
The Dodge Brothers’ products have earned a high reputation for quality and reliability. Having decided that it was time to produce cars themselves, the brothers, based on their factories, created in 1913 a company that was called Dodge Brothers. The first car of the Dodge brand was born on November 14, 1914. It had a 3.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 35 hp. and was positioned as a budget, but “real” car, in contrast to the popular but primitive Ford T.
However, in 1920 the firm suffered an unexpected blow: John Dodge became one of the victims of the Spanish flu pandemic – the flu, which in those years mowed down people like machine guns on the fronts of the just-ended World War.
The annual production of cars was 200 thousand copies. In the same year, it was acquired by the banking consortium Dillon, Read & Company for $ 148 million – at the time it was the largest corporate deal in history. Dodge’s huge manufacturing capacity has allowed Chrysler to become one of the members of the Detroit troika of auto giants, along with General Motors and Ford – and at some points in history, Chrysler even overtook Ford in terms of production.
After the war, on their basis, the production of the popular Dodge Power Wagon pickups began. Post-war Dodge cars, like all Chrysler products, were distinguished by a solid, but inexpressive design. The situation changed in the second half of the 1950s, when, under the leadership of designer Virgil Exner, the successful Forward Look style was developed, which, in the then fashion, was distinguished by huge fins.
From 1967, the Charger could be ordered in the popular R / T trim, which was powered by a 375-horsepower 440 Magnum engine. In 1969, the Charger was based on the Charger Daytona, intended for NASCAR racing.
Finally, since 1970, the very popular Dodge Challenger has been produced, which, rather, can be attributed to the pony cars category. It was also offered in R / T and Hemi trim levels, and a T / A homologation version for Trans Am racing. This model was equipped with a 290-horsepower 340 Six Pack engine (with three two-barrel carburetors).
The situation was saved by the new manager of the corporation, Lee Iacocca, who convinced the American congressmen to provide the corporation with a large government loan. Iacocca opted for a new front-wheel-drive K-platform, which has been the basis for a whole family of cars since the early 1980s, including the Dodge Aries, Dodge 400 and Dodge 600. The Dodge 400 was produced with a convertible body, becoming the first Dodge convertible since 1971 and one of the the first American convertibles after production temporarily ceased in 1976.
The completely revamped lineup, in addition to the Viper, consisted of the full-size Intrepid (1993-2004), the mid-size Stratus. Since 2006, Intrepid has been replaced by the Dodge Charger sedan, as well as the Dodge Magnum station wagon, which appeared a year earlier, on the same platform, which is sold in Europe as the Chrysler 300 Touring. Since 2006, the compact Dodge Caliber has also been produced, replacing the Neon.
In accordance with the new strategy of the corporation, the Dodge brand has ceased to be purely American. Official sales of Dodge began in Europe, including Russia, where Caliber models are offered to buyers. In search of a way out of the crisis in which the entire American auto industry and the Chrysler division in particular found itself, Dodge again relies on speed, exploiting the images of its legendary muscle cars.