Dodge Make Overview
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Older Dodge Models
|Dodge 330||Dodge 440||Dodge 600|
|Dodge Aries||Dodge Aspen||Dodge Colt|
|Dodge Conquest||Dodge Coronet||Dodge D-Series|
|Dodge Dart Sport||Dodge Daytona||Dodge Diplomat|
|Dodge Dynasty||Dodge Lancer||Dodge Mirada|
|Dodge Monaco||Dodge Neon SRT-4||Dodge Omni|
|Dodge Polara||Dodge Power Wagon||Dodge Raider|
|Dodge Ram||Dodge RAM 150||Dodge RAM 250|
|Dodge RAM 350||Dodge Ram 50 Pickup||Dodge Ram Chassis 3500|
|Dodge Ram Chassis 4500||Dodge Ram SRT-10||Dodge Ram Wagon|
|Dodge Ramcharger||Dodge Rampage||Dodge Shadow|
|Dodge Spirit||Dodge Sprinter||Dodge St. Regis|
|Dodge Stealth||Dodge Super Bee|
Originally bicycle builders, the Dodge Brothers also designed car parts for Oldsmobile and helped finance the Ford Motor Company. But in 1914, they struck out on their own and formed the Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicle Company. The company focused early on trucks (its first truck was for use in WWI), gaining a repuation for strength and durability. It was later acquired by Chrysler and today is part of the Daimler-Chrysler family of cars.
Though sharing many of its brand names with its Plymouth sister, both under the Chrysler umbrella, Dodge has distinguished itself by its solidly built trucks and iconic muscle cars. Today, Dodge is still known mainly for its hard-hitting, hard-driving trucks, which make up 78% of its sales. And thanks to that annoying dopey guy in their commercials, Hemi has entered our cultural lexicon permanently.
The king of Dodge trucks is the monster Ram pickup (1500, 2500, 3500), which has gone through various incarnations over the years, but is always distinguishable by its ram horn icon. However, the first pickup ever to carry a Hemi engine was not the Ram, but the Dakota, which started life as a mid-size pickup and has now evolved into a popular family-friendly four-door truck.
Dodge's other icons are its muscle cars, and indeed Dodge once reigned supreme in the '60s muscle car era when movies like "Bullitt" turned the fastback Charger into a legend. The Charger was the first street car to sport a Hemi 426, and to this day its picture is in the dictionary next to the word "cool."; The Challenger was never popular at the time due to rising gas costs, but its rarity has now made it a collector's dream item. Though the gas crisis put an end to speedsters through most of the '80s, Dodge came back with a vengeance with the Viper. For 15 years now, it has turned heads, won hearts, and made others eat dust as one of the top-selling sports cars in the U.S. The good news is that on the heels of the Mustang's success, the Charger has returned, though restyled more as a sports-performing sedan, and the Challenger is set to appear in 2008.
Dodge was also an innovator. Good or bad, depending on your point of view, it produced the very first minivan (and soccer moms), the Caravan and Grand Caravan. It has continued to lead this market segment by introducing such novel concepts as cupholders, dual sliding doors, and all-wheel drive into the minivan. The Sprinter is a crossover from Mercedes. A cargo or passenger van, it is popular with commercial vendors as a delivery truck or airport limo.
The Durango is Dodge's top-of-the-line SUV. Built on a truck platform, it has the toughness and cargo versatility of pickups, with the handling and speed of a much lighter car. Over the years it has moved into more the full-size realm, and to fill the hole it left behind, Dodge is introducing the Nitro.
Sedan-wise, Dodge has introduced many cars over the years, from the Colt to the classic Dart, the economical '80s K-car Omni, and the full-size Diplomat that is most notable for its use as a police car and fleet vehicle. Today, focused more on the truck, SUV, and minivan buyers, Dodge offers few sedans. The enduring, yet underappreciated Neon disappeared in 2005 to be replaced by the 2007 Caliber, a compact 4-door hatchback that hopes to distance itself from the "cute" image of its precedessor.
The Dodge Magnum is a crossover SUV or sport wagon, designed to provide SUV capabilities and convenience, with car-like handling and fuel economy. It's really just an updated, but very cool and sexy looking station wagon. The recent demise of the Dodge Stratus, a basic four-door family car, leaves Dodge without a sedan on the market, though the Charger is being marketed in that category.