Part of the Chrysler Group, Dodge represents the performance division of the corporation. The Dodge brand currently sells a range of cars, minivans, SUVs, and crossovers, from compact to full-size formats.
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In 1914, brothers Horace and John Dodge built their first automobile, the Model 30; standard features like an all-steel body, 12-volt electrical system and “sliding gear transmission” were revolutionary at the time. In 1917, Dodge Brothers started producing vehicles for commercial use, and by 1920, Dodge was the number two automaker behind the Ford Motor Company, but that same year, both founding brothers passed away.
The 116, 126, Senior and Victory models were launched in the ‘20s, before the company was bought up by the Chrysler Corporation in 1928, who renamed it Dodge in 1930. In the following decade, Dodge's three lines were trimmed to two: Six and Eight.
After a slow production restart after the war, newly-developed cars appeared in the ‘50s, such as the Wayfarer, the Coronet, the Royal and Custom Royal, the Meadowbrook as well as the short-lived La Femme, a pink-coloured coupe targeted at the American woman.
The ‘60s brought Dodge’s first small cars, the Lancer and the downsized Dart. Models came and went, such as the Matador, the 330, the 440, the 880, the A100 van, the Polara and the Monaco, and the D series full-size pickups debuted in 1961. Muscle car classics through the ‘60s and ‘70s included the Coronet, Charger, Challenger, Swinger and Demon, while the R/T (road and track) designation was established and still used today. The Charger Daytona and Super Bee models also marked the brand’s history.
To keep up with the expanding subcompact segment in the 1970s, Dodge imported Mitsubishi subcompacts, rebadged as the Colt. The Aspen and Diplomat replaced the Dart, the Magnum coupe replaced the Charger and the St.Regis replaced the Monaco, while front-wheel drive models arrived from 1978 on, including the Omni hatchback, the three-door Omni 024 and Charger and the Rampage pseudo-pickup. The mighty Challenger was reduced to a Mitsubishi-sourced, subcompact coupe.
The Tradesman van replaced the A100 in 1971, while the Ram Van and Wagon succeeded in 1979. The Ramcharger SUV was also introduced in 1975. Limited-edition versions of the Dodge pickup included the Li’l Red Express, the Power Wagon, the Adventurer and the Midnite Express. The D-50 compact pickup arrived in 1979, provided by Mitsubishi.
In deep financial trouble, the Chrysler Corporation’s newly-developed K platform was the basis for a variety of models and subsequent platforms in the ‘80s, including the compact Aries, 400 and Shadow, the mid-size 600, Spirit and Dynasty, the Daytona coupe and the Caravan minivan. The Mirada coupe and Mitsubishi-sourced Conquest coupe also appeared. Under Lee Iacocca’s reign, the company survived.
Dodge’s performance heritage of the 1980s also includes the Omni GLH (Goes Like Hell), Shelby Charger and the Shelby CSX, all powered by turbocharged 2.2-litre engines.
The refreshed full-size pickup became the Ram in 1981, and the D-50 became the Ram 50 that same year. The Dakota was launched in 1987, creating an industry-first mid-size pickup, and the Raider compact sport-utility was added, compliments once again of partner Mitsubishi.
Whether you're renovating, getting into a new adventure sport or planning on numerous yard-related projects in the upcoming year, the used truck marketplace has you covered with affordable models that offer relatively decent fuel consumption and top-notch levels of payload and capability to get the job done.
Succumbing to the need for a minivan doesn't have to mean relinquishing your manhood and everything that makes you an interesting human being. Seriously. "Minivan" is almost as dirty a word as "station wagon," when it comes to family vehicles, but it doesn't have to be.
Dodge is going to great lengths to make a successful return to the North American compact car segment. Launched in 2012 as a 2013 model, the Dart comes back for 2014 with an exciting new proposition: a more powerful GT model with a slew of hi-tech gadgets.
Fast Company magazine presented its list of the 50 most innovative companies of 2014. Two car brands managed to crack the top 20 including Dodge (11th) and Tesla (20th).
The 2014 Dodge Avenger has a long list of features. In typical American sedan fashion, it also boasts a supple ride and plenty of power (with the optional V6, at least). Pricing is fairly cheap, and reliability has improved of late.
Five exciting new models from Chrysler Group will be on display at the 2014 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto later this week.