New Dodge Cars
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.
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.