Dodge improves its poor man’s image with performance offerings

Article by Christian A., on December 29, 2014

Dodge has been known for offering minivans and has been considered as the poor man’s Chrysler despite having a proud performance heritage. Now, Dodge is trying to shed off that reputation by rebuilding itself as a muscle-car brand that appeals primarily to men in their 20s and 30s.

The brand’s Charger SRT Hellcat is one of the products that will try to bring back its lost glory with its 707hp of output that allows it to cover a quarter mile in just 11 seconds while reaching a top speed of 204 miles per hour and devours the quarter mile in about 11 seconds.

Turning Dodge back into its old self would be a challenge to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, since if fuel prices start to go up once more, these performance offerings from Dodge could be tough products to sell. FCA’s chief executive acknowledges these challenges, saying that there is a “lot of work to be done.”

He, however, remarked that there is a unique place in the American mind for the Dodge brand, which he called “the best-kept secret in the house” in an interview with Bloomberg.

Following Fiat’s taking control of Chrysler, Marchionne split Ram and Dodge, which left the Avenger, a rebadged Chrysler 200, and the Grand Caravan in the brand’s lineup.

This move turned the brand into a working-class offering – something that Marchionne is trying to erase by re-imagining the Charger and Challenger taking on the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang.

Dodge unveiled this year redesigned versions of the Charger and Challenger, but with more power and latest cockpit technology as well as a styling reminiscent of the original cars.

Dodge also gave the Durango SUV a performance upgrade, making it the most powerful among midsize SUVs. Leading Dodge’s attack is the Charger Hellcat halo car, which comes at a price of $64,000. [source: Bloomberg.com]

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