Dodge is a United States-based brand of automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles, manufactured by Chrysler Group LLC, a multinational manufacturer in a global strategic alliance with Fiat, in more than 60 different countries and territories worldwide.
Founded as the Dodge Brothers Company in 1900 to supply parts and assemblies for Detroit's growing auto industry, Dodge began making its own complete vehicles in 1915. The brand was sold to Chrysler Corporation in 1928, passed through the short-lived DaimlerChrysler merger of 1998–2007 as part of the Chrysler Group, was a part of Chrysler LLC owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity investment firm, and is now a part of the Chrysler Group LLC, which has an alliance with Fiat. Fiat has plans to evolve many Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep existing platforms and products into Fiat-Chrysler co-developed vehicles.
Founding and early years
Dodge Brothers delivery trucks, Salt Lake City, 1920
After the founding of the Dodge Brothers Company by Horace and John Dodge in 1900, the Detroit-based company quickly found work producing precision engine and chassis components for the city’s burgeoning number of automobile firms. Chief among these customers were the established Olds Motor Vehicle Company and the then-new Ford Motor Company. Dodge Brothers enjoyed much success in this field, but the brothers' growing wish to build complete vehicles was exemplified by John Dodge's 1913 exclamation that he was "tired of being carried around in Henry Ford's vest pocket."
By 1914, Horace had found a solution by creating the new four-cylinder Dodge Model 30. Marketed as a slightly more upscale competitor to the ubiquitous Ford Model T, it pioneered or made standard many features later taken for granted: all-steel body construction (the vast majority of cars worldwide still used wood-framing under steel panels, though Stoneleigh and BSA used steel bodies as early as 1911); 12-volt electrical system (6-volt systems would remain the norm until the 1950s); 35 horsepower (versus the Model T's 20), and sliding-gear transmission (the best-selling Model T would retain an antiquated planetary design until its demise in 1927). As a result of this, and the brothers' well-earned reputation for quality through the parts they made for other successful vehicles, Dodge Brothers cars were ranked at second place for U.S. sales as early as 1916. That same year, Henry Ford decided to stop paying stock dividends to finance the construction of his new River Rouge complex. This led the Dodges to file suit to protect their annual stock earnings of approximately one million dollars, in turn, leading Ford to buy out his shareholders; the Dodges were paid some US$25 million.
Also in 1916, Dodge Brothers vehicles won acclaim for durability while in service with the U.S. Army's Pancho Villa Expedition into Mexico. One notable instance was in May when the 6th Infantry received a reported sighting of Julio Cardenas, one of Villa's most trusted subordinates. Lt. George S. Patton led ten soldiers and two civilian guides in three Dodge Model 30 touring cars to conduct a raid at a ranch house in San Miguelito, Sonora. During the ensuing firefight the party killed three men, of whom one was identified as Cardenas. Patton's men tied the bodies to the hoods of the Dodges, returning to headquarters in Dublan and an excited reception from US newspapermen.
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:27:00 EST
Dodge and Mopar have never strayed far from success in drag racing, be it on run-what-you-brung nights at the local strip or at the highest levels of the sport. Hoping to both add to that heritage and capitalize on some of the media spotlight that's shown so brightly on the brand of late, Dodge has given us our first look at the 2015 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak test car.
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:32:00 EST
Though this first iteration doesn't make use of the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine, it seems to be a pretty formidable racing package. Starting with a stock '15 Challenger, Mopar adds a full roll cage built to National Hot Rod Association specs. Rubber front and back is drag racing-ready as well, with 28x4.5-inch tires in the front, and fat 30x9-inch tires out back - all from Hoosier.
Powering the beast is a massive 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Hemi Race V8, with output levels that are still unspecified. A Chrysler 727 automatic transmission connects up to a racing style shift lever, with integral line lock.
This past June I spent an excellent day hanging out with Joey Ruiter, driving and discussing his Reboot Buggy project. Before heading home, I let him know that he was more than welcome to keep me abreast of whichever new automotive project he'd get into. You can never have too many car designers and one-off fabricators in your Rolodex, right?
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 15:09:00 EST
Ruiter recently made good with the follow-up, emailing me with details on this Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed Concept that pushes a lot of hot buttons for the muscle car and off-roading enthusiasts.
This all-terrain Mopar is a lot more than a Challenger body dropped on a truck chassis, too. A materialized version of the A/T would included a completely new, long-travel suspension, skid plates, body armor and rock sliders, and obviously flared fenders to help accommodate a hellacious set of off-road-ready tires. The dramatically revised underpinnings would be topped with a slick graphics package and a killer lower light bar, all making the A/T look quite cohesive in its own, radical way. And the result would be a car no longer limited to mere road-driving.
Chrysler owners are hopping mad after experiencing a series of electrical gremlins in some of the company's vehicles. Issues range from mere annoyances - windows rolling down and radios turning off of their own accord - to serious safety issues, with headlights that randomly shut off at night and cars that stall and refuse to start.
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST
The issues are being blamed on the total integrated power module, which can cost up to $1,000 for customers to replace. This, of course, has led to a hefty batch of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with 240 owners expressing their displeasure so far. Another site, CarComplaints.com, has registered over 300 complaints relating to the 2010 to 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, alone, according to The New York Times.
Chrysler has acknowledged that it's investigating the complaints and is analyzing the faulty TIPMs, but that isn't quite enough for customers of the affected vehicles. The newspaper has snagged a few of the more harrowing tales with the electrically challenged Chrysler products, culled from the NHTSA complaints.
No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That's the lowest figure since 1967. That's also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. "The drop in thefts is good news for all of us," says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year."
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:30:00 EST
Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year's theft study. Toyota and Dodge can't really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year's list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups.
The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were:
The Viper wouldn't be the Viper if it wasn't the most powerful model under the Chrysler umbrella. But with the arrival of the Hellcat engine in the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper has fallen behind in the bragging rights department: where the new supercharged V8 produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the naturally aspirated V10 offers "only" 640 hp and 600 lb-ft - gargantuan output figures by almost any other standard, but crucially behind on the SRT power scale. Conner Avenue is going to have to do something about that.
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:58:00 EST
Although the Hellcat's engine reportedly won't fit under the Viper's hood, SRT is now rumored to have another trick up its sleeve: supercharge the existing V10. According to the Pentastar performance enthusiasts at allpar.com, Chrysler has already taken delivery of the first such prototype engines so that it can begin the process of fitting it into an upgraded Viper.
The spooled ten-pot is tipped to produce around 800 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. More than that and the Viper's drivetrain, chassis and bodywork would have to be substantially reworked. Though beefier transmissions are available, fitting them would reportedly set off a domino-game of changes required to handle the added torque. Which may be something Chrysler would be prepared to do for the next-generation model, but in the meantime, 800 hp could prove enough to put the Viper back atop the Mopar performance ladder where it belongs, and give it an edge against the new Corvette Z06 to rekindle sales.
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:01:00 EST
We were definitely rock stars at the 20th edition of the Dream Cruise.
The yell came from somewhere in the crowd: "Hey Hellcat, push it!" We obliged with a jab of the throttle, and the 707 horses of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat roared to life. It went on like this. All weekend. It's one thing to attend the Woodward Dream Cruise, it's quite another to star in it.
If you're an enthusiast, and you don't know that Dodge spawned another Hellcat this week, you really must have been living in cave. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is probably the biggest news for enthusiasts since the reveal of, well the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:44:00 EST
But, there are some things you might not know or might have missed about the new Charger and Challenger Hellcats. For starters, reports that the Hellcat production would be limited to a low volume are not true.
"We have not capped the Hellcat on either the Challenger or the Charger," Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said.
NASCAR's Nationwide Series may have switched (in appearance anyway) to muscle cars, but American racing fans know that if they want to see real muscle cars on the street circuits, the only place to look is Trans Am. The all-American racing series is packed with Mustangs, Camaros and even Corvettes. The one thing it's been missing is the Dodge Challenger, but now SRT Motorsports has announced it's bringing its muscle car back where it belongs.
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:01:00 EST
Rather than waiting until next year, the Miller Racing team is switching mid-season to the new Dodge Challenger SRT Trans Am racer you see here, just in time for this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio. And not just that - it's lined up a compelling pair of drivers to pilot it, as well.
The No. 11 car will be driven by Trans Am legend Tommy Kendall, a four-time series champion who's been off the grid since 2004. Backing him up in the No. 1 Challenger will be none other than Cameron Lawrence, the driver who has won five out of six races in the Chevy Camaro so far this season, losing out only once to American racing scion Adam Andretti.
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:33:00 EST
"This is a car that most brands would never bring to market." - Tim Kuniskis
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis had reason to be confident, perhaps even a bit cocky at the reveal of his brand's newest halo car, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. As he said simply, it's the "quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world."
Earlier today, Dodge pulled the wraps off its 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat - a 707-horsepower sedan capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and reaching a top speed of 204 mph. Naturally, the car debuted in a bright shade of pull-me-over red, so it was fitting, then, that Dodge also brought its newly updated 2015 Charger Pursuit to keep everything under control.
No, cops won't be able to spec their Charger cruisers with the 707-hp Hellcat engine (oh man, imagine the chase scenes...), but law enforcement officials will be able to choose from either a 3.6-liter V6 or 5.7-liter Hemi V8, producing 292 hp and 370 hp, respectively. V8 models can be ordered with all-wheel drive, and Dodge estimates that with either engine, the Charger Pursuit can achieve up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway (thanks to the V8's four-cylinder mode).
Other updates for 2015 include improved braking power, a seven-inch display in the instrument cluster, a five-inch display in the center stack, and a new vehicle systems interface that could make it easier for police squads to install computer and radio equipment.