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Automated System
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 News Analysis Pundits are proclaiming the death of Dodge. That might be true — or Dodge might actually be changing its products to match its strategy and image, in a first for the brand (and maybe for the company). Chrysler has had issues with branding from the start. After the conversion to from Maxwell Motors to Chrysler Corporation, the old Maxwell became a Chrysler, though it was barely related; then the refreshed Maxwell was pushed off into a new brand, Plymouth. We won’t even get into later gaffes, such as Dodge Coronet starting out at the top and dropping to entry-level just three years. From the 1930s to the 1960s, Chrysler had similar cars differentiated by size, power, and trim. Then Chrysler got a Dodge body, Dodge got a Chrysler body and a Plymouth body, and Plymouth got a Dodge body; and there was no real attempt to differentiate by muscle, theme, or..

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Resident Photoshop Nerd
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That's kind of what I thought was going on. Re-structuring, not destruction.
 

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Are people really still harping on about a supposed death of Dodge?
 

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2003 pt cruiser, 1969 D200, 1966 Coronet 500, 1990 LeBaron Coupe
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A car company is only as good as it's imagination and proposed income.

I can still imagine a fiat x1/9 \ fiat 850 spider coming to dodge as a razor. FWD motor & trans in the back of the car. It could offer the .9L twin air manual & 1.4L manual & automatic 1.4L turbo manual R/T & 2.0L with automatic.
Would the Alfa Romeo 4C platform work?
Fiat 127 as a dodge Omni?
 

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Good write up and I tend to agree I think Dodge will now be a more focused brand.
 

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I have been selling CDJR and P for 16 years now and have lived through all of the good and the bad. While owned by Cerberus, there was mentioned a re-structuring plan named Genesis. The idea was to differentiate each of the brands in to what they were known for. Such as:

Dodge = Performance/Muscle
Chrysler = Luxury Sedans
Jeep = SUVs
Ram = Trucks
SRT = High End Performance

The intent was to make each brand show what it has always been know for. Such as Chrysler = Big Grill/Big Sedan. A good example of this is to replace the Durango with the Grand Wagoneer making all the SUVs into Jeeps. I don't see the end of Dodge, just a re-imaging back to what it was, muscle and muscle only. I would love to see Dodge used as GM used Oldsmobile originally, the experimental/new technology line of Chrysler.
 

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I enjoyed the editorial. My impression after the last brand reorganization was that Dodge would build athletic and sporty vehicles while muscle was the territory for Ram and SRT. I agree that the direction of SRT needs to reconsidered if they want to create Dodge into a muscle focused brand and a big help for that image would be to give it the Viper and not keep it exclusive to SRT.

Does Chrysler really need a mass-market brand? That is probably highly debateable as the visions for the brands put forward by Sergio seemed to better focus the brands on higher margin niches than appealing to the mass-market with any one brand. It really feels like Chrysler develops a strategy but doesn't not have the patience to stick with the branding plan.
 

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Nice write up!

Funny, i was jsut thinking the other day about how that Chrysler's are now starting have more focus as Mid-High end Luxury cars(excpet low end 200's) it's too bad that Plymouth was dropped some years ago(I know, dont relive the past) but I could really see Chrysler Co benifiting from Plymouth about now. Just my thoughts.
 

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The past is irrelevant.

Marchionne and Fiat do not care about the past. They are looking to the future.
 
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Side note here it but back's up Dr Z's treatise: Chrysler corporate was starving 'Plymouth' for product as far back as 1962 when the Dodge 880 came out mid model year due to the Dodge dealers screaming for a 'true' full sized car............never mind it was essentially a 1962 Chrysler Newport with a 1961 Dodge Polara front clip.
 

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I was actually thinking more like so:

Chrysler - Crossovers & Vans (exception being the 200 & 300; unless they do a 300-touring aka magnum)
Dodge - Sporty Sedans and Coupes
Jeep - SUV's (on & off-road)
Ram - Trucks & Commercial

Fiat/Alfa are self explanitory. lol
 

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Erik Latranyi said:
The past is irrelevant.

Marchionne and Fiat do not care about the past. They are looking to the future.
Last month Dodge sold 56k vehicles while it was 44k for Jeep, 32k for RAM and 29k for Chrysler. Why again would they discontinue their best selling brand?

One thing I don't get though is why if they truly want to take Chrysler more upscale they put the next minivan under its umbrella. Sure, Minivan doesn't go too well with Dodge if it is their "sporty" brand. But in my opinion it also doesn't go too well with Chrysler if they want to move it upscale. I guess we can always use another brand; Plymouth Voyager anyone?
 

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Dodge does carry with it a sort of manly / sport image (looking at demographic seems to confirm it). I am all for focusing brands. Although I also that mass market brands such as the ones discussed must stretch beyond that main function. Especially given the absence of Plymouth. Ironically enough, it's a concern applied far too liberally to Jeep, and misused. Each brand should maintain a balance. A string of cars that most specifically fit and project the brand's image. Then a string of more mainstream everyday vehicles that borrow and use some of the brand's image. Jeep of course has too little of the former, and too much of the latter.
Since there is no proper dumping grounds for the affordable minivan, IMO - I think it should remain with Dodge. The base model may fail to capture the essence, but better equipped models would carry that slightly more "masculine" edge with in the brand. Basically, I like the current formula. Even if the R/T isn't a success, I'd want to see that continue (only offer an R/T with a tweaked powertrain that gives a particularly unique experience.

In either case, an RWD D sedan to complement the "bread and butter" sedans, and the challenger would do great to carry forward the image. Keep the people haulers, but give them the edge, more importantly - offer a real sport edition of every vehicle (once again, they are CLOSE here with the black top editions of each one). Not necessarily an SRT version of each vehicle, but something with a powertrain that has real oomph, all of this would help to iron out the wrinkles in the brand's image.

But as always, they should be careful. Loyalists aren't as concerned about image, they just want their car. If you make the right moves, you can keep them around, while cultivating your new-ish image.
 

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Chrysler products haven't had focus or discipline since maybe never but have still managed to start trends and sway at least the US industry, affordable performance. FWD was Luxury here and was made affordable, bought back convertibles again initially in reach of everyone. The original 300 was about as luxurious as you could get while at the zenith of American performance and chasing international performance. All fads never really followed through, Its been rough being a Chrysler fan but waiting for and getting spurts of brilliance has been a kick, .

All I want back is my large FWD semi performance car, (Yes it snows in the northern part of the country). I hope you all get your dreams. I think it can be done. There are a lot of great parts in the Fiat/Chrysler bin and all it takes is some imagination to utilize it all properly. Only limiting factor is the oceans between us.

Thanks for the spark Dave!
 

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bumonbox said:
Dodge does carry with it a sort of manly / sport image (looking at demographic seems to confirm it). I am all for focusing brands. Although I also that mass market brands such as the ones discussed must stretch beyond that main function. Especially given the absence of Plymouth. Ironically enough, it's a concern applied far too liberally to Jeep, and misused. Each brand should maintain a balance. A string of cars that most specifically fit and project the brand's image. Then a string of more mainstream everyday vehicles that borrow and use some of the brand's image. Jeep of course has too little of the former, and too much of the latter.
Since there is no proper dumping grounds for the affordable minivan, IMO - I think it should remain with Dodge. The base model may fail to capture the essence, but better equipped models would carry that slightly more "masculine" edge with in the brand. Basically, I like the current formula. Even if the R/T isn't a success, I'd want to see that continue (only offer an R/T with a tweaked powertrain that gives a particularly unique experience.

In either case, an RWD D sedan to complement the "bread and butter" sedans, and the challenger would do great to carry forward the image. Keep the people haulers, but give them the edge, more importantly - offer a real sport edition of every vehicle (once again, they are CLOSE here with the black top editions of each one). Not necessarily an SRT version of each vehicle, but something with a powertrain that has real oomph, all of this would help to iron out the wrinkles in the brand's image.

But as always, they should be careful. Loyalists aren't as concerned about image, they just want their car. If you make the right moves, you can keep them around, while cultivating your new-ish image.
Ford, GM and Toyota to a (slightly) lesser degree lump their bread and butter vehicles in with their sporty models, etc. under the Ford, Chevrolet or Toyota brands; why not Dodge doing that same thing, rhetorically speaking? The same type of brand relationship can be said about Chrysler/Lincoln/Cadillac/Lexus as well. Yes; I know that GM still has Buick but that was due to its immense popularity in China and 'GMC' is quite profitable so it too got a reprieve.
 

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Chrysler-Lancia = affordable luxury*
Dodge = affordable performance*
Jeep = orv / suv*
Ram = trucks / vans / comercial*
SRT = uncompromising performance^
Fiat = small cars*
Alfa Romeo = high performance / luxury^
Maserati = exotic sedans^
Ferarri = exotic coupes^

* = volume brands
^ = limited edition brands
 

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What is the perception of dodge?
In my book its:
Performance & Trucks & Affordable & Ruggedness.
Basically good cars and trucks that are on the "angry" side earning reputation from each other.

Is it possibel to maintain such perception?
Chevy can....
It all comes togheter whith rugged trucks, a durango percived as a suv ram
the cheaper darts and the halo cars like srt challys and on top the "cheap" "ram based" viper.
Then throw in the in the "middle" cars and you have...dodge.
Its this rather unholy mix that creates dodge and i belive that it needs to be that way.
-the only leg that can support dodge alone is the trucks..
-dodge has to play the plymouth role also..Chrysler cant do that neither can fiat.
 

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It's nice for everyone to post their wish list, but what enthusiasts want is not necessarily what will happen. Other than Ralph, there are no enthusiasts (especially for Dodge) in the executive boardroom.
 
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