The-next-Dodge answers are coming soon

On August 15, 16, and 17, Dodge will be making global debuts. Stellpower.com will be up front and center on all three, which should answer some questions about the brand’s direction.

Dodge Charger BEV AWD Burnout

Dodge was created as Dodge Brothers in 1902, as detailed in this allpar story. They started out by making parts, selling to (among others) Ransom Olds, whose first automotive use of the assembly line brought him a 30% share of cars sold in America. Then the twice-bankrupted Henry Ford sought their help; the Dodges lent Ford cash, provided parts, and redesigned his car. John and Horace Dodge may have played more of a role in Ford’s success than Henry Ford himself.

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The brothers started making their own cars in 1914. Their 35-hp four-cylinder engine would not win many races, except against Fords; but they competed well in the upper-middle tier of the market, rapidly gaining both reputation and market share, sticking solely with four-cylinder engines.  Both brothers died in 1920, though, during the flu epidemic; the company was sold to Chrysler for a record sum in 1928. The name went from Dodge Brothers to “Dodge” in 1930, the same year the first eight-cylinder joined a Dodge or Dodge Brothers car.

Dodge’s first muscle cars were arguably the D-500 packages of the 1950s; through the 1960s and 1970s, Plymouth and Dodge shared fairly equally in muscle, with Dodge getting the unique Charger and Plymouth dominating with the Road Runner and Duster. Lee Iacocca put muscle cars, now defined as the hottest turbocharged four-cylinders (e.g. the Turbo III), into Dodge’s hands, along with the Viper; Plymouth was corralled into the “value” arena. With the launch of the new Magnum and Charger in the 2000s, Dodge’s reputation was more firmly set into the “muscle” category; the modern 392 Hemi and 700+ horsepower Hellcat series have kept Dodge cemented in that class ever since.

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vbondjr1

Just thought about something else that supports my performance crossover theory. When the Chrysler Airflow was first shown, Ralph Giles was shown carefully examining this new electric vehicle on the STLA Large platform. Let’s rewind the clocks back to about 2004-2005. The Chrysler 300C had just arrived on the scene designed by none other than THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND himself, Ralph Giles. As the designer of most and many of the SRT vehicles, including the Dodge Magnum, would it be too far fetched to say that another high performance Dodge vehicle will be spawned from something that started it’s life as a Chrysler luxury “performance” vehicle. Remember, Both the Chrysler SRT8, Magnum SRT8 and Jeep SRT8 all came before the return of the Charger in ’06 and then the Challenger a year or so later. In the EV Day presentation, one of the screens says “Freedom on top surface” meaning that the STLA large platform could accommodate a low riding performance crossover, not only under the Chrysler umbrella, but Dodge as well. Just as the Chrysler 300 spawned the Dodge Magnum wagon, this new Airflow could spawn the rebirth of a reborn Dodge Magnum. The Magnum name would be a fitting name as the Magnum was the vehicle that replaced the Dodge Charger in 1978. The thing is, this new “Magnum” might incorporate an evolutionary Charger design with alot of styling from the Durango in a more modern way both inside and outside along with having not only full ICE powertrains with the Hurricane S.O & H.O, but the 4Xe powertrain, a Hurricane H.O Hybrid powertrain and two electric muscle powertrains on top of that along with the Direct Connection & Jailbreak options. Like I said before, all speculation and “what if?” but it would make sense and follow the brand’s trend. IDK, just my thoughts.

masb1956

I give up,

vbondjr1

I’m honestly excited to see what Mopar has in store next week. For a little while, I was a bit upset about the discontinuation of the Hemi V8, but now, not so much. We already know that the two hurricane engines (S.O & H.O) are going to be in the lineup but I’m wondering what else is in store for the brand as far as powertrains go. Of course I’m speculating the “base” engine to be none other than the 2.0L “4XE” powertrain, as it is already in the one current offering of the STLA “Large” platform, the WL Jeep Grand Cherokee. With 375hp and 470lb-ft of torque, it offers itself as a serious contender to the likes of 4-cylinder American muscle cars such as the Ecoboost mustang, which has 330hp/350lb-ft of torque in it’s HPP trim. With that being at the base, and the 420hp/450lb-ft torque 3.0L Standard output Hurricane engine right above that along with the 510hp/500lb-ft torque 3.0L HO above that, it’s easy to see how the Dodge brand can still lead the pack and be compliant. As far as other electrification/Hybrid powertrains, there is always the possibility Dodge could do something similar to what Ford/GM and even possibly Acura did with a hybrid setup of their new turbocharged 3-liter. Just from pure speculation, that could lead to a hybrid powertrain that could eclipse 600hp, while still leaving room for an “all conquering muscle car” to have over 700hp and maybe one that will eclipse even the Tesla Plaid with a shocking sound. While I am excited about the upcoming vehicles and platforms, I read an article the other day that brought up a valid point. It was from another car site, I can’t remember which one, but the point that was brought out was a very good one. Ford has dragged the mustang’s name through the mud and turn it into this god-awful hideous, sacrilegious disrespectful crossover that looks like a Tesla & an Escape got together and had extremely hateful sex and the Mach-E was the (out of wedlock) offspring. Meanwhile, Chevy has made the Blazer this extremely amazing and sexy looking electric high performance crossover! (Kudos to the team at GM for a job well done so far on the Blazer SS). While the new blazer looks to take center stage as the “working man’s” electric muscle vehicle, the Camaro (again) is leaving us. While the Challenger and Charger are doing well, the truth of the matter is, coupes and sedans aren’t the highest things in demand anymore. While Dodge is all about high horsepower and fun, they’re also about being profitable and remaining in business. While they did take the Charger from being the most deliciously beautiful coupe ever made to being the sexiest sedan on the fact of the planet, the truth is, it’s only a matter of time before coupes and sedans really start to give way to these new smaller, but still fairly practical ultra high performance crossovers. I don’t see Dodge ruining the names of it’s legends in the way Ford did with the Mustang, (even though they did kind of do that to the Dart, not going to lie), what I do see is them taking an opportunity to let the big dogs (charger and challenger) go out with a bang and on top, while introducing (or reintroducing) some different names of their other legendary vehicles. With the SRT cars already having the grille styling of the Plymouth Roadrunners and GTX cars, could we possibly see the return of those nameplates as the new muscle vehicles? Would those names possibly be on a new performance crossover? conjuring up images of the old Coronet muscle wagons and possibly having Roadrunner, GTX, Daytona and Super Bee trim levels? Would that take the place of the Charger sedan while maybe a Dodge Rampage 2-door “Ute” take the place of the Challenger? Something that would have some of the Barracuda’s front end-styling with a four-and-a-half-foot bed behind the front seats giving it more practicality that the Challenger could have ever had, while being agile and powerful all at the same time? While some may scoff at this, it’s not much different than the late ’90’s and early ‘2000 era when the Durango R/T and the Dakota R/T ruled the roost of Dodge affordable performance, except for this time, the two vehicles would be truly dedicated performance vehicles that would be much better on road and on track vehicles with alot more power. Two vehicles like this, along with Direct Connection & Jailbreak options and upgrades would truly make the company profitable as it would give the company two amazing street vehicles that are not only fun, but have more practicality than their current vehicles have. This also leaves room for the FWD based Dodge Hornet to set up it’s niche as the return of the SRT-4 type vehicle and for the Durango to morph into a full size body-on-frame performance SUV with both on road and off road capabilities including a Durango Ramcharger trim level that basically takes the 500hp 3.0L HO powertrain and puts it into a TRX style off-road package, same way a Durango Rumble Bee would take the 500hp 3.0L HO package and put it into an ultra-high performance street trim and the R/T would be the 420hp performance street trim package. A lineup like this allows the Dodge brand to hit every niche and be relevant and more profitable than not only it’s direct competition of GM and Ford, but also across the board, while still being a brand that is stand out and unique along with compliant. With Dodge still moving forward this way, it leaves the door open for Ram to offer a new Dakota pickup utilizing the 2.0L 4XE powertrain along with the Hurricane powertrains as well as an upgraded Ram 1500, relying on the two Hurricane engines along with a Hurricane hybrid and full electric powertrains as well and eventually phasing out Diesels completely for electric powertrains capable of over 3,000lb-ft of torque and possibly somewhere around the 1,000-1,500hp mark for silent, clean, reliable operation. While it’s true Dodge is working on “an all conquering muscle car” it’s honestly Chrysler that it the best poised to go head to head with Tesla, but not only Tesla, Chrysler could seriously go toe-to-toe with the likes of Mercedes, Cadillac, Acura, BMW, Lexus, Genesis and Audi (in that order from best to decent) while crushing the lesser luxury brands like Buick and Lincoln (in that order from boring generic comfort but still quality to absolute worst!). Chrysler not only has the famous Chrysler 300, which could spawn the Telsa plaid destroying NASCAR HURST Edition, to more luxury trims like the return of the 300M special, the 300M Concorde and the 300M LHS, along with crossovers with names like New Yorker, & Newport, a full size electric SUV named the Aspen, a new and improved Chrysler Pacifica and the new Chrysler Airflow. And then there is the Jeep brand. While Jeep is doing nice things, the new small hybrid engines will be welcome additions to the powertrains for the FWD based crossovers, while these vehicles are cool and fully electric options should be available to them. Jeep needs to get back to truly being Jeep. Jeep needs to bring back models like a body on frame Cherokee Chief, a Jeep J10 Honcho pickup and a real Grand Wagoneer. Don’t get me wrong I love the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, but the old Grand Wagoneer, while still luxurious, was also tough and not just pretty. It didn’t look like “Oh, I’m a baller, look at me out in front of the club!” no, it was a luxurious off roader that had good for it’s time road manners. This new thing is way too pretty on the outside, it’s almost a Cadillac, that was never Jeep. The Grand Wagoneer should be more Ram Rebel/TRX with a somewhat more mature, but still rugged and tough exterior. The Cherokee should be a comfortable version of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, just on the extended frame of the Gladiator with a modern version of the old Cherokee Chief styling. The Renegade should come back as a tough off road trim on not only the Wrangler but also on the Cherokee Chief along with the Rubicon X and the Tomahawk. With the Return of the inline-6, there should be a plethora of upgrades for the new powertrain in the jeep platforms. The Patriot and Compass should stay as the daily driver city commuter FWD fiat-based vehicles so Jeep can contend it all markets as well.

masb1955

Fantastic article. The only disagreement that I have is your order of luxury brands. In my opinion I believe it should be as follows:
Lexus, Audi, Genesis, Acura, Cadillac, B.M.W. and Mercedes. The last two should NOT even be on the list. Total garbage.But anyway, you’re hired!

vbondjr1

thank you.

masb1955

No problem. Have a great weekend!

masb1955

Great article, David!