Dodge Brand Has A Lot Of Potential Value, But Can It Get There?

Could Dodge Become More Of A Global Brand, Without Eliminating Its Customer Base In North America?

In the ever-evolving automotive industry landscape, few brands carry the weight of heritage and expectation like Dodge. Yet, recent years have seen the once-mighty brand face challenges that have led to declining sales and a sense of uncertainty among enthusiasts and industry observers alike. However, amidst the turmoil, there lies a glimmer of hope and potential for Dodge to reclaim its position as a formidable force in the global market.

The decline in Dodge’s sales trajectory can be traced back to pivotal decisions, such as discontinuing popular models like the Dodge Journey and Grand Caravan. The elimination of these mainstream products, which constituted a significant portion of Dodge’s sales in 2020, left a void that has yet to be adequately filled. Compounding the issue, the decision to discontinue the iconic Challenger in favor of a Charger two-door variant and the departure of the beloved HEMI® V8 engine stirred discontent among loyalists.

The Charger Daytona and Global Market Potential – 

2024 Dodge Charger Daytona Scat Pack ‘First Edition’ #2 in Triple Nickel. (Dodge).

However, amidst the backlash, there are signs of a potential resurgence for Dodge. The forthcoming launch of the 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona two-door presents an opportunity to tap into a broader global market with its all-electric muscle car proposition. As emissions regulations tighten in Europe, an electrified Charger could pave the way for Dodge to expand its appeal beyond traditional markets. By sponsoring events like the WorldSBK Championship in Europe, Dodge has already begun to lay the groundwork for increased visibility and relevance in international markets.

The New HURRICANE I6 Engines: A Promising Powertrain –

2025 Dodge Charger SIX PACK H/O Coupe. (Dodge).

The twin-turbocharged HURRICANE I6 engine family marks a departure from the iconic HEMI rumble but offers up to 550 horsepower, reviving Dodge’s competitive edge against rivals like the Ford Mustang Dark Horse. Yet, Dodge must ensure flexibility in its lineup. Offering both standard-output (S/O) and high-output (H/O) models in both two-door and four-door configurations of the SIX PACK lineup, along with rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) options, allows customers to tailor their vehicles to their preferences and budgets. This adaptability has been a hallmark of the outgoing Charger and Challenger lineup’s success and will be crucial as Dodge charts its course into the future.

Dodge’s future outlook gains traction with intriguing hints from a recent Ram RHO advertisement and insights from Mickey Bly, Stellantis Senior Vice President and Head of Global Propulsion Systems. The deliberate omission of a horsepower figure in the RHO ad sparks speculation about a new variant of the HURRICANE engine powering a future TRX model. Bly’s comments on the untapped power potential of the HURRICANE engine add weight to the possibility of expanded performance offerings from Dodge, potentially rivaling its legendary HELLCAT-powered lineup. These clues suggest that Dodge’s evolution may allow for high-performance options with both electrified and internal combustion engines, catering to all Dodge enthusiasts worldwide.

Addressing the Hornet’s Struggles – 

2024 Dodge Hornet R/T Plus PHEV Blacktop eAWD in Hot Tamale. (Dodge).

Looking ahead, Dodge faces pivotal decisions regarding its product lineup. The Hornet, positioned as the smallest offering in Dodge’s portfolio, has struggled to resonate with consumers due to pricing discrepancies and a perceived misalignment with the brand’s identity. However, unlike its predecessors, the Hornet struggles to assert its identity in the compact segment and lacks the value proposition synonymous with Dodge.

Despite boasting an impressive 2.0-liter Hurricane4 I4 engine delivering 268 horsepower, the Hornet falls short of capturing the commanding presence and spirited performance that define Dodge’s heritage due to its cost. With a starting MSRP of $32,995 (including destination), the 2024 Dodge Hornet GT AWD’s pricing disparity, compared to the more affordable current 2024 Jeep® Compass Sport 4×4 starting at $27,495 (including destination), undermines its appeal to budget-conscious consumers seeking both performance and affordability.

Strategic adjustments are imperative to reinvigorate and align Hornet with Dodge’s performance legacy. Dodge must realign the Hornet’s pricing to enhance its competitiveness in the market while exploring opportunities to streamline production and reduce costs. Dodge can capitalize on economies of scale and enhance efficiency by relocating production to North America alongside the next-gen Compass at Brampton, Ontario.

The Future of the Durango and Expanding the Lineup –

2024 Dodge Durango SRT HELLCAT in Triple Nickel. (Dodge).

The Dodge Durango, cherished for its performance prowess and ample interior space, is entering a new chapter of evolution. In 2025, to align with more efficient SUVs and address growing environmental regulations, Durango will bid farewell to its iconic HEMI V8 engine.

Despite the impending discontinuation of the Durango’s HEMI V8 variant, Dodge remains committed to innovation and adaptation. The forthcoming 2026 Durango, slated to offer both ICE and BEV powertrains, underscores Dodge’s commitment to embracing emerging trends while staying true to its heritage. With production slated to continue in Detroit, Dodge has an opportunity to leverage Durango’s global appeal to expand its presence on the international stage.

More Product, Maybe Resurrecting A Compact Sedan – 

2014 Dodge Dart GT with the Scat Pack Stage 3 Kit. (Dodge).

Dodge’s lineup lacks a crucial component: a compact sedan. This absence represents a missed opportunity for the brand to cater to budget-conscious consumers who prioritize affordability and reliability. To fill this gap, Dodge must develop a compact sedan that embodies its core values of performance and attitude while prioritizing affordability and reliability over technology-driven features.

Dodge’s previous attempt in the compact sedan segment, the Dart, fell short of expectations due to inconsistent build quality and a failure to resonate with consumers seeking dependable transportation. Learning from this, Dodge needs to focus on delivering a well-built, no-frills vehicle that meets the needs of budget-conscious buyers. Dodge can establish itself as a competitive player in the compact sedan market by emphasizing affordability and reliability.

For context, the Dart’s sales numbers, fluctuating between 83,000 and 88,000 units in its first full three years, are very similar to the Charger’s sales figures over the past few years. Despite this disparity, Dodge can leverage its expertise in delivering high-performance vehicles to redefine the compact sedan segment. By offering an affordable yet engaging driving experience akin to its Charger counterpart, Dodge has the potential to capture the imaginations of a new generation of enthusiasts.

Learning from past missteps, Dodge must prioritize affordability and reliability in its compact sedan offering. By delivering a well-built vehicle focused on performance, Dodge can carve out a niche in a segment where practicality and excitement intersect. This approach expands Dodge’s reach and reaffirms its commitment to offering accessible performance to a broader audience.

What Management Needs To Do –

As Stellantis and Dodge’s new CEO, Matt McAlear, chart a course for the brand’s future, it’s imperative to embrace innovation while staying true to Dodge’s core values. This means seizing opportunities in emerging markets, refining existing offerings, and introducing new models that resonate with today’s consumers. Dodge must prioritize affordability, reliability, and performance, ensuring that every vehicle reflects the brand’s legacy of power and attitude.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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Refreshing article, thanks. Few disagreements here, you got it right.
1- Spin off a sedan and a coupe hatchback off the Hornet utilizing the current power trains with a top model with a more powerful GLH engine.
2- Reprice the Hornet Base, GT. R/T and GLH.
3- Go Sporty with Durango with two and three row versions.Hurricane power.
4- Revive the Viper off the Maserati MC -30
Problem solved.

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Do NOT revive Viper. It’s dead, leave it be.

A Viper is, was, and always will be V10, RWD, 6 speed manual. Anything else is NOT a Viper. Since none of those exist then there cannot be a new Viper.

I’d rather it lay permanently dormant than ruined

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Dodge is already an international brand to a limited extent. There are a small number of outlets in the Middle East and Latin America. I'm considering Mexico as separate from the rest of Latin America for this conversation, since there are numerous Dodge dealers in Mexico. The Dodge lineup in Mexico is also more rounded out offering the A-segment Attitude and the Dodge Journey. The Attitude is a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage. I don't know what the fate of that model will be in Mexico, but the Mirage in the US is on its final lap. The Dodge Journey is built by GAC in China. It is a safe bet we won't see that model sold north of the Rio Grande. The TOFAS built Dodge Neon was dropped in 2021. I think it might still be sold elsewhere.

Here are my solutions for reviving the Dodge brand.

1. Bring back the Dodge Caliber. I'm looking at this from a size and proportion concept. It doesn't't have to use the styling of the old Caliber and certainly none of the old engineering. I would keep it as a tall hatch, however. Finding a place to build it will be a problem because the old Caliber's dimensions would fit the STLA "Smart" platform. The latest Citroen C-3 Aircross is slightly longer than the Jeep Patriot and uses the Smart platform. Find a place to build them together and sell them here. I would also take advantage of the Smart platform's single electric motor, front drive design for an affordable EV offering. I would also offer the Caliber with IC engines using the new mild hybrid technology, like the other Stellantis offerings of this size.
I don't know if the 2 liter GME four cylinder will fit, but a SRT4 version would be nice.

2. Bring back the Dodge Journey. The next Jeep Compass is to built on the STLA-medium platform. It will probably be larger than the current Compass. I say keep the Compass as a two row vehicle, but build a Dodge Journey on the same line as slightly longer three row offering on the same platform. We were cheated out of the SUSW and CUSW three row products sold elsewhere.

3. Build the Dodge Circuit. There are the resources to build such a vehicle within the global framework of Stellantis. Dodge doesn't need to use a Lotus glider for an EV sports car.

4. Looking to the past doesn't have to be nostalgic. If Dodge is to continue with the Hornet, here is an example of where they need to go for inspiration.

5. Less is more when it comes to batteries. The fast charging, long range goals for EVs are self defeating because they run counter to affordability and efficiency. The Ram ProMaster EV doesn't have a huge battery pack because of its urban mission. How about offering an EV taxi package on a Dodge Charger 4 door with a smaller, lighter battery pack for urban duty. Stellantis could offer an exclusive charging network for Taxi and Uber/Lyft drivers using their brands.

Getting back to Mexico, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Dodge lineup in that market now that Leapmotor is part of the Stellantis universe.

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Within a matter of hours from my last post on this thread, Carlos Tavares announced a $25,000 EV Jeep model for the US. He hinted it would be based on the Citroen E-C3 pattern, with cost savings through simplicity, larger but fewer stampings, and fewer trim variations.

So, why not a Dodge Version? The same thing could be built along the lines of the old Dodge Cailber. Offer both an EV and hybrid variations, just like Citroen does with the newest C-3.

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Within a matter of hours from my last post on this thread, Carlos Tavares announced a $25,000 EV Jeep model for the US. He hinted it would be based on the Citroen E-C3 pattern, with cost savings through simplicity, larger but fewer stampings, and fewer trim variations.

So, why not a Dodge Version? The same thing could be built along the lines of the old Dodge Cailber. Offer both an EV and hybrid variations, just like Citroen does with the newest C-3.

Once again it is Jeep, Jeep, Jeep, so sick of it.

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