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The Dodge brothers, John and Horace, were involved in manufacturing bicycles before deciding to branch out into the highly competitive automobile industry.
John and Horace Dodge opened up shop making bicycles in Detroit Michigan at the turn of the century. In 1914, John and Horace decided to upgrade their two wheeled operations to four and created the Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicle Company. Competing at the time with the extremely popular Model T by Ford, Dodge was able to stand out on its own with improvements to their automobiles such as an electrical start, as opposed to the cumbersome crank.
By 1917 the brothers expanded into producing trucks, whose performance was recognized and used by the US army during WWI. The unexpected death of both brothers in 1920 marked the end of a short era, and the Dodge Motor Company was sold for 146 million dollars by the family. A few years later it became acquired by the Chrysler Corporation.
The Chrysler Corporation decided to use the Dodge name for its higher end division and cut the lineup down to two with only thirteen distinct models. By 1930 they had replaced the 6 cylinder engines with an 8, elongated the bodies and made them more streamlined. In 1935 they created the wind stream look which caused a sudden increase in overall sales.
They continued to make strides with their 1940’s Luxury Liner series, which unfortunately was cut short by America’s entrance into the second world war. Not to be discouraged, the Dodge brand built a strong reputation during this time as a producer of rugged vehicles for military use. After the war ended they were once again able to enter the consumer market in 1946.
Dodge struggled for years with its design until 1955 and the introduction of the forward look styling. The Dart was the first car produced by the automotive company in years that was embraced by the public. They followed that up with the compact Lancer in 1961. Soon after, Dodge became a leader in NASCAR design with the Charger, a race car whose aerodynamic features made a permanent stamp on NASCAR racing.
The Dodge Motor Company continued to make strides in the muscle car market with models like the Challenger, Coronet R/T and the Super Bee.
Financial troubles plagued Dodge during the 1970’s due to the fuel embargos and Dodge’s continued use of larger sized engines. Finally, in 1979, they asked for and received monetary assistance from the federal government to avoid having to file for bankruptcy. With those funds in hand, Dodge went on to create their extremely popular Aries. It was during this time that they also gave birth to an entire new automobile class, the minivan.
The Dodge Caravan is looked at as the vehicle that brought them back from the dead and enabled Dodge to launch other popular vehicles such as the Daytona and Spirit. The ‘90’s were good to Dodge with an aggressive new campaign that featured the Viper, Intrepid and the highly popular Dodge Ram pickup. Their compact Neon was also a huge hit with consumers and helped the once floundering Dodge Motor Company sail into the new millennium.
Despite a tumultuous past, Dodge has managed to overcome all odds and today is able to deliver an impressive line-up of vehicles for every class.
Avenger – The Dodge Avenger has the best in class horse power at 283 and won the 2013 USAA award for the best value in a mid-sized sedan. With prices starting in the mid $25,000 range, this is the most affordable vehicle in its class.
Challenger – Even today, the Challenger sports a unique muscle car design that captures the imagination of car lovers all around the world. Don’t let the size fool you though, this beauty has earned best in class accolades for its cargo capability.
Charger – Another multi award winning Dodge creation, this value priced sedan has the best in class V-6 in fuel economy, getting you 31 MPG on the open road with up to 300 horse power.
Dart – Kelley Blue Book rated this vehicle the best new car of 2012 under $18,000 and the Dart just keeps getting better. Technologically advanced in all aspects, the Dart comes complete with customized digital display with touchscreen.
Durango – Powerful enough to have full towing capability, the Dodge Durango is also roomy enough to seat 8 and has 50 different seating configurations to choose from.
Journey – The Journey proves that Dodge can manage to pack a lot of punch for under $20,000. The midsized crossover has standard seating for 5, or feel free and upgrade to a 7 seater. Either way, there is still plenty of room for all of your gear.
Grand Caravan – The Grand Caravan is the mother of all minivans on the market today. One look inside will tell you why. Ample plush interior that is family friendly with 3 rows of seating, or cargo friendly when those last 2 rows disappear into the floor with ease.
It took a century, but Dodge has become one of the most critically acclaimed value priced brands in the industry today. With constant nods for their innovative designs and improved technologies, the Dodge Motor Company has what it takes to last another 100 years.