The Dodge Avenger is going away. Conventional wisdom says the Durango and Journey should be branded as Rams. The Grand Caravan will likely yield to the Chrysler Town & Country. The Challenger and Charger should last a little longer, at least as niche vehicles.
That leaves the Dart, a fine little car that still falls somewhat short when compared to the competition.
This all begs the question:
Why is Dodge still in existence, and how long can it last?
This is nothing personal, of course. I like Dodge and wouldn’t want to see the brand go the way of Pontiac. I’m just looking at this from a common-sense point of view. Four years ago Ram trucks split off and became their own brand, which left a hodgepodge of mediocre vehicles to carry the Dodge name. Even the legendary Viper split and is sold under the SRT brand.
There’s nothing particularly bad about any of the existing Dodge vehicles. Well, the Avenger, maybe, but it’s going to be gone by the end of the year, so we don’t really need to talk about that one. Dodge quality has come a long way, but when a brand is based on the retro muscle-car niche, one has to wonder about its longterm feasibility.
With FIAT now in full possession of Chrysler, we can expect to see more changes in the Chrysler-owned Dodge brand. One of two things will happen in the future: Either Dodge will become a sporty brand selling what amounts to rebadged FIAT vehicles, or the brand will succumb to the pressures of irrelevance and slowly fade into obscurity.
It’s my hope that Chrysler keeps Dodge and injects it with a fresh lineup of efficient and fun sporty cars. I hope the demise of the Avenger and Grand Caravan are precursors to the additions of something great.
Do you have your eye on a new Dodge vehicle?