Dodge is a well-known name in the automotive industry with a long history that dates back to the early 1900s. Many of its models have been around for decades and are considered classics. Dodge is a name often synonymous with reliable pickup trucks and impressive muscle cars.
Dodge started out as a parts supplier for other automotive companies like Ford under the name Dodge Brothers Company. It was founded by two brothers, Horace Elgin and John Francis Dodge. The first factory was in Hamtramck, Michigan, and it opened in 1910. The first complete vehicle wasn’t made until 1914. This first model was known as a four-cylinder Dodge Model 30/35 and was seen as an upscale vehicle.
This first vehicle was innovative and introduced concepts that would become standard in the industry, such as an all-steel body. The car also used a 12-volt electrical system, which would be popular for the next few decades.
Quality construction and innovation were two of the reasons that the Dodge company made it to second place for sales in the US by 1916. Like other manufacturers, Dodge participated in the war effort with more than 12,000 Dodge vehicles being used in World War I.
The brothers only owned Dodge for a few years before they both succumbed to the Spanish Flu in 1920. The families of the two brothers sold the business to Dillon, Read & Co. in 1925. The company sold for $146 million, making it the largest transaction in cash up to that time.
During this period, Dodge continued to expand into the truck industry while also making large passenger cars. The company purchased a 51 percent interest in Graham Brothers, Inc. in 1925. The Graham company began handling all of the truck manufacturing for Dodge.
Chrysler purchased Dodge in 1928 and began manufacturing the trucks for the new parent company. The Dodge lineup was also thinned down to just two lines that featured 13 models. During this period, Dodge added a line for eight-cylinder engines. Production of all Dodge vehicles, along with other Chrysler models, moved to Los Angeles in 1932 where it remained until the close of the factory in 1971.
A special line of models was introduced in 1939 for the 25" anniversary, which was known as Luxury Liner. However, vehicle manufacturing was halted with the start of World War II. Dodge built more than 400,000 vehicles for the war.
After the war, Dodge began making lightly updated versions of its pre-war models. It was also during this time that the Dart began challenging its competition with Ford, Plymouth and Chevrolet. The Dart would continue to be successful for many years.
The Dodge Coronet was a full-size sedan that was retired during this time. However, in 1965, it was revamped as a mid-size model known as the Charger. The Charger was also a major player in NASCAR at this time and even changed the face of racing.
During the late 1960s and 1970s, Dodge targeted the muscle car market with models such as the Super Bee and Challenger. The Dodge Demon was developed to compete against the Plymouth Duster during this same time. While it was never as successful as the Duster, it has become a collector’s item today.
The Dart was retired in 1976, replaced by the Aspen. This model was roomier with more cargo space than the Dart. The Aspen quickly lost popularity when it was determined it would rust by the second or third year. The Dodge Daytona had a run from 1987 to 1991 as a mid-size model. The Dodge Viper also made its appearance around this time as Dodge focused on sports cars to increase sales.
Dodge was once a well-known truck manufacturer with Ram pickups seen out on the highways everywhere. The company started out with light and medium-duty trucks with heavy-duty models being added in the 1940s.
Ram didn’t make its appearance under Dodge until 1981. It was at this time that Cummins released a powerful diesel engine, which enhanced customers’ perception of Dodge, especially when it came to towing.
A new style came to the Ram truck in 1994, which was enhanced by exposure on the TV show, Walker, Texas Ranger with Chuck Norris. The new look would ensure that the Ram stood out from the smaller Dakota truck. While Ram became a separate entity from Dodge, it is still manufactured under this brand.
Today, Dodge is known for both its muscle cars with the Challenger and Charger, and for its SUVs with the Dodge Journey and Durango. The Dodge Grand Caravan has also had a strong run as the only minivan in the lineup.
To find out more about the latest Dodge models, you can visit Premier Clearance Center Metairie and take one for a test drive.
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