The Dodge Brothers, Horace and John, founded the Dodge Brothers Company in 1900 to sell precision engine and chassis components to automobile manufacturers. They had a lot of success initially building components but the brothers wished to build the actual vehicles. The Dodge Model 30 was manufactured and marketed in 1914 and was far superior to the competition in many ways. The frame was entirely made out of steel, not just a steel frame covered in wood like frames of the competition. The electrical system was also 12-volt instead of the competitions 6-volt system. The Dodge Model 30 was also 35 HP versus the Ford Model T's 20, and Dodge had a sliding-gear transmission versus the Model T's planetary design. This led to the Dodge Brothers' company being ranked as high as second place in the automobile manufacturing industry as of 1916. The same year, the company won an award for durability, due to their cars being used by the U.S. Army for an expedition into Mexico.
Dodge enjoyed success until both brothers died in 1920. Following an 8-year period of getting shuffled around, and not having any new automotive developments, the Chrysler Corporation bought out Dodge in 1928. The Dodge line of cars was trimmed down by Chrysler, but then was disrupted by World War II. Chrysler manufactured quite a few vehicles for the army and their reputation carried over to civilian automobile buyers after the war.
From 1942 to 1973 Dodge enjoyed only average success. They sold a lot of cars, but were not at the top of the automobile manufacturing industry. During the mid-1970’s the company experienced a crisis as consumers starting viewing their cars as largely inefficient machines. Things came to a head in 1979 when the new chairman requested a bailout and received it. From 1980 to present day, Dodge has revamped their image and developed several new lines of vehicles.
Today, the Dodge lineup of vehicles consists of sedans, utes, muscle cars, vans, and pickup trucks. The Dodge logo has gone through 8 iterations, finally arriving on the current one, which is simply the word “Dodge” with two diagonal red stripes over it on the right side.
Some of the more popular Dodge vehicles include the affordable midsize SUV Durango, minivan Caravan, and the midsize sedan Avenger.
Dodge had been selling vehicles in Australia through the 1970s, but then needed to stop as they requested money for a bailout. Dodge re-entered the Australian market in 2006 with the Caliber, soon to be followed by the Dodge Nitro. As of early 2012 Dodge had once again stopped importing cars into Australia aside from the 2012 compact SUV Dodge Journey. This is currently their only offering to the Australian automobile market. Dodge has been consistent throughout their entire history of providing quality cars with eye catching designs, this is still true today.
Dodge has numerous worldwide competitors. General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai Motor, Ford, Nissan, PSA, Honda, Renault, Suzuki, Fiat, and Daimler AG are all ranked above Chrysler Corporation in automobile manufacturing. Despite this, Chrysler and Dodge sales are still consistent year after year. This is, in part, due to the fact that Dodge has dramatically branched out to provide all types and classes of automobiles.
In order for Dodge to get an edge over the competition they created a niche in the automotive market by manufacturing the first minivan, which is now a popular vehicle type. Similarly, Dodge branched out and started creating ute and truck models when they needed more market share. Dodge has focused on doing many things well, but doing nothing spectacularly which has seemed to work very well for them. Their success looks as though it will continue for many years to come.