The Dodge Nitro, one of the least successful
models in the brand's range, will get
cosmetic enhancements next year to keep it
going until mid-2011, but no decision has
been made on its replacement.
presentational slides for the Dodge 2010 -
2014 plan curiously include a close-up image
of the 1999 Charger concept car.
Overhauling the Dodge line-up will kick off
with the Caliber which by the end of the
year will get an all-new interior, new
colours, new wheels and be repackaged and
repositioned. That will carry it through to
the middle of 2012 when it will be replaced
by a new model on a Fiat platform.
Under Fiat's control Dodge's car unit has
already been split away from its truck division
leaving a small rump that will now be focused in
the short term on more sporty, driver orientated
cars. "All Dodge vehicles will represent
lifestyles, not age groups or price classes"
said the presentation yesterday in Michigan
which added that it will create cars "with
personality and presence".
President Ralph Gilles emphasised that Dodge would become
less 'badboy' and more 'fun'. He outlined six specific
lifestyle target areas where Dodge could target its vehicles
including "sweet and simple," with cars that would be
targeted at entry=-level audiences and major on economy,
"fun and practical," more generally cars that would focus on
driving pleasure and practicality, and more niche cars that
could be described as "cool and extrovert," such as the
current Challenger sports car.
There will be a "complete repackaging,
new options mix, fully implemented by the end of Q4 2009"
followed at the same time by a "complete overhaul of
branding, marketing, positioning and point of sale," which
will be completed by the end of the second quarter of next
year. The key points to address will be to: "fix the
fundamentals, customer focused quality, retune our driving
experience, and technology which will enable efficiency and
existing Dodge line-up will kick off with the Caliber which
by the end of this year will get an all-new interior
(already shown at the Frankfurt IAA in September), new
colours and new wheels with the car repackaged and
repositioned. That will carry it through to the middle of
2012 when it will be replaced by a new model on a Fiat
Next year will
be particularly hectic for Dodge's engineers as three
further key models will get major makeovers with launches
set for before the end of Q4 2010, the Avenger and Journey
will receive a new interior, new engines, refreshed
exteriors, repackaging, improved NVH, comfort, convenience,
performance and fuel economy," while the Caravan is set to
also get a new interior and external facelift, a new engine
and "complete suspension retune" to offer "best-in-class
ride and handling, NVH, comfort, features, performance and
fuel economy." The unloved Avenger will eventually be
replaced by an all-new model in the middle of 2013 while the
Journey's makeover should keep it fresh until the end of the
The Charger had
been in the pipeline for a makeover under its former owners
with the project almost completed before Fiat took control,
and this new version will be "all new, dramatically styled,
class leading, interior, class leading features, lifestyle
oriented, packaging, new engine, best in class performance,
and fuel economy," according to the presentation. The Nitro
will get new cosmetic enhancements next year to keep it
going until mid-2011 but no decision has been made on its
replacement. The muscular Viper sports car will see a final
production run of 500 units with Dodge promising that a
replacement will be considered, in the plan if a new model
goes ahead, it is slated to arrive in mid 2012.
A new addition
to the range next year will be a severn seater CUV with "all
new design, class leading interior, multiple engine choices,
character and performance consistent with the new Dodge."
This model was initiated by former owners Daimler and it
will be relatively unchanged, with Fiat will tweaking the
final product. It is expected to be based on the Durango.
There will be a new Caravan in 2014 (alongside its platform
sister, Chrysler's Town & Country) with this model, like the
Chrysler set to get a quick refresh late next year.
Between 2012 and
2013 new Fiat technology-based models will arrive in the
shape of an all-new B, C and D-segment sedan to patch up the
uneven range. First out of the box will be a new replacement
for the Caliber in 2012 while a "subcompact" will hit the
showrooms a year later.