Cross-Hair Grille Out At Dodge. So, What's In?
Dodge brand CEO Ralph Gilles tells Automotive News [sub] that Dodge’s primary design cue, the “Cross-Hair” grille, will be limited to Ram-branded trucks as Dodge moves on to an undefined “different way.”
We did as much as we could with the split cross-hair grille. We had to be careful because the cooling work was pretty much done when we decided to rebrand the vehicles. That will continue evolving over time. The Ram brand, the truck look they have, they own it.
The obvious question: having relied on truck-derived styling for decades now, where does Dodge go from here? We’ve puzzled over this question since Chrysler announced that Ram would be split off from the Dodge brand, and over a year later, we’re still at a loss. So we’ll put it to you: what would you do to bring Dodge’s design into the post-truck era?
How brilliant, more fallout from a badly mishandled decision. Splitting Dodge and Ram might have made sense in some fantasy world, but it doesn't really work, and Chrysler knows it. As noted above, Chevy and Ford both sell trucks and cars: why can't Dodge? Their truck is the Ram 1500. Simple, yes? But wait! It still has a Dodge badge, and it still says Dodge on the back. So...it's a Dodge Ram 1500 -- exactly what it was before. The only difference is that the Dodge Dakota is now (officially) the Dodge Ram Dakota. Ram CEO Fred Diaz said, “I want people to understand that although we will market and brand our Ram trucks as Ram trucks, they will always and forever be Dodges." SO WHY DON'T YOU CALL THEM DODGES, FRED? I'm sorry to yell, but be serious for a moment. How does he expect people to understand that? Then he makes it worse: “They’ll always be VINed as a Dodge, and somewhere either on the exterior or the interior of the truck, you’ll always be able to see the Dodge logo and the Dodge name.” The only conclusion I can draw from that is that Chrysler doesn't know what it wants.
I think the answer revealed itself in the Charger SRT-8 introduction at the Chicago Auto Show. I think Audi really nailed it about 5 years ago when they went back to the Audi Union style grill on the refreshed A8 (D3 platform, 2006+)... I know some hate it, but i think it was fabulous design element that currently represents one of the core themes to all Audi design. It is versatile and applicable to all vehicles of all sizes... What I am getting at is that the current Audi grill is a simple inverse trapezoid. A very basic, easily recognizable shape from a distance. Of course, the beauty is in the up close detail and magical way designers tie a basic shape into modern design elements and blend them into the overall design intent of the model. I think the Dodge Charger SRT-8 reveal was very striking to me mostly because of the emphasis on the new HEXAGON shape grill (although not a true Hexagon, it isn't symmetical top-to-bottom and it doesnt have a clear edge on the sides) but this is still a very workable, RECOGNIZABLE from afar design element that can be applied to all cars of all sizes. I think they are testing out the look on the low volume SRT-8 range within Dodge but I have a strong feeling Mr. Gilles is going to be pushing the Hexagon as the predominant grill theme on all future Dodge vehicles. I think it is a great move that has lots of potential. While we are on the point of grills, I think it is very very interesting to see how the Japanese approach this area. They don't seem to rely on the same brand recognition vis-a-vis the grill shape to the same extent the German brands do. I think Acura really dropped the ball by not sticking to the 'upside down pentagon' or the flying 'A'. They didn't need the bold shield grill (for the record, I think the best application of the grill was on the 2007/2008 Acura MDX__ where the leading edge of the metal hood folded down in body colour with the flying 'A' suspended by horizontal bars which neatly tied into the detailing within the front headlight clusters).... Not that im obsessed with grills or anything....
The 2012 Dodges could go out in a blaze with their look from 1962.
Ok, if we're really looking at a limited budget, they should just do a nice American knock-off of the Mercedes SLS AMG front end.