QOTD: What's Missing From This Badge?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd whats missing from this badge

The badge you don’t see in the photo is the no-longer-Ram-associated Dodge badge, the one we’ll be discussing today. In a post the other day, yours truly waxed on and on, probably to your great annoyance, about the brand’s attempt to stimulate interest in its future via its past. What name would you like to see return, the brand’s Twitter account asked.

Some readers considered the tweet a possible sign of a returning Viper — the low-volume supercar that bowed out Dodge’s lineup not all that long ago. A month before his death, former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne poured cold water over the idea, claiming the Viper could only stage a profitable return if it shared a platform with something from FCA’s European collection, and in doing so wouldn’t be able to handle a giant, honking, torque-laden American engine necessary for a Viper to be a real Viper.

Maybe it’s still a good idea to some, though others might feel a Ford GT-like one-off model punted to a Canadian specialty manufacturer and offered at a stratospheric sticker price is a better way to go.

While we can talk Viper, the aim of this post is to generate discussion about what missing vehicle Dodge needs in its lineup, taking into consideration the West’s cooling auto sales and the industry’s concerns for long-term financial stability.

You might argue that, in light of Marchionne’s insistence that a ground-up Viper build would lose the company money, a non-Viper sports car borrowing its bones from Alfa Romeo or Maserati might be just the thing to stimulate interest in the brand. And it could just as easily be a slow-selling lemon that makes Dodge a laughingstock. Cue jokes about “TC, by Maserati.”

With Boomers distracted by Corvettes and getting on in years, counting on a new sports car that doesn’t go way out and wild could be a recipe for breaking even. At best. So why bother?

It can also be argued that Dodge’s venerable Charger and Challenger already offer all the brash power and image a red-blooded American can handle, and do so reliably and profitably. Despite their aged platform and throwback bodies, the Charger/Challenger, long since paid off, still have what it takes to keep customers rolling in.

So, what’s left? Sedans are out, and the market tells us that so too are coupes and roadsters. Keeping one eye on the coffers and the other on today’s auto landscape, it would seem the most useful vehicle in a future Dodge lineup would be of the utility variety. Well, that’s hardly sexy. What can Dodge offer in this space that a buyer can’t find elsewhere?

Muscle?

Alright, B&B, it’s time to play Mike Manley for a while. What does this brand need to safeguard its existence?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Oct 05, 2019

    It's hard to have a Dodge discussion without bringing Chrysler into it as well. Assuming that the Journey eventually gets remade into something more modern that would probably go to Chrysler and with the Grand Caravan possibly becoming the Voyager, that leaves Dodge with just the Charger, Challenger & Durango. The original plan was to eliminate the Durango when the BOF Grand Wagoneer goes into production. So that move doesn't leave Dodge with much unless it remains as a "performance" sub-brand under Chrysler. And I suppose the Durango could hang around in essentially a performance version while Jeep covers the more "sensible" SUV versions. In that case adding a new Viper, based on an existing platform, would make sense. While sedans are going the way of the Passenger Pigeon, perhaps there is value in being the last man standing and Dodge has done a masterful marketing job of reinventing the Challenger & Charger with differing trims, colors, power options, etc. The "old" Challenger, in particular, has done well in sales vs. the Camaro, and as of last month, the Mustang too. There is value in their approach, it's just how to you keep it going? That would be my biggest concern. I have seen too many five year FCA "projections" that never come to fruition so I hope for Mike Manley's sake, he's got something up his sleeve.

  • Johnster Johnster on Oct 05, 2019

    I find it hard to believe that the Maserati platform used for the Gran Turismo, GT Convertible, and the upcoming Alfieri sports cars couldn't handle the torque from the Dodge V-10 or the Hellcat V-8s. A new viper built on the same platform to keep costs down, but with its own unique sheet metal and a designed in Detroit V-8 or V-10 sounds like it would have the potential to be winner and if nothing else would be a good flagship for the Dodge/Chrysler line. Maybe Maserati needs to beef up their platforms to handle more torque.

    • Hummer Hummer on Oct 05, 2019

      Cars.com has multiple Chrysler 300s for under $20k, I don’t see the Maserati platform scaling to be that affordable.

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.
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