Dodge is a popular American brand of cars and trucks and is owned by FCA LLC (Fiat Chrysler Automobile). The headquarters for Dodge and the FCA LLC is in Detroit, Michigan. Dodge is known for the Viper series of sports cars and the Ram series trucks. Both their flagship sports cars and trucks are among the best selling vehicles in America.
How did the Dodge brand start?
The story of Dodge starts with Horace and John Dodge. The siblings founded the Dodge Brothers Company in 1900 and were producing precision components for car engines and chassis capitalising on the booming automotive industry at that time. The main customers of Dodge were Ford Motor Company and the Olds Motors Company. The company was very successful as parts suppliers that they even owned shares in Ford. As their success continued, the brothers decided to enter the industry as a car maker rather than just manufacturing parts.
In 1914, Horace Dodge designed and built the Model 30.
The Model 30 was a touring car that was powered by a 3.4-litre inline four-cylinder L-head engine that produced 35bhp. The engine was paired with a 3-speed manual sliding gear transmission which was revolutionary at the time. The car had an all steel body when most of the industry was using steel panels with wooden frames. Another innovation was using 12V charging system when 6V was the industry standard.
The Model 30, when compared to Ford’s Model T, had more horsepower (35bhp vs 20bhp), a steel body and better transmission (the Model T used a planetary design). This made the Model 30 a popular car for its power and reliability. The car was so reputable that no less than General George S. Patton himself took it into battle in Mexico against the troops of Pancho Villa. The Model 30 sold over 45,000 in 1914 to 1915 alone and launched Dodge as the third best in the industry in its first full year of production.
The Model 30 was very successful and was the third best-selling car until 1920. In 1920, tragedy struck as the brothers died of pneumonia with John dying early in the year. Horace Dodge died later that year and the company was passed on to their widows. The Dodge Brothers Company continued producing cars and was also regarded as one of the top producers of trucks. The company was eventually acquired by Walter Chrysler and his Chrysler Corporation in 1928.
Dodge, to this day, is still with the Chrysler group as a subsidiary. They still produce top of the line cars and trucks. Dodge is also a brand that is sold worldwide along with all the other brands under the FCA LLC group like Chrysler, Fiat, Maserati and Jeep.