Dodge Stays The ‘Burger Joint’ Of Auto Manufacturers Even In Electrifying Period

All automakers are ambivalent about it, however no model is being dragged kicking and screaming into electrification of the trade like Dodge.

It’s not a shock that the age of electrification can be anathema to a model constructed on rumbling exhaust programs, 800-horsepower internal-combustion engines and physique types that unapologetically hearken again to the period of 50-cents-a-gallon gasoline.

But whereas Dodge has laid out a timeline for lastly fielding its personal all-electric automobiles over the following couple of years, its commitments there stay solely a requisite backdrop to the model’s full-throated participation within the here-and-now of gas-powered muscle automobiles. That’s the picture and product-line emphasis Stellantis (then Fiat Chrysler) staked Dodge to a number of years in the past as a method of preserving the model, reworking it from a bland me-too marque dedicated to mainstream household haulers, and Dodge has been spectacular since then in persevering with to emphasise its new persona.

“We said the next 24 months are going to be like juggling knives for us,” Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis advised journalists this week. “Transitions are easier when they are needs-based, not wants-based. And I’ll be honest: Electrification is kind of like the world going vegetarian, and Dodge is like a burger joint. We done thing, and we do it really well. We’re not vegetarian yet.”

Witness Dodge’s newest advertising and marketing occasion, a contest to pick an American off the road to satisfy a one-year, $150,000 position as “Chief Donut Maker” and function a brand new sort of name ambassador for Dodge’s automobiles and perspective. After sifting via 173,500 functions and conducting a reality-TV sort efficiency contest for finalists that was chronicled on-line, Dodge topped a model fanatic and hard-driving hobbyist in Preston Patterson of North Carolina.

And Kuniskis was fast to underscore the authenticity of the competition by noting that Patterson, a legal-office worker in his 30s, had grow to be quickly dismayed with the model. “He went and bought a Porsche,” Kuniskis stated, “but what he really found out is he missed Dodge, American muscle, the community” that Dodge has nicknamed the Brotherhood of Muscle.

Patterson “was publicly critical of the Dodge brand, so he’s got credibility,” Kuniskis stated. “It would have been way safer for us to go out and get a talking head who [toed] the corprate line all the time, but it wouldn’t have helped. We’re in a critical transition, and it’s not supposed to be easy. We’re supposed to be questioned. That’s why we need a guy like this.”

The Chief Donut Maker’s position will embrace taking part in a bunch of Dodge occasions similar to Roadkill nights, a Dodge and MotorTrend road drag-racing pageant that’s recurrently held in Pontiac, Mich., earlier than the annual Woodward [Avenue] Dream Cruise in Detroit and its close to suburbs.

And whereas the Chief Donut Maker contest is partly the type of advertising and marketing theater at which Kuniskis has excelled, and at which Stellantis general has excelled underneath CMO Olivier Francois, Patterson actually must put up with the ambivalence or outright opposition of present Dodge followers who query the model’s giving any on account of electrification.

So far, Dodge has stated that it’s going to disclose a hybrid new model of its fabled Hornet nameplate in August, in a compact crossover car that’s anticipated to share a mechanical platform with the corporate’s Alfa Romeo Tonale and be in-built Italy. Dodge additionally plans to launch a battery-electric muscle automobile in 2024 and plans to indicate an electrical idea this 12 months.

Kuniskis promised that, as Dodge wends its method into electrification, its merchandise and the model will keep true to what Stellantis entrepreneurs and product builders have so keenly and efficiently created.

“We could tell everyone to forget everything we told you about muscle cars for the last 50 years, and [say], ‘This is what you really want,’” he stated. “Everyone [else] in the industry is going to be saying exactly the same thing” about their electrified automobiles. But Dodge has by no means received once we comply with different folks.”

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