Dodge brand to be introduced in Europe and other major markets
Dodge vehicles to be sold in most of the existing Chrysler and Jeep® dealer outlets
Chrysler Group will more than double the total number of models available outside North America in the next four years
Dodge Brand Goes Global Led by Viper in 2004 and a New Car-Based Portfolio in 2006
Detroit - Dodge, a storied American automotive brand known for bold design, powerful and capable vehicles, will become the Chrysler Group's third brand sold in major markets outside North America.
Today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Dieter Zetsche, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chrysler Group, confirmed that the Company's longest established automotive brand will be introduced to markets worldwide. The Dodge brand celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. "The European launch of the Dodge Viper SRT-10 sports car in 2004 will lead the way, followed by a portfolio of new international Dodge passenger cars starting in 2006," said Zetsche. "These products will embody the powerful and bold American attributes of the brand in an affordable package that meets the tastes and needs of our customers around the world."
The Dodge car-based portfolio will offer a range of powerful yet fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines.
"Our focus outside North America will be on passenger cars, even though in the U.S. the Dodge brand is often associated with pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans," said Joe Eberhardt, Executive Vice President for Global Sales, Marketing and Service. "The Dodge portfolio, along with Chrysler and Jeep® vehicles, will allow us to offer a range of products covering virtually all segments of the international passenger car market." The new Dodge models, combined with planned Chrysler and Jeep new product launches, will more than double the number of Chrysler Group vehicles available outside North America in the next four years. The number of right-hand drive and diesel-equipped models will also more than double in that period.
The portfolio of Dodge cars will be sold alongside Chrysler and Jeep products in most of the existing dealer outlets. A recent new corporate identity program for Chrysler and Jeep® dealers internationally, anticipated the arrival of Dodge and calls for the exterior and interior of the showrooms to be designed with the flexibility to incorporate the third brand in a cost-effective and modular way. The first new Dodge vehicle to be introduced internationally will be the 8.3-liter V10-engine Dodge Viper SRT-10 sports car. The two-seater convertible will be displayed at the 2004 Paris Motor Show in September.
"Dodge has been an American icon and a winning brand for 90 years, and the time is right to introduce Dodge to our customers in markets other than North America," said Eberhardt. "What better way to capture the imagination of potential Dodge customers than to arrive with the Dodge Viper, a vehicle that epitomises the essence of the brand and has become an icon of the high performance American sports car?" The Dodge brand, which is characterized by its edgy, bold and capable vehicles, is currently sold only in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and in a small number of export markets. With the international introduction of new Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles, the company expects its market share in Western Europe to exceed one percent by 2007.