Portfolio of car-based Dodge vehicles to be sold globally starting in 2006
Chrysler Group dealers worldwide prepare to sell exciting Dodge models
Chrysler Group Reveals Dodge Concept Vehicles on Both Sides of Atlantic, Hinting at Future Direction of the Dodge Brand
London - The reveal of two Chrysler Group concept vehicles on opposite sides of the Atlantic suggests how the Dodge brand could expand into the global automotive market.
At company press events in London and Chicago, the Dodge Caliber and Dodge Nitro were unveiled to convey the brand's potential future direction. "Today is a great day for Dodge," said Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and CEO. "These two new concepts suggest the global potential of the brand as it prepares to expand into world markets. While different in product expression, both Caliber and Nitro embody the bold, powerful and capable values of Dodge. Our international positioning for the brand and its future model lineup will be entirely consistent with these established core values." Shown to a select group in London for the first time, the distinctive Dodge Caliber concept is a five-door vehicle that combines a sporty coupe-like profile with the strength, stance and functionality of a sport-utility vehicle (SUV). The sheer surface styling commands attention and evokes the Dodge brand attributes. The Dodge Caliber concept will be revealed to the public at the 75th Salon de l'Automobile in Geneva, Switzerland.
Simultaneously in the USA, the mid-size Dodge Nitro SUV concept was revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, providing even further proof of the brand's future potential. With a bold and powerful design statement, the five-passenger Nitro would be the first mid-size SUV for Dodge, designed to attract customers seeking style, performance and utility. "We have a clear brand identity for Dodge. The brand is all about attitude - it's bold, confident and assertive," said Joe Eberhardt, Executive Vice President - Global Sales, Marketing and Service. "And we have established a strong and distinct identity for our new Dodge products. That's what allowed us to tease international markets with the introduction of the Dodge Viper SRT10 roadster last year and hint at where we can go in the years to come." Speaking in London, Eberhardt said consumer research among 20,000 participants in Germany, France, Italy and the UK identified a segment of potential buyers that align themselves with the core values of Dodge. He said that research also showed that there is not a single brand that leads this segment, creating opportunity for the Dodge brand to grow the Chrysler Group business internationally, while maintaining its unique brand identity. The Chrysler Group has said that, between 2003 and 2007, with the expansion of the Dodge brand, the company will more than double the number of Chrysler Group models available outside of North America. The number of right-hand drive and diesel-equipped models also will more than double during this same time period.
Beginning in 2006, Eberhardt said the Dodge product portfolio for markets outside of North America will consist mainly of C- and D-segment vehicles, both left- and right-hand drive, offering powerful yet fuel-efficient petrol engines and state-of-the-art diesel engines. The company plans to sell the portfolio of Dodge cars alongside Chrysler and Jeep® products in most of the existing Chrysler Group dealer outlets. A new corporate identity program for international Chrysler and Jeep dealers has been implemented with the arrival of Dodge in mind. The program 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 expansion of the Dodge brand into our key volume markets outside North America is a financially sound strategy. It allows us to increase volume while leveraging our established dealer network and distribution structure," said Zetsche. "Dodge appeals to a different type of customer than Chrysler and Jeep, and its global expansion will contribute to our sustainable, profitable growth." The expansion into these new markets comes as Dodge celebrates its 90-year heritage, placing the famous U.S. brand among the world's most successful long-standing automotive nameplates.
Dodge sold more than 1.4 million vehicles worldwide in 2004, which is half of the Chrysler Group's total sales. Dodge is the fifth-largest nameplate in the United States, with a 6.9 percent market share.