Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will look to “purify” the Dodge brand over the next five years, deleting models that clash with the brand’s core philosophies and introducing a host of new performance models.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said the brand’s customers are “not looking for practical, sensible cars”, and that the company will instead refocus its line-up with an emphasis on performance and technology.
The mid-sized Dodge Avenger sedan will be dropped this year, while the Grand Caravan people-mover will get the axe in 2016, leaving Chrysler’s Town and Country (known as Voyager locally) as the only minivan in FCA’s global product portfolio.
The slow-selling supercar will kick-start the model line refresh when it gets an update next year.
It will be one of five Dodge models to wear the SRT badge under the proposed plan, joined by flagship performance variants of the Charger and Challenger, an updated version the compact Dart due in 2016, and a sporty halo model atop the next-generation Journey range that will launch in 2017 after the regular variants arrive the previous year.
Dodge will introduce its smallest ever model in 2018 – a front-wheel-drive B-segment model to rival the Ford Fiesta. The unnamed car will be available in sedan and hatch body styles, and will feature a turbocharged sports variant.
The Dodge Durango SUV will get a mid-cycle refresh in 2017, while all-new versions of the Charger and Challenger retro sports coupe will launch at the very end of the five-year timeline in 2018.
Kuniskis expects US Dodge sales to fall eight per cent this year to 546,000 but predicts a positive trajectory and 600,000 sales by 2018.
In Australia, Dodge currently has only the Journey SUV in its range, as all of its remaining models are built in left-hand-drive only. Fiat Chrysler Australia has confirmed its commitment to the Dodge brand, though it remains unclear if the future models will be engineered with right-hand-drive in mind.