Chrysler to kill the Dodge Avenger

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Not official yet. But it will be soon.
There will be no Dodge version of the all new Chrysler 200.

So while most people will talk about “no new Avenger coming up”.
I think it means “no more Dodge very soon”.

I mean really, think about it. All their trucks are now under a new brand called Ram.
The Viper isn’t a Dodge anymore either. It is sold under the SRT brand.

And they have already announced there will be only one version of the next Minivan. (I would say Chrysler)

So this leave only:
-The Durango (which could easily becomes a new Ram SUV)
-The Challenger . (Old, but a new version could be sold as SRT. The now “sport car brand”)
-The Charger. (Which could die after a new Chrysler 300 comes out. Just like the 200 killed the Avenger)
-The Journey ( no one even remembers it. Some Jeep crossover could easily replace it)
-The Dart. (that’s the most difficult one. As it is new. But at the same time, not selling that well…)

I say if you are working for Fiat, and counting beans, you are probably going to kill Dodge…

What do you think???

Conversation 16 comments

  1. Vince, if one is in the business of counting beans at Fiat, chances are higher he'd kill the Fiat dealerships here before the Dodge ones.

    Some numbers:
    In 2013, over 47$ of Chryco sales were Dodge brand vehicles.
    Dodge sales up last year 14%, beating overall Chryco sales.
    Chryco's best selling car was the 200. It's next 3 best selling cars were all Dodges (Charger?Avenger/Dart).
    Caravan outsold Town & Country (just barely).

    Unless Chryco is making a loss on all those Dodges sold, they'd be nuts to relinquish almost half their market share and brand equity, but if they do they'd better have some ingenious plan on how to recapture the economies of scale at their plants that Chryco gets now, or be prepared for some massive write-offs.

  2. I do hope I am wrong.
    But remember when Ford said they would never kill Mercury?
    It was profitable they said.
    It was even selling more cars that Acura they said.

    Like I say, I hope I'm wrong….

  3. The problem is that there were already too many brands competing in the mainstream end of the market (let's be realistic and acknowledge that Chrysler hasn't been a true premium brand for quite some time now) and now more brands have either been added (Fiat) or split off (SRT and RAM). We basically went from Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep to Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/RAM/SRT/Fiat. Trying to sort out brand roles and identities while trying to eliminate product overlap has to be quite daunting and mind boggling, to say the least.

    I think SRT should revert back to being a tuner trim or division and Dodge should handle sports cars. With RAM spun off to deal with trucks and commercial vehicles, Dodge wouldn't need to worry about trying to unify the blocky big rig look of trucks and commercial vehicles with sleek and sexy sports car styling. Dodge would be free to explore some wickedly beautiful and uncompromised sports car designs.

    So the brands roles would be:
    * Chrysler: Mainstream family cars and MPVs.
    * Jeep: CUVs and SUVs.
    * Dodge: Sports cars.
    * RAM: Trucks and commercial vehicles.
    * Fiat: Quirky small vehicles with personality (subcompact)

    SRT would return to its previous role before it was spun off into its own brand.

    With this brand restructuring strategy, some vehicles would need to be restyled, modified, renamed, and reassigned.

  4. The Avenger is selling for less than the smaller Dart. That wouldn't work with a 200-based replacement, obviously. You also couldn't have a more expensive Avenger because it would compete with the 200.

    I think Dodge's new lineup makes sense:

    Dart – Challenger/Charger – Journey/Caravan – Durango

    That's 4 really different types of cars. Compare to Jeep that has 4 products in the same size and price range (Compass/Patriot/Cherokee/Wrangler).

    Dodge's real problem is the mess they created with the Dart. There's 80 million different configurations, which guarantees you won't find what you want in stock. As a consumer, you can either figure out every other compact on the market, or you can figure out the Dart, but there's no point in figuring both out.

  5. Wonder if Dodge would exit the U.S. market only, where it does seem to be an overlooked brand. In Mexico, there are so many Avenger police vehicles.

  6. For the life of me I can't understand what Chrysler is doing. They have way too many brands – Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, SRT, Fiat, Alfa (hahaha). None of the brands have a complete lineup. Pretty much every other major manufacturer has consolidated their brands to 2 – mainstream and luxury. The mainstream offering a full lineup of vehicles. I'm talking Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, GM. Where is Chrysler's mainstream brand? Where is the complete lineup of vehicles? I think the executives think that because they have consolidated all the brands under one roof that they can have a few cars under each brand and that it will add up to a complete lineup. I don't think it'll work.

  7. I thought the Avenger was already axed. Who buys them besides rental/fleet purchasers? No one I know sees one and sees a car they desire to own and drive.

  8. This segmentation and naming strategy is very counter productive IMO. The Dodge name should have always stayed with the truck line and the more budget branded offerings including a more basic minivan. Any other cars should have gone to Chrysler. Forget RAM, forget SRT. Two brands, thats it! Cuz the Chrysler Corp offerings aren't good enough to span 4 brands. Marchionne needs to suck it up and realize he screwed the pooch WRT this.

  9. This segmentation and naming strategy is very counter productive IMO. The Dodge name should have always stayed with the truck line and the more traditional American design offerings . Any other cars should have gone to Chrysler. Forget RAM, forget SRT. Three brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep), thats it! Marchionne needs to suck it up and realize he screwed the pooch WRT this.

  10. Vince, the Journey and the Caravan are the best seller in their category in Canada ! I know, Canada isn't a big market but, it's substantial.

    Never understand the creation of the Ram and SRT brand…

  11. You can't have a brand in 'mass market' automobiles without having a midsized car…it's just too competitive. Every company (ex Jeep /GMC) has one…you need them to get people into dealerships. If Dodge doesn't have one – their DOA.

    I'm betting they won't introduce a 'new' Avenger (the way they introduced a new 200) – but will come out w/ a 'new' midsized sedan next year and call it something else.

    To me, Avenger has no brand recognition, and sales show this.

    As for the other products in Dodges line up – Durango is doing well in context of it's market size. Journey is doing 'ok' (but in Canada, it is the best selling crossover)…Charger / Challenger – again, doing well in their respectively (small) markets.

    However of the 4 mentioned above, 3 desperately need new models. Journey especially….it's too important of a category to let it rest.

  12. I don't think they're killing Dodge, I think they're focusing the brand to have fewer, more specific models. Dart/Charger/CUV/SUV. Keep it simple. Chrysler stands out more as a result and the two can better differentiate, as opposed to Chrysler just being a rebadged Dodge (like Mercury and Lincoln are rebadged Fords).

    Chrysler, after all, will have the same lineup as Lancia, right? And Lancia too suffered from being just rebadged FIATs. So maybe this is the start of Chrysler becoming something really special. And Dodge does not need to have a version of every platform in the FIAT/Chrysler inventory. Remember these dealerships usually group together… (RAM/Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge/SRT).

    Last point, the idea of SRT as its own brand has grown on me. You can pick and choose which names to resurrect from Plymouth and Dodge and perhaps others…. maybe one day we'll see an SRT Roadrunner or SRT 'Cuda. And if Dodge DOES go extinct they could always have an SRT Charger. Who knows… with Chrysler's previous brand acquisitions maybe one day we'll see an SRT Javelin or SRT Talon (doubtful but fun to ponder).

  13. Vince, I don't think Dart will continue on as a Dodge even if the brand survives in the US.. judging by Chrysler's new full-line "not-quite-near-luxury" positioning, it would simply get a new grille and be rebadged as the Chrysler 100.. and/or possibly joined by the hatchback version and moved to Fiat showrooms as the Viaggio.

    As for the other models, Journey will likely be rebadged as Chrysler's CUV and/or as a Fiat Freemont (as it is in the rest of the world), and Durango would move to Ram as you suggested. I don't think Dodge will disappear entirely, but will become a more focused performance brand with Challenger, Charger, and midsized RWD coupe and sedan replacements for the current Avenger.. or all those models will become SRT-brand vehicles with multiple trim levels instead of the current SRT8.

    To be honest, it really doesn't matter since all these vehicles will continue to be sold under the same roof in the majority of markets.. but I can see Marchionne wanting to spin off the Viaggio (Dart) and Freemont (Journey) to US Fiat showrooms to help keep those stand-alone franchises afloat.

  14. No one is killing Dodge. My uncle is a product development engineer there, they have plenty of future product plans. The Avenger is junk and it's far too close to the Dart in terms of size. It's being tossed to make more room for Dart sales but it will be replaced in a couple years with something much better that doesn't compete as closely with the Dart. I think you misunderstand the Dodge brand, Vince. They may not have appeal in a place like Southern California, but that doesn't mean they don't do very well in parts of the country like the Midwest and the South. The Charger is a great seller and no one who buys that car would take a Chrysler 300 instead. Chrysler will get the minivan too because it doesn't fit the sporty muscle car image of Dodge. Sometimes it seems like you're pulling for them to kill the Dodge brand, which is a shame.

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