Dodge is an American brand of automobiles and a division of Stellantis, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Dodge vehicles have historically included performance cars, and for much of its existence Dodge was Chrysler’s mid-priced brand above Plymouth.
Founded as the Dodge Brothers Company machine shop by brothers Horace Elgin Dodge and John Francis Dodge in the early 1900s, Dodge was originally a supplier of parts and assemblies to Detroit-based automakers like Ford. They began building complete automobiles under the “Dodge Brothers” brand in 1914, predating the founding of Chrysler Corporation. The factory located in Hamtramck, Michigan was the Dodge main factory from 1910 until it closed in January 1980. John Dodge died from the Spanish flu in January 1920, having lungs weakened by tuberculosis 20 years earlier. Horace died in December of the same year, perhaps weakened by the Spanish flu, though the cause of death was cirrhosis of the liver. Their company was sold by their families to Dillon, Read & Co. in 1925 before being sold to Chrysler in 1928.
Dodge mainstay vehicles were trucks and full-sized passenger cars through the 1970s, though it also built compact cars such as the 1963–76 Dart and midsize cars such as the “B-Body” Coronet and Charger from 1965–78.
The 1973 oil embargo caused American “gas guzzler” sales to slump, prompting Chrysler to develop the Dodge Aries K platform compact and midsize cars for the 1981 model year. The K platform and its derivatives are credited with reviving Chrysler’s business in the 1980s. One example was the Dodge Caravan. During the 1990s the Dodge Stratus found many buyers along with the larger Dodge Intrepid.
The Dodge brand endured multiple ownership changes at Chrysler from 1998 to 2009, including its merger with Daimler-Benz AG from 1998 to 2007, its subsequent sale to Cerberus Capital Management, its 2009 bailout by the United States government, and its subsequent Chapter 11 bankruptcy and acquisition by Fiat.
In 2011, Dodge and its sub-brands, Dodge Ram and Dodge Viper, were separated. Dodge announced that the Viper was to be an SRT product, and Ram a standalone marque. In 2014, SRT was merged back into Dodge. Later that year, the Chrysler Group was renamed FCA US LLC, coinciding with the merger of Fiat S.p.A. and the Chrysler Group into the corporate structure of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Subsequently, another merger occurred on January 16, 2021 between FCA and the PSA Group (Stellantis), making the Dutch-domiciled automaker the second largest in Europe, after Volkswagen.