Dodge’s future is in question. The American company reduces its number of models and more and more sources announce its extinction.
Dodge’s existence dates back to 1900, the brand being emblematic of the U.S. auto market. Although it has a bushy history and a large number of fans, Dodge could become the next American brand on the list of extinct brands.
According to Wards Auto, the brand will have no bread-and-butter midsize sedan after the Avenger ends production early next year, leaving a gaping hole in its portfolio, which already was severely trimmed by the decision to move the manufacturer’s pickups from Dodge to the recently created Ram brand.
Furthermore, industry sources say that there will be more thinning of the Dodge ranks with at least two products already pegged to either migrate to the Chrysler brand or be discontinued – e.g. the Durango model, whose place will be taken by the future Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Another unanswered question is what the auto maker plans to build at its Toluca plant once North American sourcing for the 500 switches to a Fiat plant in Poland in 2015, and the Journey replacement shifts to Sterling Heights.
Closing the plant is not likely. Fiat-Chrysler needs the capacity and it is still relatively inexpensive to assemble vehicles in Mexico. Mexico also is a good jumping board for exports to South America.
Normally, the current owners of cars that are not being produced anymore should not be affected for some time. They would still be able to insure these cars according to J Moore of cheapautoinsurance.net. Also, they should have no problems getting their automobiles serviced or repaired. Companies usually continue to provide parts for a few years longer. And, there are aftermarket parts available.
Putting the pieces together, a likely candidate for Toluca is a Fiat-based Jeep product, probably off the CUSW platform, slotted in the market between the new Jeep B-size CUV expected to be coming from Italy in 2015, and the C/D-size Cherokee.
Such a vehicle could be considered as a replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot, two very similar CUVs built off the same platform in Belvidere. Coincidently, the production run of the Compass/Patriot, initially slated to be terminated from the lineup next year, has been extended to 2015, the same year the 500 ends at Toluca. Also, the Compass is exported to South America, and it is feasible a Mexico-built Jeep could replace it there.
Whatever is going on behind the scenes at Fiat-Chrysler, including the possibility of further culling, or even getting rid of the Dodge brand, expect the string of news-making announcements that began when Fiat took a stake in Chrysler four years ago to continue. But 2016 looks like the year all the pieces will more-or-less be in place.