Dodge started in 1900 as a component supplier for early Detroit automakers, but the ambitious Dodge brothers weren't satisfied to be suppliers. They wanted to build their own cars. In 1914, they produced the Dodge 30, a direct competitor to Ford's Model T that featured an all-steel body (most cars still used wood framing), 12-volt electrical system, and a sliding gear transmission.
By 1916 sales of the 30 had catapulted Dodge into second place behind Ford, just in time for the brothers to sue Henry Ford and force him to buy out his shareholders. The year 1916 also saw Lieutenant George S. Patton use Model 30s to track down Pancho Villa's deputies as part of the U.S. Army's Mexican Expedition, returning with the prisoners' bodies tied to the hoods of their Dodges.
- Founded : 1900 (auto parts (Dodge Brothers))
- Founders : John Francis Dodge, Horace Elgin Dodge
- Headquarters : Auburn Hills, Michigan, United States
- Website : http://www.dodge.com
Though World War II saw Dodge trucks, led by the famous Power Wagon, move to the fore, it was the combination of exciting styling and a Hemi, Dodge's first-ever V-8, that made Dodge a performance brand in 1953. Just one decade later, the compact Dart was a best seller, the Charger took Dodge to NASCAR's winner's circle, and the Challenger became Dodge's entry in the pony car segment. Unfortunately, stringent safety and emission standards and the first gas crisis ended the fun in the early 1970s.
The small front-drive Omni carried Dodge through the energy crisis and spawned a pair of Carroll Shelby-tuned variants, the GLH and GLHS. It was followed in the 1980s by the front-drive K-car platform that supported the successful Aries, Caravan minivan, Daytona, 600, Lancer, and Spirit, but it took the V10-powered Viper show car and the subsequent road car to put Dodge back into true world-beater status.
The "cab forward" Intrepid and Stratus sedans, spunky Neon compact, and brawny Ram pickup kept Dodge in the game in the 1990s, until the combination of a new Hemi V-8 and sophisticated rear-drive platform put performance front-and-center again with the Magnum, Charger and Challenger. Though the Magnum is no longer, the Charger and Challenger are joined by the Caliber, Avenger, Grand Caravan, Journey, Nitro, Viper, Dakota, and Ram in Dodge's lineup as it struggles along with Chrysler to survive.