Need Dodge Parts?

For over 100 years, Dodge has been known for performance and powerful cars and trucks. At 1A Auto, our mission is to supply you with the right parts you need to keep your Dodge car, truck or SUV in tip top shape, at a great price. If you need a replacement part for your Dodge, you've come to the right place. You'll find a large selection of new, high quality aftermarket Dodge auto parts, including headlights, taillights, weatherstripping, mirrors, door handles, exhaust manifolds, radiators, performance parts such as high flow air filters and genuine OEM Mopar replacement parts. The very same ones you would receive from your local dealer, but without the inflated cost.

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If you happen to be an enthusiastic Dodge owner, have a deep passion for Dodge vehicles, or just want to learn more about the automobile manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.

Overview

Dodge automotive brand is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), formerly Fiat S.p.A, a division under its Chrysler Group wholly owned subsidiary.

Contents

1. Origin
2. The Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company is Formed
3. Death of the Dodge Brothers and Sale to Chrysler
4. World War II and Beyond
5. A Company in Crisis
6. Back to its Roots
7. Changes in Ownership

Origin

The story of the Dodge brand begins in 1900, when brothers John and Horace Dodge established a machine shop in Detroit, Michigan. Skilled machinists, spending several years building bicycles, amongst other things. Initially, the company produced and supplyed quality auto parts such as engines and transmissions automakers in Detroit’s automobile industry—including the Olds Motor Vehicle Company. The brothers enjoyed great success as a parts supplier and earned a solid reputation for their workmanship. Henry Ford approached the brothers to help him start a new automobile company, where they would supply parts for his automobiles. In early 1903, they accepted Ford’s offer of 10% of the company in return for their investment of $10,000, and the Dodge brothers began working exclusively for Ford, making parts used in the first Ford vehicles.

Despite a rocky relationship with financial squabbles, the Dodge Brothers Company continued to be a major supplier to Ford for a few years and became the largest automotive parts company in the world. By 1905, Ford was taking steps to produce engines and transmissions for his automobiles himself. In 1910, the Dodge brothers commenced work on a new plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. Fearing they were too dependent on one customer, and a growing desire to build their own vehicles, the Dodge Brothers informed Ford in 1913, they were terminating their contract. John Dodge resigned from his positions as director and vice president of the Ford Motor Company as a result of this decision.

The Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company is Formed

In July of 1914, the Dodge brothers incorporated their own automobile company, the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company. The Dodge Brothers continued to hold stock in the Ford Motor Company from their initial investment. That same year, Dodge began producing its own vehicles – the first all-steel touring cars to be mass-produced in the world - and by 1916, thanks in large part to the reputation they built over the years for producing quality and dependable auto parts for other automobiles, the company become the second highest selling automaker in the country. In 1916, the US Army led an expedition into Mexico against Pancho Villa. Dodge Brothers vehicles were used during this campaign and garnered acclaim for their durability boosting their reputation as a respected automaker.

In 1916, Henry Ford stopped paying dividends to the companies’ stockholders because he needed the funds to finance the construction of a new complex for his company. The Dodge brothers didn’t react kindly and filed suit against Ford. As a result, Ford was forced to pay dividends to the stockholders of the Ford Motor Company, with a large portion of that being paid out to the Dodge brothers. Ford bought out his shareholders, in 1919. The Dodge brothers were paid about 25 million US dollars for their 10%, officially ended the relationship with the Ford Motor Company. With the profits earned working for Ford,the Dodge brothers financed their own company creating the powerful automaker.

Death of the Dodge Brothers and Sale to Chrysler

By 1920, Dodge Brothers cars continued to rank second in US sales. Tragedy befall the company when both founders, John and Horace Dodge, suddenly passed away in 1920; John first in January, followed by Horace in December. Ownership of the company passed to the brothers’ widows who named long-time employee Frederick Haynes as president. During this time from 1920 to 1925, Dodge Brothers entered an agreement with Graham Brothers to market their medium-duty trucks through Dodge Brothers dealerships to complement its line of passenger cars. As part of the deal, every Graham Brothers truck was built with a Dodge engine in it. The sales increases prompted Dodge Brothers to buy the Graham Brothers’ company, helping Dodge became a leader in the light truck market in the following years. In 1925, the heirs of the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company sold it to investment group Dillon, Read and Co. The new company was renamed Dodge Brothers, Inc.

The group had no experience in the automobile industry, and sales continued to suffer. As a result, by 1927 the group was looking to sell and began negotiations with the Chrysler Corporation. In 1928, the transaction was complete and the company was sold to Chrysler. In 1930, the company name was changed to simply “Dodge,” and the distinctive ram hood ornament made its first appearance in 1933. Although purchased by Chrysler, Dodge remained a separate moniker, still producing cars and trucks – which by now also included medium to heavy-duty trucks in addition to their light-duty trucks - up until 1942.

World War II and Beyond

The attack on Pearl Harbor forced the shutdown of Dodge passenger car production in favor of producing war materials which became a part of tanks, ships, airplanes, etc. They also provided thousands of military trucks, engines, and ambulances that helped them build a stronger reputation with grateful soldiers and citizens as well. This helped them in the years following the war when production of civilian automobiles resumed in 1945.

In the 25 plus years following the war, Dodge produced a number of successful vehicles. The Dodge Coronet, the Dodge Meadowbrook, the compact Dodge Lancer and Dodge Dart, the incredibly successful Dodge Charger, the full-size Dodge Polara and the Dodge Monaco are just a few of the cars manufactured during this time period. They also continued to produce trucks, which they became at least as well known for as their passenger cars. The Dodge Power Wagon, a four-wheel drive light truck, was introduced in 1945 and was manufactured up until 1980. The Dodge D Series, a line of pickup trucks, was released in 1961.

A highlight during this time period was the reputation that the brand built up as Chryslers’ performance brand of automobiles. The introduction of the Red Ram “Hemi-Head” engine in 1953, which was a smaller version of the original Hemi engine design that Chrysler had first developed in 1951, would essentially intertwine the brand with the word “speed” from here on. This was Dodge’s first V8 engine in over 20 years and the first Hemi engine to be used in Dodge vehicles. Hemi engines would go on to become legendary in the automotive industry. Dodge also became a big player in the NASCAR racing scene as a result and won numerous races during this time. In addition, Dodge became extremely well known due to their role in the muscle car market that peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s. People were in love with really fast cars and Dodge was happy to fill the need. A few notable models from this era were the Dodge Super Bee and the Dodge Challenger.

A Company in Crisis

In 1973, an oil crisis befell the United States; crude oil and retail gasoline prices skyrocketed and the effects of the crisis produced many significant changes. The government implemented new emissions regulations and automobiles, including those manufactured by Dodge, were seen as being extremely inefficient. This brought about the end of the muscle car era and consumers were now much more interested in smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. While other manufacturers began downsizing their vehicles quickly, Dodge was slower to the task. They did introduce the compact Dodge Omni, but the company began to face serious financial problems from struggling sales of outdated vehicles. The Dodge Ramcharger was released in 1974, which was their first real attempt to enter into the SUV market, but because of financial constraints, it remained unchanged until 1993 when it was discontinued. Another result of the decline in the industry during this time was the elimination of their heavy-duty trucks in 1975 and medium-duty trucks in 1978. In 1979, Chrysler requested and received federal loan help from the United States Congress in order to help stave off bankruptcy, and fund the development and production of new vehicles that embraced the new times.

In 1981, the Dodge D series line of pickup trucks was renamed the Ram Pickup line and, due to the financial problems that the company was facing, went through very minimal updates until 1993. The turnaround for the company began in 1982 when they released the Dodge Aries, its version of the famous Chrysler “K-Car." It would become instrumental in helping the company climb out of its financial hole. The front-wheel drive platform on which the Aries was built helped spawn a new range of Dodge models in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the infamous Dodge Caravan released in 1984, which would essentially create a new market segment in the automotive industry, the minivan. The introduction of the Caravan was groundbreaking, and sales went through the roof, saving Dodge from the automotive graveyard. Other models introduced during this time were the Dodge Daytona, a new mid-sized pickup truck called the Dodge Daytona to complement their full-size Dodge Ram pickups, and the Dodge Stealth.

Back to its Roots

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the company re-established its roots as a performance brand. This was helped substantially with the release in 1992 of the Dodge Viper, a reincarnation of the '60's muscle cars, sporting a V10 engine and over 400 horsepower. The car created quite the buzz in the automotive world. The release of the Viper set the stage for what was dubbed “The New Dodge,” an all-new product lineup that was to follow during the mid 1990s. The Dodge Intrepid, a roomy family sedan whose styling came from the Lamborghini Portofino concept car, the Dodge Stratus, and the Dodge Neon were all released in the following years. In an attempt to breathe new life into its truck division as well, the outdated Dodge Ramcharger was discontinued and an all-new Dodge Ram was released in 1994, featuring an all-new “big-rig” styling. The newly designed truck won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year award that same year and was a big hit. The Dodge Dakota was also redesigned in a similar fashion in 1997 and, along with the new Dodge Ram, helped to set Dodge trucks apart from its competition. Additional redesigns followed in the years to come, including the addition of powerful HEMI engines. In 1998, the mid-sized Dodge Durango SUV was released as an updated replacement to the Dodge Ramcharger. The vehicle helped to create a new niche in the industry and was also well received.

Changes in Ownership

In 1998, the Chrysler Corporation merged with and was then subsequently acquired by Daimler-Benz AG in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler, with US operations generally referred to as the “Chrysler Group.” Dodge would become DaimlerChrysler’s low-price and performance division; however, the merger never lived up to the hype. DaimlerChrysler then sold a majority of its interest in the Chrysler to a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, in 2007 and thereafter it became a new company, Chrysler LLC. DaimlerChrysler changed its name to Daimler AG shortly afterwards, but maintained a 19.9% interest in the now separated Chrysler LLC. Daimler AG came to an agreement with Cerberus Capital Management to give up its remaining stake in Chrysler LLC in April of 2009, days before Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy. On June 10, 2009, Chrysler LLC emerged from a Chapter 11 restructuring overseen by the U.S. government, with the majority of all of Chrysler's assets being sold to what was called "New Chrysler", which became Chrysler Group LLC in alliance with and owned by Fiat. The US government lent support to the deal in the form of 6.6 billion US dollars in financing, which was paid out to the "Old Chrysler,” formerly Chrysler LLC and now a company called Old Carco LLC. While Fiat initially only owned 20% of the new Chrysler Group LLC company, of which Dodge was a division on, after the bankruptcy proceedings were complete, that was increased to over half in 2011 when it bought the shares of Chrysler that were being held by the US Treasury. This purchase once again returned control of Chrysler into the hands of a foreign owned company. Fiat continued to gradually acquire the other parties' shares and increase its ownership stake of Chrysler over the next couple of years.

Some of the models released by Dodge during this tumultuous period included the Dodge Sprinter, the Dodge Nitro, the Dodge Caliber, and the Dodge Journey. The truck division of Dodge was also spun off into its own brand by Chrysler Group LLC in 2009 following their newly formed alliance with Fiat, separate from its passenger car division which maintained the Dodge name. The newly established subsidiary was called Ram, named after Dodge’s most popular truck.

In January of 2014, Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.5% of Chrysler Group LLC from the United Auto Workers, taking complete ownership, and announced that it would be reorganizing and merging into a new holding company. In July of 2014, Fiat announced how this would all take place, and that Fiat S.p.A. (which now wholly owned the Chrysler Group) would be merged into Fiat Investments N.V., a new Netherlands based company. Fiat Investments would then be renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and would become the new holding company of the Fiat Group, once shareholders approved which it was in August. In October, the merger was approved and Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC were officially merged together to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). It was established as a Netherlands-based holding company with its global headquarters located in the United Kingdom, with two wholly owned automotive subsidiaries under its control: Fiat Group Automobiles, which houses Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat (Fiat’s own branded cars), Fiat Professional and Lancia, and Chrysler Group, which houses Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Trucks. The names of these two groups were subsequently changed in late 2014 to FCA Italy S.p.A. (formerly Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.) and FCA US LLC (formerly Chrysler Group LLC). This was implemented as the latest phase in the adoption of the FCA corporate identity, in order to highlight that all group companies worldwide are part of a single company. The Chrysler name will continue on as a vehicle brand under the FCA US LLC however. FCA also continued its direct ownership of other former Fiat S.p.A. companies, such as luxury car manufacturer Maserati and Mopar, a components manufacturer.

The separation of Dodge’s passenger cars and trucks has since allowed Dodge to refocus and better concentrate on producing sportier performance vehicles for the young and energetic crowd. In the coming years, with FCA now in control, expect Dodge to focus solely on performance vehicles, which will hopefully be to the delight of its loyal fans.

Dodge is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC. 1A Auto is not affiliated with or sponsored by Dodge or FCA US LLC. See all trademarks.

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