Dodge used to be a fairly regular car company that would sell you a truck or sedan or van if you wanted, competing with the Chevys and Fords and Chryslers of the world. That is, until Ram split from Dodge and Dodge spent the last decade leaning into American muscle cars. These days, it’s leaning into cringe.
No one can force you to watch the following video, part of Stellantis’s EV Day on Thursday, but I recommend it. The vibes are dad-who-threw-a-touchdown-in-high-school-30-years-ago-and-really-wants-to-tell-you-about-it, but so much worse.
“Dodge will not sell electric cars,” Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge says, “but Dodge will sell American muscle. So if a charger can make a Charger quicker, we’re in.”
Kuniskis then goes on about how, actually, Dodges are really popular with millennials (sure?), and that millennials have lots of spending power (haha), and that millennials are into EVs (this is actually true) and this is how Dodge is going to grow the “Dodge brotherhood” — women don’t seem to be in the picture here.
“Our engineers are reaching a practical limit of what we can squeeze from internal combustion innovation,” Kuniskis says, implying that Dodge has perfected internal combustion engines and for that reason — and possibly that reason alone — Dodge is being forced to move on.
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“It’s the same way the hammerhead shark has thrived at the top of the food chain,” Kuniskis says, because they have evolved to survive, like Dodge, which is also an aggressive predator.
This is the lead-up to Kuniskis’s big announcement, which is that in 2024 Dodge will launch the world’s first “full battery electric muscle car ... to tear up the streets, not the planet.”
Now, I don’t know who at Dodge thought any of this was a good idea, though it sure feels like, six or seven months ago, Dodge had exactly zero plans to ever go electric, and then Stellantis told them they had to and they cobbled this together. Because nothing says this has been in the works for a while like a delivery date of 2024, and there’s nothing millennials respond to better than a middle-aged white guy saying “muscle” over and over again.
Which makes me think that maybe Dodge thinks older customers will find this appealing, but those customers like V8s, and does Dodge really think it will fool any of those people with this pitch? Also, what is an electric muscle car? Because every electric car on the American market right now is pretty quick, and in the case of Tesla performance models, really, really quick.
Speed is easy with EVs, but range isn’t, and neither is marketing, and Dodge’s effort here is good evidence of that. Further, in three years, the electric market’s going to look vastly different, with a lot more competitors, though it will be on-brand when Dodge finally shows up with its battery-electric entry, years and years behind the curve.