The name “Dodge” conjures up images of beefy muscle cars with intimidating power. However, many people forget how bad some Dodge vehicles were. Dodge, one of America’s oldest automobile manufacturers, has been around the block and back. Along the way, they’ve made a name for themselves as Chrysler’s performance division. They are the brains behind classics like the Challenger, Charger, and Viper, dominating the performance world. Cars like the Coronet R/T ruled the streets during the Golden Age of muscle cars. These cars secured Dodge’s reputation as a brand to beat.
However, Dodge had previously issued some ill-fated vehicles in the past. But it was the Malaise of the late 1970s that catalyzed the company’s descent into mediocrity. The bland as could be K-car helped the Chrysler group. This help was, however, at the expense of Dodge’s performance credibility. While things are looking up for the Mopar favorite today, the path to recovery has been long and winding, with many lemons along the way.
Whether it’s due to poor build quality and impending part failures, a general lack of features, comfort, and performance, or just because they’re so dull that they have nothing to offer above the competition, many Dodge vehicles aren’t worth purchasing.
Here, we look at factors that make Dodge not popular, despite its long presence in the automobile industry.
Reasons Dodge is not Popular.
The Takata Scandal
One of the scandals Dodge was involved in was the Takata Scandal. The Takata Corporation was a producer of airbags in Japan. Nearly every Automaker and marque used the airbags. After a few mishaps, however, the airbags were deemed dangerous. The reason was that they tended to tear open right after deployment, even in low-impact collisions. The people inside the vehicle suffered severe consequences because of this issue.
Accordingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) authorized a recall of over 42 million vehicles in 2013. This recall was one of the most extensive recalls in automotive history. Over 24 car brands were affected worldwide. The faulty Takata airbags severely wrecked Dodge vehicles like the Challenger, Charger, RAM, and Durango.
Change of Ownership
In the 1900s, Dodge was created by John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge— you may have guessed it, they are brothers. Before then, Dodge was a part and assemblies’ supplier to automakers based in Detroit like Ford. Horace and John began making autos entirely under the “Dodge Brothers” brand in 1914.
The family sold the Dodge Brothers company to Dillon, Read, and Co. In 1925. They were then later sold to Chrysler in 1928 after the two brothers died in 1920. The company went through many title changes at Chrysler, from 1998 to 2009, including a merger with Daimler-Benz AG in 1998. Later on, they underwent a succeeding exchange to Cerberus Capital Management. There was also a 2009 bailout by the United States government. And finally, its successive Chapter 11 bankruptcy and obtainment by Fiat.
These changes in ownership and management had contributed to changes in corporate directions and public perception.
There are some defects in the design of some of the Dodge car models. The interior door panels on Dodge Chargers are warping and, in some cases, fall off. The problem has persisted among owners since the 2015 model year. The most commonplace of occurrence is the door panels.
Although the problem is prevalent on the driver’s side front door, it is not limited to that area. Lower-quality panels, faulty installation, and adhesive failure accelerated by sun exposure are most likely to blame for the warping. On a hot day, owners claim that the problem occurs on whichever side of the car the sun shines on.
And the warping can be so severe that some owners have phoned the cops when they return to their vehicles, believing robbers have broken into their cars.
The warped panels pose several risks. For example, it could obstruct side airbag deployment, prevent door locks and anti-theft systems from functioning, and cause heating and cooling systems to malfunction.
As a point of reference, we’ll use the Dodge Charger. The Dodge Charger has a fair amount of reliability, with specific model years scoring higher than others. It received a 3.5 out of 5.0 rating from RepairPal, placing it tenth out of twelve full-size vehicles in its category. It’s only in the long run that issues emerge. Brake problems are a common problem with the Dodge Charger.
Many car owners have reported that their service brakes have suddenly become unpredictable and vibrate more. Other common 2019 Dodge Charger issues include non-fitting rear brake pads and fractured rotors, making driving uncomfortable and unsafe.
Premature engine failure is another typical complaint about the Dodge Charger. Many customers have reported a range of engine issues, ranging from motor failure to cylinder and valve damage. Because not all of these problems activated the model’s warning lights, some sedans went without warning until the engine failed.
A blown engine might shut down totally without notice, increasing the risk of a road disaster. Has your Charger been inspected by a professional regularly to detect and fix engine problems as soon as possible? If you’re considering purchasing this model, be sure the Dodge Charger you receive has no engine problems. Other issues include faulty radiator fans, shifter issues, software problems, transmission issues, alternator failure, and other electric problems.
Dodge Repair and Maintenance problems
During the first ten years of operation, Dodge models cost around $11,079 in maintenance and repairs. This price is $4,228 higher than the industry average for well-known brands. During that time, there is a 26.04 percent possibility that a Dodge may need extensive repairs. Compared to the other automakers in this segment that we looked at, this is 5.51 percent poorer.
The Basic Limited Warranty, generally known as a bumper-to-bumper warranty, covers every Dodge. For three years or 36,000 miles, this covers problems in parts or craft. Dodge offers one of the industry’s most extensive bumper-to-bumper warranties. Some features, for example, are not covered. These features include:
- Brake pads.
- Wiper blades.
- Shock absorbers.
- Glass upholstery.
The Dodge Basic Limited Warranty is not comprehensive. Damages caused by misuse of vehicles are left out.
And generally, the fewer repairs and overall issues your car has, the longer it will last you. This is why certain vehicles run relatively well, exceeding average expectations—
Dodge recall issues
Stellantis, the owner of the Chrysler and Dodge, had to recall some of its vehicles. The following are some of the recall issues associated with Dodge
- There was a recall in August 2020 concerning the backup camera image of the 2019 and 2020 Dodge Chargers.
- There was a recall for the Dodge Challengers and Chargers of 2019 for brake issues.
- Recall for faulty backup cameras on the Dodge Charger Pursuit.
- Dodge Recalls Dakota Pickups with Faulty Seat Warmers.
- There was a recall for about 19,000 Dodge vehicles because of an increased concern that the cars were susceptible to fire accidents.
Dodge hasn’t always had a good reputation for building reliable vehicles. Only Ram, Jeep, and Fiat were ranked lower than Dodge in the 2014 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey. Dodge has improved since that time. Currently, the brand is ranked among the top ten of Consumer Reports’ 2019 Auto Reliability Survey, which comprises vehicles from 2010 to 2019. The Dodge Challenger and Dodge Grand Caravan got above-average reliability ratings, propelling the Dodge brand to the eighth position in the rankings.
The previous reputation of Dodge vehicles does not want to seem to go away. Hence, lesser interest in the car means that more car buyers tend to shy away from them. Fewer users translate to lower popularity and acceptance.
Dodge has never been the most popular car, whether it’s a premium or non-luxury model. The company still has a long way to go before it is able to compete with the likes of Mercedes, Ford, and BMW. They must also work consciously to change the public’s perception of their reputation.
That’s not all; they must improve the reliability of their cars to make them more durable. Their automobiles are much more than just ordinary box cars with a bad reliability reputation. Conclusively, there is hope that the Dodge brand will become a more reputable brand and a household name in the future. They have lovely cars that are luxurious and have an outstanding driving performance.
Be sure to stay updated on the latest car trends as well—