Among the oldest automotive brands still existent, Dodge was started by brothers Horace and John Dodge in 1900 in Detroit. The company soon gained a reputation for advanced designs that offered a little more luxury than was the norm for mainstream cars, but Dodge really came into its own after its trucks won acclaim from military users during the U.S. Army's Pancho Villa Expedition in Mexico.
The automaker became a part of Chrysler in the late 1920s...
and although trucks remained a staple of its lineup, the brand was recast in the middle of Chrysler's lineup. By the 1960s, Dodge was one of the segment's major muscle car players and models like the Super Bee, Charger and Challenger command top dollar from collectors today.
But Dodge, like the rest of the domestic auto industry, stumbled following the 1973 oil crisis. Its lineup became increasingly dour, saved only by the Dodge Caravan minivan in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, however, Dodge was back, with innovative products like the roomy and stylish "cab-forward" Intrepid and the ferocious V10-powered Viper.
With parent company Chrysler now marketing its trucks exclusively under the Ram badge, Dodge has been recast as a sport-oriented mainstream, high volume competitor to brands like Toyota, Ford and Nissan. It slots in below Chrysler's namesake division, which has been positioned upmarket, and above low-cost Fiat products.
Dodge's lineup is anchored at the top by its Charger sedan and Challenger coupe, both of which offer more evocative designs than are typically found in the class. Even though pickups are no longer part of Dodge's lineup, the division continues to offer SUVs and crossovers like the Durango and Journey.