DETROIT –Group’s Dodge brand will make its debut on European shores later this year with the introduction of the Dodge Viper.
The sports car will be followed by a number of new Dodges designed to appeal to European consumers.
The announcement comes moments after Dodge rolls out its Sling Shot concept car at the North American International Auto Show here, which is based off the Smart Roadster platform. Both Smart andare members of DaimlerChrysler AG.
While there are no immediate plans to produce the Sling Shot, it does hint at the possible future for Dodge in Europe, Chrysler executives say.
While most of the products Dodge sells in the U.S. also will be sold in Europe, there will be some limits, says Eric Ridenour, Chrysler’s product development chief. Dodge vehicles currently out of consideration for Europe: the Magnum and the Ram pickup truck.
Ridenour says Chrysler’s engineers will have to make minor modifications to Dodge-brand vehicles to make them suitable for European consumers.
“They will be the same basic architecture for the vehicles sold in both markets. The suspension and brakes will have to be tuned for each market,” he says.
Ridenour refuses to speculate on whether future Dodge vehicles for Europe will share platforms of either Mercedes-Benz or Smart. “Everything is possible,” he says.