Dodge’s “in-your-face” design cues are seen as archetypically American in the minds of many Europeans and could work for and against the brand.
Buthas no plans to drastically compromise design theme – no matter where the cars are sold.
“One of the reasons we brought Dodge to Europe was because the products created by Dodge couldn’t be sold as anything else,” Eric Ridenour, executive vice president–product development, Chrysler Group, tells Ward’s at the auto show here.
Charger will not migrate to Europe.
“We would not bring a Dodge-branded product to Europe and badge its as something else in order for it to sell. We made that decision very quickly that Dodge would be the same everywhere in the world,” he says. “We think that the brand is so important that we want to make sure that it’s consistent.”
Ridenour says most of the tailoring for European markets will be limited to option packages and powertrain offerings.
“There certainly is a tailoring for the unique markets, so that when we bring a vehicle to Europe we appreciate that the size segments create different options and different requirements on what might be standard and what might be optional,” he says.
Additionally, European crash-testing requirements, specifically pedestrian safety standards, will require some tweaking of vehicle designs from the U.S. to Europe, although the changes will not be radical, Ridenour says.
“There may be some subtle (style) tuning differences,” he says. “To meet those (European crash test) standards may require some things that we’re not sure would resonate with the U.S. consumer – and we’re not sure whether they would resonate with the European consumer, but it’s a requirement here. Potentially you might see a similarly themed, but different, fascia” on a vehicle for the European market.
Chrysler is not backing away on plans to exclude its Dodge Charger from the European market, at least for now. The Charger’s front fascia design does not meet the European pedestrian impact standards, and sources within Chrysler say the changes needed would be too costly and too radical and would impede on the brand character of the vehicle.
Ridenour says the Charger was under development long before Chrysler made the final decision to bring Dodge to Europe.
“Charger was never intended to come to Europe,” he says. “It was at the time viewed as being very American. It’s still our current intent not to bring Charger here.”