Chrysler’s mistake with the Dodge and Ram brands

Today Chrysler officially announced that they will be splitting the Ram pickup away from the Dodge brand, and making “Ram” a separate brand. Pickuptruck.com has posted 5 reasons why it’s wrong to divorce Ram trucks from the Dodge brand. And they’re good ones, chiefly that Ram truck owners think of their trucks as Dodges and are the brand most loyal customers. Continue this line of reasoning, and it becomes clear that, while a split might make sense, Chrysler’s execution is all wrong.

The facts, as Chrysler understands them: people strongly associate the Dodge brand with trucks, and as a result Dodge’s cars get overshadowed. Meanwhile, they want to move Dodge cars away from the current macho positioning and towards new lifestyles or whatnot.

So they don’t want the Dodge brand to mean anything that it currently means.

In this case, why not let Dodge be trucks, and resurrect Plymouth or Eagle for the cars? If they’re starting from scratch with the Dodge brand anyway, why not start with a new or mothballed brand? This way they’d only have to build one new brand–a task with a low probability of success in the best of conditions–not two. They could work with Dodge’s current image rather than fighting it.

There’s simply no need to get rid of the bird they have in their hand in order to go after a second in the bush. With their current plan they risk ending up with no brands that mean anything.

  • GoClick

    Because Plymouth has a bad reputation, not as bad as Eagle, they’re seen as failed brands, nobody wants to drive a failure.

    Dodge is seen as a brand for “winners”. Dodge is easy to say, easy to write, and full of grit, just the right place to start a lifestyle brand. Have you seen the people who drive the Caliber, Avenger, Magnum and even the poor Crossfire? Exactly, they’re not going to buy a old man’s Plymouth. The Plymouths driving around are all rust buckets anyways.

    They should have started a new brand and called it something like Scion… oh wait that’s taken. Anyways splitting the truck brand will obsolete all those “If you can’t RAM it DODGE it stickers” and I’m good with that.