I'm Thankful For: Chrysler and Dodge

We live in a time right now where more and more people are signing checks for down-payments on a new crossover almost every few minutes. I can walk out into any lot and stand on my tip-toes, trying to see where I parked my black station wagon hiding away in a deep horde of crossovers that all look the same. This craze is like when the Furby arrived on the shelves at Toys R Us for the very first time, consumers went absolutely nuts, and desperately had to have one.

At the start of every new month, I devour the prior month’s sales numbers like pumpkin pie, eagerly analyzing every single line of it. Let’s take a look at October 2018’s data:

  • Toyota sold 34,004 RAV4s
  • Honda sold 27,825 CR-Vs
  • Chevrolet sold 27,820 Equinox
  • Nissan sold 27,748 Rouges

Of the top ten vehicles that rolled off dealer lots last month, four were crossovers. This shouldn’t come as a shock, but additional affirmation that today’s car shopping trends have changed. But contrary to perception, people are still buying sedans, and that makes me so happy. Bringing in the rear of that top ten list were the Toyota Camry (with 26,914 sold), and Honda’s Accord (23,778) and Civic (22,450); all fantastic choices.
While I admittedly used to hate  and despise crossovers, I’ve started to warm up to them and am slowly beginning to grasp an understanding as to why they’re now the go-to choice, for so many. At the moment I’ve got the keys to a nice, new Jeep Compass Latitude to review on my travel blog, and while it looks sharp, is comfortable to drive, and loaded with all sorts of great tech- I still feel somewhat disconnected. It doesn’t fit me and I can’t see myself in one.
I’d rather spend the money on an actual sedan, an actual car, and wow the playing field for the sedan segment has changed for better, and for worse.  I think these past two years have been an exciting evolution for the sedan. While a few manufacturers are pulling the plug on sedans big and small, others are fueling money into them, and I couldn’t be more happy about that.
When Ford foolishly announced they’re killing off pretty much their entire row of cars, except for the Mustang, a decision  horrible, straight dumb, and unfair their loyal buyers, I became slightly discouraged other OEMs would follow suit. It’s a shame the Taurus, Focus, and Fiesta will soon be no more. Not everyone wants to buy a crossover, pickup truck, or SUV. Some people just want a car, and soon they’ll be flocking to Ford’s rivals with open wallets.
But as America’s blue oval falls into the crossover trap, other American brands are still dedicating passion, innovation, and, power to their beloved four-door gems. Especially Dodge and Chrysler.
Dodge still builds the Charger, a rear-wheel-drive, bold muscular family car with the heart of an bald eagle that can be equipped with 370- and 485-horsepower V8s. If that’s not enough, opt for the 707 horsepower SRT Hellcat. Seven-hundred…and seven….horsepower in a four-door sedan, for less than $68,000. Think about that, folks. There’s even the sporty Charger GT which brings all-wheel-drive to the game.
Chrysler still sells the classy 300, which is honestly one of my favorite cars to buy on the market. It’s the last big, proper, American luxury sedan. The lavish 300 has all the right ingredients: a strong V8, rear-wheel-drive, posh comfort, and that simple yet elegant styling you’d feel proud and honored parking in your drive way. The 300 retains all of that traditional sedan DNA I love, yet keeps pace with the times offering plenty of today’s high-tech goodies to like forward-collision warning with automatic braking and the perfect Uconnect touch-screen multimedia system, easily the best in the biz.
Months ago I shot photos of a new 300S to accompany a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the 363 horsepower sporty model with tuned suspension and  black wheels. On the top floor of a parking garage in front of a tan brick facade, I stared through my lens at this Ocean Blue Metallic Blue motoring icon from Detroit. Its appearance striking and commanding respect. I felt as if I were shooting pics of a politician or a jazz artist with multiple platinum albums. The Chrysler 300 really is a special car, and sadly there aren’t many like it out there any more.
Remember twenty years ago, when Chrysler had a full car lineup?  There was the Sebring coupe, sedan and convertible, Cirrus, Concorde, PT Cruiser. But 2018 is different. As the number of “cars” in the FCA family continues to dwindle though, I’m keeping my fingers crossed tight that the 300 stays in production.
Please, please, please Chrysler, do it for Walter.

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15 responses to “I'm Thankful For: Chrysler and Dodge”

  1. Satan McVillain Avatar
    Satan McVillain

    I’m thankful for my 56 year old Dodge. She’s been ever faithful for 18 years.

    1. Troggy Avatar

      I had a Falcon like that. 20 years old, faithful for 12. I’d rather not talk about the remaining 8 years. I miss the power. I don’t miss its ever increasing appetite for parts and transmission oil and coolant and brake rotors.

  2. Manxman Avatar

    I’m thankful for Dodge but missing Plymouth and Desoto at the same time. The fins, how I love the fins (the fins on cars not the Finns of Finland, although I do admire the Finns for their successes in the Winter Olympics in Nordic sports).

      1. Manxman Avatar

        The Finns have an aFINity for motorsports.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      I’m missing DeSoto, for sure, because I still wish for a ’55 Firedome. My interest in Plymouth is limited– most of the time the Dodge/Chrysler/Imperial/DeSoto models were more appealing. I do, however, really like the second-generation Barracuda hardtop, much more so than the ’70-’71 that everyone makes such a fuss about.

  3. Victor Avatar

    Land speed record holder Betty Skelton jumping a Dodge in a boat . https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ca3d9fba217d73bbbce58d0943f0b473b8d08f027d71352ae94166a404f7a61a.jpg

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      I love her expression – she’s absolutely stoked!

      1. Victor Avatar

        She had a biplane and set records with that . Brave woman.

    2. Andrew Pierce Avatar
      Andrew Pierce

      I see her #1 goal was to not hit the Dodge, and painted the boat to reflect that.

  4. Zentropy Avatar

    I have tremendous respect for the fact that Chrysler still offers the RWD 300, Charger, and Challenger with such potent, traditional engine options. I’m still a bit miffed that I can’t get a manual-trans Charger, though. I love the look of the Challenger, but coupes are as useless to me as designer jeans.

    1. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      Should you wish to get your hands greasy, or pay someone who does, you can swap manual Challenger parts into a Charger or 300. You will need to deal with ECM change and emissions compliance, but the swap is very doable.

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        I’ve considered as much– and the thought is very appealing– but that raises both the literal and opportunity costs much higher than I want to pay for a manual Charger. It’d be much simpler if FCA just did it for me.

        1. Harry Callahan Avatar
          Harry Callahan

          Indeed. I have the same issues. In California, where I live, if a drivetrain is modified any way, there is a cumbersome process to secure emissions certification too…which add whole additional layer of uncertainty…..