Dodge is one of the most iconic and long-lasting American automakers -- for a good reason. The Detroit auto firm has been in business since before the First World War, building a reputation on solid cars that have gusto and workhorse trucks.
Joining the "Big Three"
It doesn't get much more All-American than Dodge. In 1900, brothers John and Horace Dodge launched the Dodge Brothers Company, making parts for various automakers in Detroit, including the Ford Motor Company. After John, according to Wikipedia, said that he was "tired of being carried around in Henry Ford's vest pocket," they decided to show him up at his own game.
In 1914, Dodge started selling the Dodge Model 30. Billed as a step up from the uber-popular Ford Model T, it became the second-best selling car in America by 1916. Sales began slipping in the 1920s, culminating in the brand being sold to Chrysler in 1928. However, Dodge was able to regain ground with later updates to their offerings and working vehicles that had an unmatched reputation for their reliability.
Dodge trucks had a reputation going into World War II as indomitable working vehicles, which is why the Army bought a lot of them for use in the services. Unstoppable trucks have been a trademark of Dodge ever since.
After the war, Dodge went right back into the car business and reached its pinnacle during the muscle car era, producing some of the most iconic muscle cars of all time. Dodge fielded cars ranging from family sedans to hot rods with enough power to clobber a bull elephant, especially the models equipped with the legendary Hemi engine.
The effects of embargo and return to glory
Unfortunately, according to the Dodge History page on Edmunds.com, the late 1970s brought the company to its knees, as muscle cars weren't exactly compatible with oil shortages. Some success with small cars followed, but then-Chrysler boss Lee Iaccoca had to stage the first auto bailout, by getting loans from the government to keep Dodge afloat. However, he also presided over the development of the Dodge Caravan, the best-selling minivan in history and the vehicle that launched the mini-van platform.
Tough and terrifyingly powerful
Since the 1990s, Dodge has been the performance car wing of Chrysler and one of the most popular truck makers among American firms, and Dodge continues to do very well in that regard. During the past few years, retro-styling has accompanied performance as Dodge successfully brought back the Charger and the Challenger, two of its best-selling muscle cars from the hey-day of Detroit muscle. Both also have the Hemi engine, as do Dodge trucks. A Dodge is sure to be resilient and have power to spare, which is why Dodge has endured for so long.