Dodge has always been the poor brother to Chrysler in the Chinese market which puts it in an extremely poor standing right now considering that Chrysler sells just two models in China (the 300C and the Town and Country) whilst Dodge sells just the JCUV.
At its peak in the Chinese market Dodge sold the JCUV (Journey), Avenger and the Dodge Caravan, the latter being made by SouEast Motors under license. What has changed? Chrysler fell under Fiat control and certain models were canned for the Chinese market, the JCUV’s 2.7L V6 has been removed in favor of a smaller 2.4L four cylinder (which is selling quite well), the Avenger has been removed from the market as an imported vehicle it was woefully uncompetitive against locally made Toyota Camry and Honda Accord models and the Caravan has quietly gone out of production thanks to a lack of demand. Which leaves the JCUV as the sole product in the Dodge China line up.
Even at the Shanghai Auto Show in April this year Dodge was not present on the large Chrylser-Jeep stand, Jeep is the star of Fiat Chrysler’s China line up with a seeming never ending list of consumers that want a taste of American AWD success, but there is not much love for Chrysler’s Made in Detroit tagline and even less love for Dodge. On the media day Dodge was no-where to be found.
Dodge’s Chinese website now just displays a single model, a link to Dodge’s Global Site gives Chinese consumer a taste of what could potentially come to China but thankfully the gray market is supplying Chinese consumers with Challengers, Chargers and RAM trucks, albeit at a healthy mark up.
So what could Dodge do to keep itself relevant in China? Dodge has always been seen as a sporting brand, perhaps Dodge could cash in on this by pushing the Dart into production in China, after all its sister car the Fiat Viaggio is built and sold in China. Ford also offer their Ford Explorer in the Chinese market, it’s not cheap but it is selling slowly but surely, Dodge could perhaps offer the Durango in a smaller V6 or the Grand Caravan as an alternative to established market leaders.