American Classic Car Insurance: History of Dodge
Long before Horace and John Dodge ever produced a vehicle under their own brand, the brothers were fully engaged in the art of auto making in the early twentieth century. Horace and John Dodge founded the Dodge Brothers Company in 1900, originally as a supplier or automotive parts and components for many of the local Detroit automakers. In 1903 the bothers entered an exclusive agreement with Henry Ford where they agreed to supply the freshly incorporated Ford Motor Company with 650 automotive chassis complete with engines, axles and transmissions as the first contract. The brothers also agreed to invest $7,000 in materials and $3,000 in bank notes in Ford’s new endeavor for 100 company shares. These chassis would be the basis for the first Ford automobiles to roll off the line. Their partnership continued over the next fifteen years however by 1905 Ford began preparations to produce their own engines to keep costs down for the upcoming Model N.
Ford later bought out the 100 stock shares owned by the brothers, who at that point had seen a 32 million dollar return on their initial investment in the Ford Motor Company. This lucrative partnership allowed the brothers to gain their own prominence and momentum in the automotive industry. In 1913 Ford and the Dodge brothers severed their relationship with Ford to begin manufacturing and assembling their own automobiles. The Dodge reputation for quality was reportedly so widespread that some 13,000 dealers asked to become Dodge agents before the brothers even released their first vehicle. As their first order of business, the Dodges decided to produce a high-quality vehicle that would sell for about $800, and therefore not have to compete with Ford’s Model T. Their first model affectionately deemed “Old Betsy,” was methodically tested for safety and functionality before it rolled off the assembly line to much success in 1914. The following year Dodge produced 45,053 cars at their Michigan plant. In1920 Dodge had its most successful year to date, they produced145,000 vehicles despite losing founder Horace.
In 1928 Walter P. Chrysler bought Dodge, rescuing the then luxury car brand from weak profits and near bankruptcy. With the addition of Dodge, Chrysler now held four major car lines and instantly became America’s third largest automaker. To fit better into the Chrysler Corporation lineup, Dodge’s production lineup was trimmed down to a core group of two lines and thirteen models which would be priced as mid-level autos above Plymoth and DeSoto. The Dodge adding a new eight-cylinder engine into their line up reasserting themselves as a powerful yet safe family friendly vehicle line. During World War II, Dodge gained prestige with civilians and the military for their heavy-duty, durable and dependable trucks and medical vehicles. This notoriety would lead to a longstanding investment in commercial vehicle production.
Today dodge is known for their truck and commercial vehicle, as well as their strong presence in the American muscle car sector. The Dodge Charger being one of the bands most notable claims to fame.
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