10 February 2005

This is the car that will spearhead Dodge’s UK launch. Over the next three years, DaimlerChrysler’s most American of brands will move into dealerships alongside Chrysler and Jeep, while developing three new models majoring on bold styling, power, functionality and, above all, good value.

The sporty five-door hatchback-cum-MPV revealed in these spy pictures will follow the new SRT-10 supercar, and will rival the likes of the Peugeot 307 SW. Known to Dodge insiders as the ‘tall wagon’, it is being co-developed with Mitsubishi on the next-generation Lancer platform and will be launched next year. The styling is said to be a dramatic mix, with a coupé-shaped roof and MPV profile. The cabin will be very flexible.

Following in 2007 will be a compact five-door, five-seater 4x4 based on Jeep’s Cherokee. With aggressive styling, including Dodge’s hallmark flared wheelarches and ‘cross-hair’ grille, its inspiration is said to be the retro-styled M80 pick-up concept car from the 2002 Detroit Motor Show.

In 2008, a family car, expected to be a similar size to Ford’s Mondeo, will appear in the UK. Based on the next Mitsubishi Galant platform, it will replace Dodge’s Stratus saloon in the US. Sources suggest the design will draw heavily on the Dodge Charger shown at this year’s Detroit show.

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DaimlerChrysler’s global marketing boss Joe Eberhardt hinted that there would be other models to follow. ‘Fast forward five years and we will have complete product portfolios for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge,’ he told Autocar. ‘Each will have very different priorities and focuses and will be different enough to be successful.’

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