Dodge makes up roughly 3 percent of new vehicle sales in the US market. But according to Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA Passenger cars, that’s fine. If you couldn’t tell by now, the muscle car brand is not trying to appeal to everybody. But those who have joined the three-percent ranks of the Brotherhood of Muscle, are looking for exactly that. Dodge is currently offering a concentration of the unapologetic, most charismatic and most horsepower-focused vehicles on the market today.
“The customer base has been absolutely amazing,” said Kuniskis in an interview with MC&T, pointing out that the brand’s portfolio is largely based on a horsepower hierarchy, and little else. “The variants of Dodge’s vehicles are largely based on power and not ‘this one has leather and this one doesn’t.’ That has been very important for our growth,” he added.
The fun-having aura of the Dodge brand is also amplified by its focus straight-line speed and performance, which is a conscious decision on their part. And one that resonates more with customers than, say, the arguably more technical road-course-oriented approach that other brands like to concentrate on.
“What our customers want and the reason we went into the (drag racing) space is because seven times the amount of customers ‘identify’ with drag racing, compared to road course racing,” said Kuniskis. “It doesn’t mean they’ve ever been to a drag strip in their life. And it’s not because they’ve even been in a fast car. It’s because they’ve all been at a stop light, and all tried to race their buddy next to them.”
Green. Stomp. Go. Ugga Bugga. A winning formula.
Dodge currently offers some of the quickest and fastest cars in the world when it comes to sheer straight-line speed. While it’s not a 9-second car like the Demon, the Dodge Challenger Super Stock muscle car can achieve a quarter-mile time of just 10.5 seconds. Meanwhile, the new 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye is the fastest sedan in the world with a top speed of 203 miles per hour. Still, many vehicles in the Dodge muscle car portfolio largely look the same. Despite some criticism, Kuniskis claims it’s all part of the plan.
“I want you to mistake a $30,000 Challenger for a $90,000 Redeye… you don’t only have a Hemi 5.7, you have a Challenger. You are part of this team,” he said. “It’s very important for everyone to feel part of that thing,” he said. Does that mean the Brotherhood of Muscle is also a brotherhood of love? Based on what its leader has to say, it certainly seems like it.
“I want the brand to be super inclusive. If you can afford a $30,000 car, I want you part of this family. I want you coming in and having you feel like something cool that’s bigger than your car. And your purchase is part of this lifestyle known as Dodge.”
Just as well, Kuniskis seems to be a fan of all performance cars. Just so long as they’re around.
“I’ve been waiting for a mid-engine Corvette since I was 15 I think… I love performance cars,” he said. “I’d love to drive a mid-engine Corvette. I’d love to drive a GT500. I don’t care who builds them.”