Competitive Compact the Next Step for Dodge Says Brand Boss; No Plans for B-Segment

With both Chevrolet and Ford now offering serious rivals to cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, a competitive C-segment Dodge is a next major step for the brand says CEO Ralf Gilles.

The slow-selling Caliber is rumored to be retired next year, and Dodge is preparing a new compact car based on a Fiat-derived platform said Gilles in a sit-down interview at the Chicago Auto Show. As a Dodge, it will get a unique body and interior and it will get tuning by Dodge engineers to better suit the needs of American consumers.

Gilles, it should be noted, was on hand to help showcase Dodge’s tuning prowesse in Chicago with the reveal of five sporty R/T models, including the Grand Caravan R/T and Journey R/T, which are designed to appeal to a certain type of buyer, but to also show that Dodge can make some rather pedestrian vehicles fun. “You’d be astonished what these cars can do when peoprely tuned,” says Gilles.

No details about powertrains are available, but the car is said to be targeting 40-mpg – something it will have to achieve in order for it to be competitive.

When asked the increasingly popular sub-compact segment, Gilles, somewhat surprisingly, answered that Dodge has no plans to compete at that low end of the market where both Ford and Chevy have just introduced new models, the Fiesta and Spark. Along with the new focus on compacts, the reasoning likely has a lot to do with not stepping on Fiat’s toes as it begins to sell the tiny 500 here in North America.

“We’re really going to concentrate on a solid rival to anything from the Honda Civic to Ford Focus,” says Gilles.