A convertible is so not Dodge.
So says Steven Landry, the division's new vice president of marketing and product planning.
Dodge's national dealer council seeks four new products, including a convertible. Don't hold your breath for the latter, Landry says.
"Dodge isn't tennis or chess," Landry told Automotive News. "It is hockey. It's rodeo. It's NASCAR. That is what it is. It is what most Americans are. So I would say it doesn't need a convertible."
Adding a convertible to Dodge showrooms has stimulated a debate within the company, Landry concedes. But a convertible, he argues, "doesn't fit with the bold, capable, street-smart kind of attitude of Dodge."
Jon Myers, a Dodge dealer in Naples, Fla., and chairman of the national dealer council, disagrees. "We need a convertible," he says. "We don't have one, and all of our major competitors do - Toyota, Chevy, Ford."
The Chrysler brand, Myers notes, has three convertibles in its showrooms: the Crossfire, PT Cruiser and Sebring.
Chrysler also has confirmed it is studying the Helios convertible concept created by ASC Inc. in Southgate, Mich. The Helios is based on a modified Chrysler 300C sedan.
The other vehicles Dodge dealers say they want are 4500 and 5500 medium-duty trucks, a so-called Korean-fighter car that would cost less than $10,000, and a small SUV. The 2007 Dodge Nitro SUV, based on the Jeep Liberty platform, arrives next year.
In other product matters, Landry says:
"The study will take another 30 to 45 days," Landry says. "That's the good news. The bad news is the engine itself will take a couple of years. It has to be crashed."
The Caliber's diesel engine is not adapted for the United States, he says.
The "Go ManGo!" Charger is sold out, Landry says. Dodge will start building 4,000 units of the "Top Banana" Charger Nov. 1.
The special models feature so-called heritage paint colors. Dodge originally used the "Go ManGo!" metallic orange paint color on the 1970 Charger.
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