Mexico's current Dodge Neon
The year was 1993 and Dodge was looking to move away from it's past. With the 80's now gone and the 90's starting to take off, it seems the the people at Chrysler Corp. were looking for a way to move their lineup into the future. And with great ideas like the Viper and new Ram pickup, it just seemed plausible that they would too revitalize their bottom end as well.
During the 90's Minivans were all the rage and the CUV craze of the early 00's had not yet materialize. So at this time in history you still needed a full lineup of cars to compete in the marketplace. Sure the new Ram would change the industry, just as the Viper had just done, but that was still a year away. And with the Shadow looking long in the tooth, it was time for a change. So with that very thought Chrysler set out to change their entire lineup of vehicles before the end of 1995.
Back in 95 the internet was just moving into our homes and with it came a new lineup of vehicles from Dodge. But it wasn't the new Stratus or Intrepid that were turning heads. No it was the little car that thought it could, that little Neon that would bring back something that Dodge had never had before. Sure the Neon wasn't the best looking compact out there, but compared to the Escort and Cavalier of the time, it was a different and more modern design of the times.
The Neon came to life as a sedan and coupe, two models that were big sellers in the compact ring. But unlike the competition Dodge never created a hatchback or wagon version of this vehicle. Two segments which were still big at this time and as the years past would become bigger.
But next to the sedan and coupe models, Dodge decided to add a bit of the Viper to this little model as it released the Viper GTS inspired Neon R/T. Sure it wasn't as potent as the later SRT/4, but it still made a point about how it could be utilized for the aftermarket world. And that is were the Neon would hit its good point.
Over the following decade, Dodge made a few upgrades and changed the design just before the year 2000. Sure the next step in its evolution was a bit better, but they decided to drop the coupe from the lineup. Sure coupes were now a dying breed, but still without another variation, this model was on the long train to nowhere.
Before the end of second generation Dodge decided to finally add their SRT badge to this model to help bring back the aftermarket world. It didn't work and this model was on its way out.
But with that mistake came a possibility and that possibility came in the form of one country, Mexico. Sure Mexico has seen its fair share of different crossover models over the years, but the Neon nameplate was never one that truly lost its core. As Mexico still has a love affair with small cars, it seems that it took FCA to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure back in America we came face to face with the new Dart, but truly this model was just a reincarnated version of the ill fated Neon. We all could see through the name, but in Mexico they chose to stay with something that was once great.
As FCA has moved from country to country ripping apart its individual lineups, it has seemed to have lost its spark within the American marketplace. We know that this market isn't geared towards sedans anymore, but still it would be nice to see something a little bit more affordable from the Dodge nameplate. So we have to ask why Mexico gets a sub-compact and two compacts, when the American marketplace couldn't even get one.
Well that answer comes in the form of production. Sure the Dart was a decent ride, but it was made in a factory in suburbia America, not industrial wasteland China or back desert Mexico. So in a way the Dart was doomed to fail from the start. Sure it had 200 sedan to work with, but really if FCA wanted to get into this market, it should have done with another countries help. That is what they are doing in Mexico as the Neon is a Tipo, the Attitude is a Mitsubishi Mirage and the Vision is a Fiat Linea. All imported from other countries wearing the Dodge badge. So why coundn't FCA do this for the Dart. Well that is a good question that you would have to ask them.
As for us we wish that FCA would get their head out their a** and work on a global not regional lineup for their products. Along with utilizing the best from all lineups for each other. Their is no reason why the Tipo couldn't be used in America or the Journey be used in Europe.
When you find your way out FCA let us know as we would love to see you fully utilize your global product lines.
If you want to see what Dodge has in Mexico, follow the link below:
Dodge Mexico Lineup
#AutoLooks, @icst88, AutoLooks.net
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