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The Meaning Behind the Names of Dodge’s Vehicles

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Dodge has added four new trim levels to the 2017 Challenger muscle car

We accept the “challenge” of determining where the Dodge models derive their names from

Dodge has some of the toughest vehicles in the industry featured throughout its lineup. Such vehicles need tough-sounding names to match their performance capabilities.

Throughout the company’s 117-year history, names like “Challenger” and “Durango” have commanded respect. But how exactly were these names chosen by Dodge?

Here at The News Wheel, we did some digging into the history of Dodge’s current model lineup. Our research has turned up the meaning behind the names of Dodge’s vehicles.


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Challenger The current flagship muscle car in Dodge’s lineup is named after the Dodge Challenger muscle car from the 1970s. A “challenger” is something that engages in a contest and the original Dodge Challenger was in competition with the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. In that regard, not much has changed.
Charger There have been several Dodge Chargers over the course of the brand’s history. After a 19-year hiatus, the Charger namesake entered the Dodge lineup once again. A “charger” is a horse trained for battle and the Dodge Charger has plenty of horsepower.
Dart Although Dodge’s signature small sedan might be on its way out, the Dart nameplate still has a lot of history behind it. During its development, the original Dart was supposed to be named the Dodge Zipp, another term meaning to move somewhere suddenly. For what it’s worth, we’re glad the name “Dart” was chosen instead.
Viper For the past 25 years, the Dodge Viper has held its place as Dodge’s premier performance model. When it was first developed, the Viper was greatly influenced by Ford’s Cobra model. This is why the Dodge team named it after a viper, a venomous snake with large, hinged fangs.
Journey The name “Journey” was an obvious choice for Dodge’s mid-size SUV model, designed for long family trips. After all, a “journey” is the act of traveling from one place to another.
Durango The Dodge Durango adopts its name from Durango, Colorado, which in turn is named after the Mexican state of Durango. The Durango was also released as the Chrysler Aspen, which took its name from another city in Colorado.
Caravan Minivans are some of the best vehicles for transporting your cargo and your crew. That’s why the Caravan moniker works so well for Dodge’s minivan, as a “caravan” is a large group of people traveling in a single file with animals and supplies.
Hellcat Dodge’s Hellcat models are some of the most powerful vehicles in the industry. Their spirited performance reflects the fighting spirit of their namesake: the Grumman F6F Hellcat, an American fighter aircraft used during WWII.
Demon First used for a coupe variant of the 1971-72 model of the Dodge Dart, the Demon nameplate has now been applied to the upcoming 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Although the modern definition of “demon” describes a malevolent supernatural being, the word originates from the Greek term “daemon,” which described any powerful spirit, malevolent or otherwise.

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Choosing the right name for its vehicles is very important to Dodge. After all, the motor company still derives its own names from its founders, brothers Horace and John Dodge.