Strap in because this is gonna hurt…
Electrification is the future of cars – that’s a message you’re probably hearing constantly at this point. Dodge has jumped on the bandwagon after initially resisting, releasing a video to joyously announce it’s become part of the procession. Meanwhile, the automotive media, which happily repeats the talking points handed to it by automakers, is fawning over the announcement before they even see the future all-electric muscle car or know the first thing about it.
Learn more about the Stellantis electrification plan here.
We get some shadowy view of what supposedly is the future all-electric Dodge muscle car. Some car news sites have already declared the concept is “retro” as if they can even tell. The car is surrounded by carbon-free smoke, of course, and sports a red glowing Fratzog badge on the nose. Later, the badge and “grille” surround glow white, giving me Tron vibes. Sure, this presentation looks badass, but remember when everyone was overly excited for the PT Cruiser? Yeah, I still remember.
What if this to-be-revealed model sucks in every way imaginable? That doesn’t seem to be a concern of anyone in the media. Instead, they’re just lapping up the fact Dodge, at the bidding of Stellantis, is finally falling into line. After all, for the longest time, the American brand thumbed its nose at other automakers who were dutifully going along with the “green” agenda, pursuing electrification which supposedly doesn’t pollute (a laughable claim). In other words, all the glowing articles about how brave and strong Dodge is for doing what everyone else is pursuing isn’t about the quality of a product, it’s about ensuring everyone knows you’re either on board with this agenda or you’re to be frowned upon.
The video announcement is just laced with nostalgic nostalgia since it’s made at the Dodge historic mansion with all kinds of iconic classic and modern cars parked on the circular driveway (ooooh, look, a ‘Cuda!). That’s supposed to make you feel the warm fuzzies in preparation for you to connect the good feels you get from those tried-and-true vehicles with this new, mysterious Dodge electric muscle car. In my opinion, that’s all the more reason to be skeptical, because this is how magicians distract you from what they’re really doing right before your very eyes.
Then you see Tim Kuniskis, the friendly American head of Dodge doing the bidding of his French bosses, teasingly lifting the corner of a cover on some red car we’re supposed to understand is the “future of Dodge.” Yeah, again I remember when the PT Cruiser was hailed as the future of Chrysler. Automakers get the future of their own brand, let alone driving itself, wrong all the time. This could easily be one more in a long line of huge miscalculations.
After all, Stellantis has disbanded SRT, spinning it as some vast improvement since the engineers from the former team are now scattered throughout the company. That disappointing news, which the automotive media pushed as something positive while parroting the talking points Stellantis handed to them, followed after years of indirect teasing that the 'Cuda would make a comeback. Maybe it really will and this is what we're seeing - help us all if that's true.
Long ago in school, I learned repeatedly that in free markets when businesses try telling consumers what they want it doesn’t go well. I've seen this play out in the real world repeatedly. I hope this isn’t going to be one of those situations, but this certainly seems to have that potential. Also, I hope we continue to have a free market so consumers can push back against whatever they deem undesirable.
When it was revealed Fiat Chrysler would be merging with Peugeot, I knew immediately electrification would be a top priority. After all, the French automaker is big in that realm, almost fanatically pushing little EVs and trying to convince American consumers they're great (they're not). With a disproportianate number of top executives in Stellantis hailing from Peugeot, it was apparent from the beginning which way the wind was blowing.
As automakers all link arms and walk in lockstep, they can convince us we all need electrified vehicles by force. That’s supposed to be a good thing because we’re roasting tires but not the planet, or some other cheesy slogan. Also, the science is settled, carbon will kill us all as global temperatures rise 2 degrees, etc. Anytime dissension is obliterated by any group I get suspicious, no matter the situation. If what you’re pushing is the truth, then you would welcome open debate and close examination, not unquestioning acceptance.
I’m not saying this future Dodge all-electric muscle car is going to suck – I don’t know what it’s going to be like. That’s the point, nobody knows, but as you see the automotive media just drooling over it when they don’t know a damn thing about the car, that should tell you plenty about their motivations.
Speaking of motivations, in the video Kuniskis says “Dodge will not sell electric cars; Dodge will sell American eMuscle.” Can someone please tell me what the hell that even means? Aren’t “eMuscle” just electric cars with a different name? Talk about gaslighting the consumer.
Fortunately, chatter in enthusiasts groups seems to be largely skeptical if not downright furious about this move. There were many, many memes floating around about how Dodge was the final holdout against this push to force people into electric cars and a lot of fans of the brand feel betrayed. Is that what’s going on? It’s hard to say, but people aren’t happy. The fact YouTube hid the likes and dislikes totals for the video is clear evidence Dodge knows the masses won’t like this announcement one bit, but they have to try hiding that fact.
There’s so much marketing doublespeak in this video that untangling it all would take considerable effort, and I think that’s the point. Let’s just say this whole move seems calculating, not in the sense that Dodge is giving the people what they want, but instead that it’s trying to convince consumers what it’s giving them is what they always wanted but were too dumb to realize it.
Well, the Dodge performance upswing was fun while it lasted, but I think the ride is just about over.