Dodge said Monday it will introduce at least one new product or announcement to auto enthusiasts every quarter for the next two years in the run-up to the next generation of muscle cars.
The “Never Lift” campaign includes 16 announcements over 24 months, ranging from large to small, said Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis during a pre-recorded virtual presentation. He gave a sense of what some of those upcoming efforts are, including vehicle giveaways, the search for a $150,000 “chief donut officer” and the return of the brand’s Direct Connection program. Other announcements are teased on a calendar of symbols, including Dodge’s electrification logo that likely relates to the plug-in hybrid expected to debut next year.
“Some will be small, but there will also be some that will be game changers,” said Kuniskis from the Conner Center in Detroit. “Today is the first step in redefining the future of American muscle mass.”
Upcoming first is “Operation 25/8,” an eight-week 25-car giveaway in partnership with Amazon.com Inc. Twenty-five athletes, musicians and automotive experts offer muscle car enthusiasts a challenge and a chance to drive away in a new Dodge of their choice. More details will be available on Friday.
The company is also looking for an ambassador to represent Dodge at races, shows and other events. Perks include a Hellcat to drive, a $150,000 salary for one year, Dodge brand equipment, and a chief donut maker business card. The scroll is intended to honor an unsung enthusiast who honors the legacy of the Dodge brothers (John and Horace, who founded the brand in the early 1900s), Kuniskis said. More details will be available on January 12.
“It’s an invitation to anyone who sees themselves as part of the muscle family brotherhood,” Kuniskis said. “Before the Dodge brothers were legends in the auto industry, they were go-getters with sloppiness, never satisfied to follow the trends. They had the tenacity to set the pace. They were looking for a better, faster, more outrageous way of doing things We are looking for someone like her as an ambassador for Never Lift.”
More important for the brand, however, is the return on December 15 of its Direct Connection program, an initiative launched in 1974 that offered performance parts and technical information directly from the manufacturer. Direct Connection will again feature a telephone hotline with technical information and parts catalogue, as well as an online performance parts website and concierge call center.
“Never before had an OEM been so open to sharing the secrets within,” Kuniskis said. “Today, this pipeline reopens, straight from the staging area to the engineers in Auburn Hills to a Dodge Power Broker near you.”
New Dodge Power Brokers will serve as the exclusive source for these performance parts. Power Brokers are certified dealers with sales, service and parts department personnel to meet “high standards of extensive knowledge and expertise” of Dodge vehicle features, quality parts and installation, as well as motorsport programs.
The sales staff at power brokers can guide customers through the performance features and available upgrades of the Dodge vehicles. Vehicles with upgrades installed by a Power Brokers dealer will retain their manufacturer’s warranty on the vehicle. The certified dealers will also host performance clinics and offer a full range of performance models available for test drives.
“Every Dodge dealer in the country will continue to provide an excellent sales and service experience,” said Kuniskis. “But if you want to go deep, if you want to talk about torque curves, gear ratio, suspension tuning and what you need to get your vehicles into the nines, we’re going to tell you who the sales, service and parts professionals are in our network and in your market that can make it happen.”
The Direct Connection performance parts they will be offering include “Tuner” and “Stage” kits with factory tuned kit calibrations that meet emissions limits in all 50 states. The Stage II kit offers an additional 100 horsepower, and a Stage III kit in development is expected to unlock even more. The kits will upgrade the engine, suspension and drivetrain of current Dodge Challenger coupes.
Direct Connection also offers race-ready parts for the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak, including engines, transmissions and a body-in-white that allows racers to build their own Drag Pak.
The “Never Lift” campaign, according to Dodge’s calendar, kicked off in October with Hemi Orange and SRT Black Halloween themes for the Charger and Challenger.