Lamenting the Dodge Demon ...
Since the Dodge Demon hasn't hit the production floor, let alone the showroom floor, lamenting its demise might seem a bit odd. However, there was so much promise in the Demon's design concept, and it seemed so perfect a candidate totransition into a production vehicle, I couldn't help but keep an eye on its development. Its clean, muscular lines, light weight, rear-wheel-drive chassis, and a surprisingly understated interior made this little roadster less a concept vehicle than a pre-production mock-up. Or so it was assumed by everyone at the time.
According to Autoweek, last year Tom Lasorda of Chrysler indicated that in order to "broaden its global appeal" and meet stricter emission standards all in one fell swoop, Chrysler would base the Demon production vehicle on a Chinese front-wheel-drive platform designed by Chery.
Someone please explain to me the logic in this.
Most American automakers already suffer from the stigma of poor build quality when compared to the more prominent European and Japanese brands. Over the past decade or two, most of them have put in effort in their engineering and advertising to dispel the notion. Why, then, would Chrysler decide to base a high-profile car on a hinese FF platform plagued by similar quality control issues? And why shift it to a front-wheel-drive platform?
After all, this is a segment that would put the Demon in direct or indirect competition with cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Toyota MR Spyder, the Honda S2000, the Porsche Boxster/Cayman, the Audi TT, and the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky. Not all of these fall into what would have been the Demon's price segment, but the MX-5 Miata, in particular, is praised not simply for being affordable, but fun and well-built.
Remember when the Chrysler Crossfire was first marketed to the public? It was well-received, if not universally adored, and I seem to recall a few automotive journalists comment on the similarities between it and the Merceds-Benz SLK with which it shared many parts. It was a quality vehicle with a solid build and presented itself as a slightly less expensive, American-badged alternative to the German counterpart. Let that be the guide here--inexpensive is a worthy goal, but cheap is not the way! Why ruin a promising concept with cheap execution?