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US muscle takes on Focus

10 February 2005

The muscular Dodge Caliber will take on the likes of the Ford Focus from summer 2006.

Unveiled in London yesterday, the concept car makes its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005 and is likely to be very similar when it arrives in UK showrooms.

It marks Dodge’s first serious bid for sales in the UK and will be followed by an equally bold-looking family car in early 2007.

The Nitro, a compact 4x4 concept pictured here and unveiled at this week’s Chicago Motor Show, will also go on sale in the UK in 2007.

All cars will have muscular American styling, which the company admitted would not be to everyone’s taste. Dan McKinnon, vice president for design, said: ‘If you don’t want to be noticed, don’t buy a Dodge.’ In keeping with the brand’s promise to offer affordable power, McKinnon added that the cars will be able to ‘burn rubber and haul a family’.

The company is still vague on prices and power outputs, but said it would reveal more at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show. In the meantime, Dodge’s vice president of global product design, Thomas Hausch, told Whatcar.com that every model would offer the most power at every price point.

When told that this would mean Caliber would have to match the Vauxhall Astra VXR at 240bhp at £19,995, Hausch smiled broadly and said: ‘That’s a very interesting proposition.’

The Caliber will be available with 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.4-litre petrol engines as well as a selection of diesels from launch.

Until this trio of models arrives, Dodge will continue to sell only a handful of SRT10 cars in the UK. The 8.3-litre, 500bhp V10 roadster should arrive soon in the UK as a coupe.

Dodge again ruled out offering the new Charger, recently unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, however, and said pick-up models, like the Ram, will not go on sale in the UK either.

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