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Dodge marque set to launch in UK for first time in 2006

AMERICAN automotive brand Dodge will be coming to the UK with a range of new cars starting in 2006.

The sister company of Chrysler and Jeep and part of the DaimlerChrysler organisation announced the European move at the North America International Motor Show in Detroit this week.

Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler group's president and chief executive, also confirmed that the range of new cars would be heralded by the introduction of the new Dodge Viper to Europe later this year. He said: 'The EU launch of the Dodge Viper SRT 10 sports car in 2004 will lead the way, followed by a portfolio of new international Dodge passenger cars, starting in 2006.

He added: 'These products will embody the powerful and bold attributes of the brand in an affordable package that meets the tastes and need of our customers around the world.'

Diesel and right-hand drive models are a key part of the strategy to bring Dodge to the UK, but the first car to make it to our shores will be the 8.3-litre V10 Viper, a two-seater convertible, which will be displayed at the September Paris Motor Show.

Joe Eberhardt, executive vice-president of global sales marketing and service, said: 'The Dodge portfolio, along with Chrysler and Jeep vehicles, will allow us to offer a range of products covering virtually all segments of the international passenger car market.'

The Dodge cars will be sold alongside Chrysler and Jeep products in most of the existing dealer outlets and will more than double the number of Chrysler group vehicles available outside North America.

Some industry experts have predicted that the next Chrysler Neon will be rebadged as a Dodge.

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