Life used to be so simple. If you found yourself hightailing it down the freeway at 85 miles per hour, and a Crown Victoria crept up on your bumper, you’d have two options. Either slow down and hope for the best, or veer off onto the nearest exit ramp and hope that cop car didn’t catch up with you.
Life today is more complicated. Now you’ve got to panic if you see a Ford Interceptor behind you, but you’ve also got to be on the lookout for Dodge Chargers.
This article isn’t about your local police department’s choice in cars. It’s also not about whether or not evading the cops is a good idea. It’s about the Ford vs Dodge debate; which make is better? Is one superior to the other? Does the collective opinion of the police department mean anything? Let’s look at the Dodge vs Ford debate, and you can decide.
Ford vs Dodge: A Little History
First things first; let’s talk company history. We won’t insult your intelligence by giving you a full history of both companies, but we will say this: Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903. As you likely know, Henry Ford was its founder, and the company experienced great success in the first several years following its incorporation.
So much success, in fact, that two if its original twelve shareholders, John Francis and Horace Elgin Dodge, used their Ford dividends to build a rival company. By 1914, the Dodge Brothers were manufacturing cars under their brand in a town just 15 minutes from Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan.
Both auto manufacturers were ridiculously successful in the first years of their existence. This was in part because of the lack of competition. It was also, however, because of their competition against each other.
Throughout the century that followed the launch of the two auto brands, there has continued to be competition. And that competition doesn’t only exist between the brands. Consumers and enthusiasts are in on it, too, and you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle owner without a strong opinion.
So, which is it? The Ford vs Dodge debate is as old as the automobile itself; which brand truly holds the honor of being the “best”?
Dodge vs Ford: Sports Cars and Trucks
Sports car zealots are a breed of their own. If you ever lack energy, go ask a Mustang owner about her car. Want to start a fight? Tell a Challenger enthusiast that his car isn’t hot. The attachment that these owners feel to their cars is very real. But why do they feel that way? What’s so special about a dang car anyway?
Previously, Versus All published an article about a similar battle between Ford and Chevy owners. We cited psychological attachment, family ties and factors as simple as geography as influencers in brand loyalty. The same, of course, holds true in the Ford vs Dodge wars.
Here in the States, the Mustang is pitted against the Challenger as an affordable, accessible muscle car. Both have been around quite a while, with the Challenger having only been reintroduced in 2008 after a long hiatus. So while those family ties and geographical preferences may still apply, chances are that a Mustang owner’s first car was, you guessed it, a Mustang.
The same holds true for owners of Ford and Dodge trucks. For example, the Dodge Ram 1500 is in close competition with the F-150 amongst truck owners. But, the Ram 1500 ranks low in safety ratings while the F-150 loses out to the 1500 in interior technology by most accounts.
Ask ten muscle car or truck owners his preference, and you’ll get a different opinion each time. One thinks Dodge Ram’s tow mirrors are too big. Another had a fuel pump go out on an F-series back in ’02. Frankly, these cars and trucks are among the best selling in the nation – it all boils down to Ford vs Dodge preference.
Ford vs Dodge: Why We Choose What We Do
Imagine that a college graduate is shopping for his first car. He doesn’t give a damn whether it’s a Ford, a Dodge or a Subaru – he just wants to be able to get back and forth to work. What is he looking for, and what are most people looking for when they choose a vehicle?
J.D. Power recently conducted a survey asking that very question. And as it would turn out, we’re shopping for a lot of things. Much of it is circumstantial; while a boy in his senior year of high school may want a pony car for his first, a single mother may prefer the safety features of a sedan. But the study surveyed the top ten features that a car owner will seek out.
The first of these is expected reliability. Consumers focus heavily on the dependability of a make of vehicle when making a buying decision. Exterior styling, not surprisingly, ranks second on the list. No one wants an ugly car. The third reason most commonly cited for choosing a brand is previous experience. In other words, stick with what you know.
There are, of course, many other reasons people will choose a car. Price, the way it feels when you drive it and fuel economy are among them. But one thing is clear. Once a consumer develops a preference for a vehicle make, it’s going to be hard to change their mind.
Ford vs Chevy: A Clear Victor
So now you know. Both Ford enthusiasts and Chevy lovers have their very own reasons for choosing their brand. Whether that reason is reliability, fuel economy or because they love to reminisce about high school, there’s a reason.
Studies have shown that it’s unusual for this reason to be an actual, rational evaluation of alternatives. It is, in fact, more common for a consumer to base a buying decision solely on emotion and personal experience.
What both Ford and Dodge owners do have in common, though, is this. Whether it’s a Ford Interceptor or a Dodge Charger behind you, you’d better be damn sure you’re going the speed limit.