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The War on Cars

The War on Cars brings you news and commentary on the latest developments in the worldwide fight to undo a century's worth of damage wrought by the automobile and make cities better. Hosted by Doug Gordon, Sarah Goodyear and Aaron Naparstek and produced by Curtis Fox. Music by Nathaniel Goodyear. Logo by Dani Finkel/Crucial D.

Apr 25, 2024

***This is a preview of a Patreon-exclusive bonus episode. For complete access to this and all of our bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.***

We were getting ready to record our "Cybertrash" episode with Ed Niedermeyer last month when Ed happened to bring to our attention to this "deeply weird" ten minute-long extended car ad. It's a promotional video for Dodge's new, "Next-Gen Charger," the electric-powered version of the very same "muscle cars" that Doug confronted at the New York International Auto Show in Episode 85 and Aaron rode along with back in Episodes 92 and 96.

The move from gas-guzzling, window-rattling, V8 engines to electric motors has clearly plunged Dodge into an identity crisis. They spent decades building their brand on obnoxiously loud and dangerously sociopathic gas guzzlers. How will they ever convince their loutish loyal customers to switch over to (supposedly) clean, quiet, big government-mandated electric cars?

In this video we get an answer to that question. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis is going to try to sell his muscle e-cars with rightwing dog whistles and a Make Dodge Great Again pitch. But he barely even sounds like he has convinced himself. A lot like Elon Musk's Cybertruck marketing, the Dodge promo video is simultaneously super weird and extremely revealing about what American car culture is really all about.

We had some extra time with Ed in the studio so we had to talk about it with him. And we put that together for as a Patreon bonus. If you aren't yet a Patreon subscriber of The War on Cars, maybe now is the time! Subscribe for $3, $5, or $10 per month. We’ll send you stickers and you’ll have access to ad-free episodes and bonus conversations like this one. We really appreciate the support. We couldn’t produce the podcast without you.