John and Horace Dodge moved to Detroit in 1900, where they made transmissions for Ford, in which they became major shareholders. The first Dodge car was launched in 1914, funded by income from Ford. The Dodge brothers both died in 1920, leaving a highly successful firm with 20,000 employees making 140,000 automobiles annually. Their family could not cope with managing the firm, which in 1925 was sold to investment bankers. They sold the struggling concern on to Walter Chrysler in 1928, allowing him to pursue his aim to compete with General Motors, which he had left in 1919. Within three months DeSoto division had also been set up in the Dodge plant. Production expanded under Chrysler control, making cheaper cars than the luxury Chryslers. Dodge found a new market niche in the 1960s onwards with muscle cars; Dart, Charger, Challenger, Daytona and Viper. rnDodge trucks were also popular in the USA; for export they were often badged as Fargo, and they were built in a factory in Kew, England. Chrysler also acquired Simca in France and Rootes Group in Britain. When it pulled out of its European venture, the UK Dodge operation passed to Renault. Most Dodge growth in the US market was in the form of pickup trucks, where the marque took a leading position. In the 21st century 80% of Dodge output was in the form of pickups.
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