Dodge M80 Concept Vehicle

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

DETROIT, Jan. 7 -- The world got to see the future of compact pickup trucks at the 2002 North American International Auto Show as the bold, versatile and affordable Dodge M80 concept took the stage in Detroit. With its ``just-right'' size, ``surf-to-snow'' capability and authentic ``job-rated'' Dodge Truck power, the M80 will exceed the needs of tomorrow's compact pick-up truck customer.

Growing up in California, Chrysler Group designer John Opfer used to live just one hour from the beach and one hour from the snowy mountains. Vehicles of choice included a '70s Jeep Wagoneer and a Dodge Raider. ``We were always looking for stylish, low-cost four-wheel-drive vehicles to accommodate our ever-changing activities,'' said Opfer. ``That is exactly what I had in mind while sketching the Dodge M80, geared toward active youngsters known as 'millennials.' I also looked at the 1939 Dodge TC and 1941 WC for inspiration, creating a modernist interpretation of these classic Dodge trucks.''

``This year's concept vehicles are all designed for the millennial generation,'' said Dave McKinnon, Vice President for Design at the Chrysler Group. ``We found that one of the products that the market lacks for this group right now is what they call 'a real hot pickup truck, just for me, a friend and our gear.' The Dodge M80 concept is like 'son-of-Power Wagon.' It's an in-your-face pickup truck that is light, lean, agile, with four-wheel drive and a powerful engine.''

The Dodge M80 is a small, affordable truck with a design loaded with character and intrinsic value. Minimalist, new, neat design details are abundant as stand-out design elements include the satin-stainless steel-look signature Dodge-crosshair grille and headlamp surrounds, classic round lamps and the metallic slate-gray, molded-in-color PET-plastic fenders and bumpers with integrated tow-hooks.

In profile, M80 offers simple, chiseled lines enhanced by the fender vent vanes, push-button door handles, integrated PET-plastic side-storage lockers, dual spin-off fuel-filler caps in satin-stainless steel-look and stamped-steel 20`` wheels and 265/50R20 Goodyear tires. The useful five-foot bed is protected by a durable PET-plastic liner and bulkhead and incorporates myriad tie-down cleats compatible with MOPAR bike-, ski- and surfboard racks. The tailgate features ''stamped-through`` lettering for the Dodge and 4x4 emblems. Oversized, performance-tuned dual exhaust pipes and jewel-like round tail lamps complete the exterior highlights.

The back of the cab features a full-width flipper-glass. Adds Opfer: ``It not only has a clean, modern design, but it is truly functional. You can easily get to your gear in the back, and if the bed is not long enough, you can open the flipper-glass and add the cabin to your load-length.''

Dodge M80's interior was designed by Jeff Gale, who expanded upon John Opfer's mission of finding practical solutions for difficult design dilemmas. ``This concept asked for a no-frills, rugged and durable interior,'' said Gale. ``And, it should offer unexpected and youthful features.''

Gale said that is why there is an abundance of Detonator Yellow body-color sheet-metal panels on the inside of M80, enhanced by satin-silver hard-plastic covers and water-repelling Neoprene-look seat-trim. The center console doubles as a portable cooler while the lightweight seats can be removed and used outdoors. Behind the fold-flat seats is a vehicle-wide bin for wet-goods such as shoes, umbrella or a snowboard. The instrument panel features a large storage drawer.

The driver is kept informed by simple, easily understood, back-lit satellite gauges, offering just basic information. The speedometer and tachometer are co-axial, using one set of numbers for speed and revs (x100). Large rotary knobs operate the audio and heating systems, while classic ``ball- and-socket''-style vents direct the airflow in the interior. M80's performance image is accentuated by billet-aluminum foot pedals.

Based on a Dodge Dakota frame with independent short-and-long-arm front suspension and a solid axle with leaf springs in the rear, M80 incorporates a high percentage of existing corporate components, making it affordable to build. Power comes from Chrysler Group's all-new 3.7-liter V-6 engine coupled to a carry-over 5-speed manual transmission and 4x4 transfer case.

With an estimated vehicle weight of just 2,500 pounds (1134 kg) and a power rating of a 210 bhp. (157 KW) and 235 lb.-ft. (319 Nm) of torque, this concept truck's calculated performance figures include a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) and a sprint to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 8 seconds flat. ``All these features and its functionality are what we expect millennial kids to be looking for,'' added McKinnon. ``This truck is something totally new out of Detroit. M80 offers style, utility, performance and economy.''

    DODGE M80 CONCEPT VEHICLE
    PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

    Powertrain
    Engine:                 3.7-liter 90 V-6
    Estimated Power:        210 bhp. (157 kW)
    Estimated Torque:       235 lb.-ft. (319 Nm)
    Transmission:           Five-speed manual transmission
    Drive:                  Four-wheel drive with low and high ranges

    Body & Suspension
    Structure:              Steel body-on-frame
    Suspension
        Front:              Independent with upper and lower "A"-arms, torsion
                            bars, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
        Rear:               Live axle with four-leaf two-stage longitudinal
                            springs and gas-charged shock absorbers

    Wheels & Tires
    Wheels:                 20" x 9"
    Tires:                  P265/50R20 Goodyear

    Dimensions & Weight
    Length:                 166.5 in. (4229 mm)
    Width:                  64.2 in. (1631 mm)
    Height:                 66.4 in. (1687 mm)
    Wheelbase:              112 in. (2845 mm)
    Track
        Front/Rear:         60.5 in. (1537 mm)
    Ground Clearance:       9.7 in. (246 mm)
    Overhang
        Front:              22 in. (559 mm)
        Rear:               32.5 in. (826 mm)
    Bed Length:             5' (1.5 m)
    Est. Weight:            2500 lbs. (1134 kg)

    Estimated Performance
    0-60 mph (0-96 km/h):   8 sec.
    Top Speed:              100 mph (160 km/h)
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