By 1997, there were so many different SUVs to choose from, it wasn’t enough for a company simply to build one and expect it to just sell. The marketplace had matured to the point that marketers had to have specific strategies for their SUVs if they wanted them to resonate in the marketplace — and so it was with the Dodge Durango.
Happily, Durango’s product planners had observed the existence of a gap in the marketplace. Full-size SUVs had a tendency to be huge, while mid-size SUVs often lacked sufficient interior space. To carve out a niche for the Durango, they hit upon a sizing formula halfway between full-size and mid-size. This gave Dodge’s new suv considerably more interior volume, while keeping the Durango to a relatively tidy size.
Then, for good measure, to ensure their SUV was not perceived as being too “girly”, the Dodge design team adapted the lines of a Peterbilt 300 series big rig to their SUV (as they’d previously done with the RAM pickup) and in so doing, found themselves with an instant styling sensation. At their peak in 1999, sales of the Durango topped 189,000 units in the U.S.
There have been three generations of the Durango offered to date.