Dodge designer on yellow plastic splitter guards: 'I wish they would take them off'

Charger and Challenger owners have started a divisive trend

About a year ago, Dodge began placing yellow strips of plastic on the leading edge of Charger and Challenger front splitters to prevent damage during transport from plant to dealer. Dodge embossed "To Be Removed By Dealer" into the plastic, but those instructions weren't always followed. By summer of 2018, so many owners had left the tabs on, or reinstalled a discarded set, or bought a set on eBay for $100 or more, that factions broke out. Some thought the protectors looked cool, some thought they looked foolish, some thought it didn't matter either way. Now Dodge and SRT lead designer Mark Trostle has stepped in with his thoughts, those being, "I wish they would take them off." 

Trostle made the remarks at the end of a video by Canadian auto scribe Brian Makse that otherwise dove into the design and technology on the 2010 Charger Widebody. Part of the designer's remarks related to aesthetic aspects — designers are paid to be precious about every line they draw, after all. "When we did the sketch for the Charger and Challenger," he said, "it never had yellow strips on it," and, "To me, as a designer, it ruins the lines of the car." He had a functional reason as well, though: "You're just ruining the paint!"

The paint issue convinced Tyler Grant, the Internet sales manager at a Dodge dealer, to make a Facebook post in April this year requesting owners remove the splitter guards. Grant wrote that because the guards aren't specifically molded to fit perfectly, dirt and moisture get between the plastic and the splitter and mar the clear coat or paint, illustrated by a scuffed example that had been driven just 18 miles with the protectors on. He ended with, "Please, on behalf of your splitter AND its paint, take off the splitter guards."

Despite forum chatter, splitter-shaming Facebook photos, and Facebook groups like "Hey Pal, You Forgot to Take Your Splitter Guards Off," it appears too late for the protector color to curb (get it?) the trend. Owners have already dealt with the dirt issue by putting protective tape on the air dam, others have painted the spilitter guards to match the car, and the owner of a vintage Dodge pickup ran yellow tape across the width of his front bumper in an attempt to join the party. 

In the Makse video, Trostle said that the automaker would soon be rolling out a "new fashionable purple color" for the protectors. "We'll see if that one takes off," he said. "I hope it doesn't."

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