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Recent reports have suggested that Chrysler may soon phase out its long-running Dodge brand, and while the company remains mum on the subject, you can't blame analysts for thinking that's the direction the Pentastar's everyday brand is heading. After all, Chrysler has shown a willingness to shutter brands, having killed off Plymouth back in 2001, and it's putting big dollars behind its bid to build Fiat into a North American force. Chrysler also recently took the step of spinning off its trucks into the stand-alone Ram brand and relocated its halo Viper supercar under the SRT banner.
Couple that with long-held gossip that the full-size Dodge Durango utility vehicle and the Avenger sedan are both living on borrowed time, and you've got a dwindling product portfolio. That would leave Dodge with the Dart compact (a model that isn't selling particularly well), the Charger (which has a mechanical twin in the Chrysler 300) and the Challenger, which could be supplanted by a rumored Chrysler/SRT Cuda. On the people-mover front, Dodge offers the aging Journey and the Grand Caravan, which is the twin to the bigger-margin Chrysler Town & Country.
Stories for some time have pegged Chrysler as only moving forward with one minivan, though there has been some waffling as to whether the next-generation MPV would wear the Town & Country badge or that of the Grand Caravan. A new report out of Canada - where the vehicles are built - says that the winner in the sippy-cup derby is the next Chrysler Town & Country, which will carry a 2016 model year designation. In addition, sources report that T&C production at the Windsor Assembly Plant will be joined by an as-yet-unnamed large near-luxury crossover for 2017, another long-rumored model that could be similar in concept to the long-defunct Pacifica. The brand for this new model? You guessed it - Chrysler.Permalink | Email this | Comments
SRT has more models on offer than Chrysler. It has as many models as Ram, with hotted-up versions of the Dodge Charger and Challenger, Chrysler 300, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, plus the exclusive SRT Viper. Dodge is still the top of the choice heap, but SRT wants to wave its freak flag high after building its roster somewhat quietly. Since SRT can't roar through everyone's neighborhood, it's taking to television with its first-ever advertising campaign.
You may have already been lucky enough to catch one of the Body and Soul spots that launched on June 8 on cable. There are 30-, 60- and 90-second versions of the commercial, and a web-only full version that clocks in at 2:15. It's a nice piece of evocative writing by David Morring, who served as Creative Director for agency The Richards Group.
"We wanted to infuse our first-ever SRT creative campaign with grit, beauty, longing, desire and nostalgia," said Olivier Francois, Chrysler's Chief Marketing Officer. SRT President and CEO Ralph Gilles also weighed in about the campaign, saying "it's the feeling of when you get behind the wheel and step on the throttle for the first time and feel the power of the engine. It's that feeling and legacy that Chrysler Group has forged with owners and ther vehicles over the last cetury; something that SRT brand is creating with a new set of consumers for the first time." Keep reading to check out the spots for yourself, read the press release, and see if they nailed it.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ward's Auto reports the future of Dodge is looking uncertain. Fiat has more or less laid out its game plan for the next few years, and while the Chrysler, Fiat and Jeep lines are set to receive plenty of love, Dodge isn't so lucky. Fiat has already hobbled Dodge significantly by splitting off the brand's trucks into a separate Ram line.
Ward's says that after the Avenger rides off into the sunset early next year, Fiat-Chrysler won't replace the model, leaving a gaping midsize hole in the Dodge lineup. The report also cites unnamed sources as saying that at least two other current Dodge products will move to the Chrysler line.
One of those could very well be the Grand Caravan. Chrysler has already made it clear that it plans to trim redundancy between its minivan offerings, but it has yet to clarify which other vehicle could sail under the Chrysler banner moving forward. Either way, such changes to the product line would theoretically leave Dodge with just four models.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For the past few years, Chrysler's Mopar in-house tuning division has created its own one-off versions of several cars in the automaker's portfolio, including the Mopar '10 Challenger, Mopar '11 Charger and Mopar '12 300. For 2013, the black-and-blue up-do has been given to the new Dart compact, and Chrysler has announced that the limited-edition sedan is now available for order, priced from $25,485, not including *$995 for destination.
Like previous Mopar edition vehicles, the Dart is painted in a signature Pitch Black exterior with an offset blue racing stripe. The sedan sits seven millimeters lower to the ground and gets visual add-ons like a chin spoiler, decklid spoiler and rear diffuser, along with gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels.
Performance wise, the Dart's 1.4-liter MultiAir inline four-cylinder engine remains, producing 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The Mopar car gets a sport-tuned exhaust system along with revised power steering calibration and beefier brakes.
Inside, Katzkin leather covers the Dart's seats, with the driver's seat done up in blue with black accents (the other seats are black with blue accents). Other standard equipment inside includes Chrysler's Uconnect system with the 8.4-inch touchscreen, premium floor mats and a sport pedal kit.
Scroll down for the full details in Chrysler's press blast.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Chrysler has announced that it will recall some 14,800 Dodge Dart compacts due to a potential stalling issue. The Auburn Hills-based automaker says that select 2013 model year sedans equipped with its 1.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder engine and dual-clutch transmission may need to have their engine control modules remapped.
According to Chrysler, the problem was uncovered during routine cold weather testing. Apparently, engineers parked a Dart inside of a 20-degree climate chamber for eight hours, only to have it stall after startup and driving "a short distance." Dealers have reported similar issues in customer cars, prompting the recall, but Chrysler says it knows of no accidents or injuries that have been reported as a result of the problem.
The action covers around 12,900 vehicles in the US and its territories, as well as 1,900 units in Canada, five in Mexico and 16 examples that have ventured beyond the NAFTA region. No word yet on when customers will be notified to bring their vehicles in for service, but the ECM retuning will be performed at no cost.Permalink | Email this | Comments
What's not to love about crowdsourcing? This idea, after all, has given us Kickstarter as well Local Motors, but automakers are starting to use the social platform to sell more cars (or just drum up a little PR). Both Dodge and Hyundai have used "crowd-funding" recently, and while Automotive News is reporting that neither has racked up big sales with this gimmick, both automakers are pleased with the attention.
For Hyundai, it teamed up with website Motozuma.com to help customers crowdsource money for a down payment, and the automaker matched this amount up to $500. Last year, this helped Hyundai sell an extra 1,600 units, a fraction of its total 2012 sales. That figure is far larger than Dodge fared with the Dodge Dart Registry - it netted only two sales and a small number of individual options. This registry did help University of Southern California fraternity crowdsource $18,000 to buy a Dart for a local Meals on Wheels, however. Despite the low sales figures, Dodge and Hyundai are considering their crowdsourcing programs a success since it helped them connect with younger buyers.Permalink | Email this | Comments