There are chunks of big news coming from the Chrysler Group today, as the Detroit giants has outlined a five-year plan that includes major changes across all brands. However, the most important piece of information has SRT in the spotlight, with the performance marque scheduled to die as a standalone brand and become part of Dodge .
Naturally, the first question that surfaces is what will happen with the Viper . Well, Chrysler says we don’t need to worry about it, as its halo sports car will live on under Dodge, with a refresh planned for 2015. So basically the Viper is regaining the badge it was launched with back in 1992. A bit ironic, eh?
As far as the SRT-prepped Challenger muscle car and Charger muscle sedan are concerned, they will be reintegrated into the Dodge lineup as range-topping, performance iterations. And with the new product plan revealed, Dodge has finally confirmed that the two will be redesigned for the 2018 model year.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also announced that former SRT CEO Ralph Gilles will continue to serve as Senior Vice President of Product Design and President and CEO of Motorsports within Dodge.
But that’s not all that’s bound to change at Auburn Hills. The Dart , for instance, will be revised in 2016, followed by the launch of the Dart SRT. Surprisingly enough, the latter will sport a turbocharged engine under the hood and all-wheel drive. The same year will also see the introduction of a brand-new Dodge Journey with a beefed-up SRT version to arrive the next year. What’s more, all-new B-segment sedan and hatchback models, of which we know nothing about, will be unveiled in 2018.
Lastly, Dodge is getting ready to unload two vehicles from its lineup. As expected, the Avenger will get the axed by the end of this year. However, we were surprised to find out that the company will stop producing the Grand Caravan as well. The vehicle that started the whole minivan craze 30 years ago will be phased out in 2016, when the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country rolls off the assembly line.
Click past the jump to read more about the SRT Viper.
Why It Matters
Dodge’s future was rather bleak about a year ago, with rumors claiming the brand will eventually cease to exist, but not before the Challenger was to be moved under SRT. I remember Gilles stepped up to deny the report and assure the industry that Dodge is not going under.
That wasn’t something to cheer about considering Dodge’s current lineup, but the newly-unveiled production plan suggests the company is moving into the right direction, with several models to be added over the next four years. Only time will tell if Dodge has the ability to grow, but it’s something worth waiting for.
Revised for the 2013 model year, the SRT Viper is still powered by the familiar 8.4-liter V-10 engine that delivers 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque via a six-speed manual transmission. Although available in more versions and special editions than ever before, the Viper is having a rough 2014 due to poor sales. Consequently, Chrysler decided to idle production from April 14 to June 23.
Gallery SRT Viper
In conjunction with the outlined plans for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Chrysler Group LLC today announced that the SRT family of vehicles will be consolidated under the Dodge brand. Tim Kuniskis will lead this effort as he continues his role as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dodge Brand and head of the Company’s Fleet Operations. Ralph Gilles continues as the Senior Vice President of Product Design and President and CEO of Motorsports. The move is effective immediately.
“I want to thank Ralph for his dedication to the SRT brand,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC. “Under Ralph’s leadership, the SRT brand expanded its vehicle lineup to include more highly customized models and received numerous automotive awards and distinctions.”