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Dodge Debuts Heritage-inspired 2017 Color Palette

Dodge Debuts Heritage-inspired 2017 Color Palette

Relive the High-Impact color era with hues like Blood Orange, White Knuckle, and Bruiser Gray

When it comes to paint jobs, most modern cars are offered with rather dull color options. This isn’t the automakers’ fault though, it’s mostly because hues such white, gray, silver, and black have become increasingly popular in recent decades. But this wasn’t the case in the 1960s and 1970s, when American drivers favored livelier colors and carmakers responded with flashy hues - especially for high-performance vehicles. These were known as the "High-Impact" colors. Ford, GM, and Chrysler have revived several classic paints for their respective muscle cars recently, and Dodge has just introduced a range of new color names inspired from its colorful heritage for the 2017 model year.

Although most colors aren’t new, their names revive the brand’s bold paint naming strategy, which should play well with sentimental enthusiasts. Starting 2017, buyers will be able to order hues such as White Knuckle, Maximum Steel, Bomber Brown, Octane Red, White Noise, Blood Orange, Green Go, Destroyer Gray, Go Mango, Contusion Blue, or Bruiser Gray. Granted, some of them sound rather cheesy, but words such as "knuckle," "bomber," "destroyer," "noise," and "bruiser" are definitely bolder options to simply naming the color and adding "metallic" or "pearl" next to it.

On the other hand, other color names aren’t as punchy, while some remained unchanged from previous years. If you’re not a fan of in-your-face names, you can pick one of the following: Redline 2K, Blu By You, Stout Brown, Redline 3K, Vice White, Yellow Jacket, Granite, TorRed, Olive Green, Billet, Black Onyx, DB Black, or Pitch Black.

All of the above will be available not only for Dodge’s hottest cars, the Challenger, Charger, and Viper, but also for family vehicles such as the Durango, Journey, and the Grand Caravan.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Challenger And Charger Hellcats Get Price Increases

2016 Challenger And Charger Hellcats Get Price Increases

“It’s like the ’71 Hemi all over again.” That’s a pretty good way to sum up the wildfire sales success of Dodge’s 707-horsepower Hellcat twins, and it’s how Dodge and SRT CEO Tim Kuniskis explained it when asked about that success. Now, Dodge is responding to the laws of supply and demand by giving the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat a price increase of $2,500 and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat an increase of $1,950 for 2016. In return, customers get new standard equipment, including Laguna leather and navigation.

Kuniskis also spoke with Detroit News about broader plans for the Hellcat brand. Dodge has sold roughly 4,500 Hellcats so far in 2015 and plans to double production next year. The previously limited supply meant several customers spent months on waiting lists, which often led to dealers taking deposits for orders they weren’t certain could be fulfilled. In response, Dodge has cleared orders of 2015 Hellcats and reset them for 2016, though customers who initially ordered 2015 cars will get a 2016 at the same cost. A new ordering system also ensures that dealers can’t take deposits for cars they can’t deliver.

The production bottle neck was apparently caused by a limited number of dynamometers at the factory. Each Hellcat engine requires a rigorous 42-minute test, and Dodge has remedied this with expanded dynamometer capacity. Now that Dodge has the capacity to meet demand, expect continued Hellcat sales growth, even despite the minimal price increase.

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Dodge Slashes the Viper's Sticker Price by $15,000

Dodge Slashes the Viper’s Sticker Price by $15,000

Although the current-generation Dodge Viper is anything but slow, Chrysler has been struggling to sell its halo car ever since it launched it in late 2012. Viper sales have been so low throughout 2013 and 2014 that Dodge even had to halt production for two months and lay off 91 employees. The Viper’s struggle continues through 2014, with some 600 unsold units on dealer lots, which is why Dodge has decided to knock $15,000 off the sticker price in order to spur sales.

The discount is available for all unsold 2014 model year Vipers and incoming 2015 Vipers, putting their MSRP at $84,995. But the good news doesn’t stop here. In addition to this discount, Dodge is also offering $15,000 coupons to recent gen-five — 2013 to 2014 model year — Viper buyers who want to trade their model in on a 2014 or 2015 Viper. All told, if you own either a 2013 or 2014 Viper, you can essentially purchase a brand-new, updated model for $69,995 after the price cut and trade-in incentive. Quite the bargain, huh?

Cutting $15,000 off the sticker is just one step toward improving Viper sales. The company is also planning to open Viper sales to all Dodge dealers and market the sports car with the rest of the lineup and not as a stand-alone SRT vehicle. More than 2,300 Dodge dealers will be able to sell the 2015 Viper.

Click past the jump to read more about Dodge Viper.

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Dodge Celebrates its Centenary by Offering up Special Items

Dodge Celebrates its Centenary by Offering up Special Items

Things looked a lot different a century ago. There was no pre-sliced bread, running water was prevalently lacking in rural communities, and every automaker was considered a fledgling start-up business. Fast forward to 2014, and it’s apparent that’s no longer the case. Now as we roll into July, Dodge celebrates its centenary of making some of the most memorable vehicles in American history.

Technically happening July 1, 2014, Dodge’s 100-year celebration falls in a time of corporate reorganization that puts Dodge and SRT together. Dodge, owned by Chrysler, is tasked with building “mainstream performance” cars while SRT, is to build Dodge’s “ultimate performance” lineup. The consolidation of the two should play well for the company. But back to the party.

The company is offering specialized merchandise including car decals, key fobs, pens, coffee mugs, and clothing. There’s even a “Dodge 100 Years” book that depicts the brand’s rich history. Perhaps the biggest way Dodge is celebrating its heritage of building legendary street machines comes in the form of horsepower; that’s 707 horsepower, to be exact.

Now the reason Dodge has been holding out of the 2015 Challenger Hellcat’s performance stats makes sense.

Click past the jump to read more about Dodge’s centenary.

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SRT brand dead; All Models Will Be Sold Under Dodge Logo

SRT brand dead; All Models Will Be Sold Under Dodge Logo

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.

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SRT Viper's Production on Hold for Two Months Due to Poor Sales

SRT Viper’s Production on Hold for Two Months Due to Poor Sales

The SRT Viper’s well-chronicled sales struggles have been well documented in the media these days. While company boss Ralph Giles continues to put on a brave — and maybe even defiant — face, today’s news involving Chrysler’s decision to shut down production of the Viper because of lagging sales is something even Giles doesn’t have any excuse for.

The company made the announcement in a statement, essentially confirming rumors that it was shutting down its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant from April 14th to to June 23rd. That’s two months of the Viper’s production remaining idle, but given how much supply it still has in its inventory — 756 unsold on March 1 — there was no need for the company to keep building more Vipers.

The Viper’s struggles in sales are a little surprising, considering the hype and fanfare the sports car received when it made its return a few years ago. Some people might point to the season as a reason for lagging sales, but even that doesn’t fully explain how the Viper hasn’t been universally lauded the same way as the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

Even with its limited production, wouldn’t consumers be tripping over themselves to get a Viper if it were in such a high demand? The truth its, demand for the sports car isn’t as high as SRT would’ve hoped.

We are starting to wonder if this lack of interest may result in a very short lifespan for the new SRT Viper... Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Click past the jump to read more about the SRT Viper.

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No Entry-Level or Automatic SRT Viper in the Pipeline

No Entry-Level or Automatic SRT Viper in the Pipeline

While every other automaker on the planet is embracing change, SRT looks as if it is resisting the modernization of its Viper lineup. In an interview with Edmunds, Ralph Giles said that the SRT Viper will remain with only a six-speed manual transmission, while nearly every other sports car and supercar is heading toward offering at least an optional paddle-shift transmission.

Gilles had this to say about Viper buyers in relation to the paddle-shifted auto: "The people who buy (the Viper) relish the manual, they relish the driver’s car, the raw connections to the vehicle. That is what it is about. So we are not chasing rainbows here." We see your claim, Mr. Gilles, and raise you the fact that SRT had to slash the production of the Viper because they are growing roots in dealerships. Maybe you need to recheck the pulse of the American sports car buyer, sir... Just sayin’...

Edmunds then queried Mr. Gilles about the possibility of dropping a HEMI V-8 into the Viper, and releasing a less-powerful "entry-level" Viper to help boost sales. To that, Gilles answered, taking a jab at the Stingray in the process: "We have no interest in becoming a Corvette." Well, considering the Corvette is one of the hottest items available and the Viper is little more than dealership eye candy, he may want to rethink his position.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Viper, but the market has apparently spoken...

Click past the jump to read more about the SRT Viper.

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SRT Slashes Viper's Production Volume Due to Low Sales

SRT Slashes Viper’s Production Volume Due to Low Sales

When SRT decided to bring back the Viper, the hope was that the sports car would usher in a new era for the famed model.

But so far, all the expectations have turned into nothing more than disappointment because the Viper isn’t selling as fast as SRT and Chrysler would have wanted.

According to Automotive News, Chrysler has taken the surprising step of cutting back on production of the sports car because of sputtering sales. The original plan was to produce 2,000 units annually, but after eight months in dealerships, the company has only sold 426 units, leaving 565 unsold units in stock, representing a 289-day supply.

Despite the car’s sales struggles, SRT CEO, Ralph Giles, is still confident that the Viper’s sales will eventually pick up early next year, but it certainly goes without saying that this development is a huge blow to the stature of the Viper.

It shouldn’t come down to this for one of America’s greatest sports cars, but the fact that it has should give the company cause to pause on why consumers just aren’t as bullish on the sports car as they once were.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 SRT Viper

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SRT Preparing Camaro Z/28 Competitor

SRT Preparing Camaro Z/28 Competitor

SRT chief, Ralph Giles, isn’t the type to back down from a challenge. So when Chevrolet unveiled the track-focused Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, nobody was surprised when Giles told Motor Trend that his brand "was preparing for an answer" to the Z/28.

So the onus now turns to Dodge’s resident muscle car, the Challenger, to pick up and answer the call. Giles didn’t go into specific details regarding what that "answer" was going to be, but there’s already speculation that a Challenger will be that steed and it will come with what folks expect to be a doozy of a powertrain.

As far as expectations are concerned, ours is that SRT will fit a modified version of its 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. You know, the one that currently produces 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Add a couple of tweaks here and there and that output can easily be bumped up to around 500 horsepower, right around the same figure the Camaro Z/28 currently provides.

In addition to the more powerful engine, SRT could also make the Challenger lighter with the use of carbon-fiber parts to go with lighter suspension, bigger brakes and new track-focused wheels.

All this, of course, is a matter of conjecture. Yet we do know that SRT has something planned up its sleeve. Ralph Giles isn’t the type to double-talk, so when he says that an answer is coming, you can pretty much take that to the bank.

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Ralph Giles Says SRT In No Rush To Build Viper Roadster

Ralph Giles Says SRT In No Rush To Build Viper Roadster

SRT president, Ralph Gilles, knows all too well that when they introduced the SRT Viper as a coupe model instead of a convertible, they bucked a tradition that started since the Viper itself was born.

But even if the fixed-top coupe came out first this time around, it doesn’t mean that they’re asleep at the wheel in building the convertible version. They’re just not in under any pressure to release it yet, despite Chevy’s recent proclamation that the convertible version of the Viper’s nemesis, the Corvette Stingray, will find its way into dealerships later this year.

Talking to Wards Auto, Gilles admitted that, at its core, the Viper is still designed to be a convertible. "Under the skin is a convertible chassis. It’s already there – the stiffness is there. It’s extremely easy should that come, but we’re not in any rush.”

Without giving any definite timetable, Gilles did say that his hopes are for the Viper Roadster to be released "within a few years".

Talk about a vague answer.

As far as any customer clamoring for the Viper Roadster’s release, Giles downplayed the pressure of succumbing to these requests, saying that enthusiasts of the model have no preference regarding the launch sequence between the coupe and convertible models. “I get a lot of comments from them, and a lot of them love the car either way,” Gilles remarked, before adding that customers usually buy both when each comes out.

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SRT Viper Won't Slither into Europe

SRT Viper Won’t Slither into Europe

The SRT Viper is poised to battle with the recently unveiled Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray here in the U.S. for American-sports-car supremacy.

Over in Europe, however, that doesn’t appear to be the case after Chrysler announced that it has no plans to sell the Viper across the Atlantic anytime soon, citing its exclusive American concentration as its motive behind the decision.

The announcement is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Chrysler’s apparent reluctance in bringing the Viper to a continent chock-full with its own share of sports cars and supercars. Maybe they realized they would enter a saturated market, although the price of the Viper in Europe would be significantly cheaper than most of the supercars running around those roads.

Chrysler’s decision to keep the Viper in U.S. soil would be a coup for Chevrolet, who announced earlier this week that the Corvette C7 Stingray would hit UK dealerships in the near future. One less competitor is great news for Chevrolet, especially when you consider that the Viper is truly the only direct American competitor to the `Vette.

Make no mistake, the SRT Viper is every bit as fabulous and deadly as its Chevrolet counterpart. This move does raise some questions as to whether Chrysler believes the SRT Viper could fare well in Europe, or maybe just in the UK, something Chevrolet believes the Corvette C7 Stingray can do.

We may see Chrysler change its mind if the Corvette takes off in the European market.

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SRT CEO Ralph Gilles Gets His Hands Dirty Building His Own Viper

SRT CEO Ralph Gilles Gets His Hands Dirty Building His Own Viper

Most CEOs prefer to do their jobs from a desk in a high-up corner office with a breathtaking view of their surroundings. SRT CEO Ralph Gilles, however, prefers a different approach. See, the man tasked with developing the new Viper GTS sports car is as hands-on with the project as he can be.

So hands-on, in fact, that Gilles doesn’t mind rolling up his own sleeves, heading over to the SRT factory, and, with the help of SRT team leader, Tony Banks, holds his own in putting in work to build the sports car.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Gilles is building the SRT Viper that will soon grace his own driveway, so it’s safe to assume that he’s going to the extra mile to ensure that his Viper is built with no stone left unturned.

Either way, it’s pretty cool seeing the head man of a company not caring about getting down and dirty to help out his employees. That’s some strong leadership right there.

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Dealers Paying $25K in Fees To Sell the SRT Viper

Dealers Paying $25K in Fees To Sell the SRT Viper

The SRT Viper is one of the hottest models on the tip of all of our tongues and we are all excited to see it hit showrooms in November. We have seen many weird things, however, when it comes to its official release. In a report, we learned that only about 15 to 20 percent of all Chrysler dealerships will “earn” the right to sell it by having their entire team trained on the car, among other odd qualifiers.

Well, we have finally found out exactly what this all boils down to for dealerships. The “training” program that Chrysler is making dealerships put their employees through will run the dealers a whopping $5,000 to have completed. Following that, the dealership still has to pay an additional $20,000 just for the right to sell the Viper, given the dealership meets all of the customer service criteria.

That brings the grand total to sell the viper to $25,000, or roughly one-quarter of the price for one base model SRT Viper. We are all for Chrysler wanting to get this release right, but to gouge your dealers like that is simply inexcusable. Regardless of how much money you may think dealerships make, keep in mind that the average new car sale nets the dealer less than $2,000 in profit.

That would mean that a dealership would have to sell roughly 10 to 15 SRT Vipers (at the average profit number) to break even on bringing the damn thing into the showroom. I worked at a high-volume Dodge dealer and allow me to tell you that the two Vipers we had on the showroom floor never left their spot on the floor – even for a test drive – in the year I worked there.

Chrysler is likely making far more profit on the SRT Viper than the dealers will and it needs to step up and provide these cars at a lower rate than $25K. The $5,000 training fee is understandable, but $20K just to “earn” the right to have it grace your dealership’s lot… Yeah, we feel a collective “Screw You Chrysler” coming from the majority of dealerships.

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Video: Viper GTS-R Testing in Virginia

Video: Viper GTS-R Testing in Virginia

We absolutely love the new SRT Viper, and have since the second Chrysler’s performance arm started teasing it. We also love videos of racecars zipping around tracks with awesome flyby shots. Well, you can imagine our excitement when a video of the new SRT Viper GTS-R – the car set to tear apart the American Le Mans Series – was released, showing it ripping up Virginia International Raceway.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the Viper GTS-R in action, but this video is a very telling one. All of the testing videos of the Viper GTS-R were on random tracks that the ALS does not use in its series. Well, VIR just so happens to be a part of this year’s ALS, and SRT has promised us that the SRT Viper will debut this season, but haven’t given a date.

With the VIR race coming up in September, and the fact that the SRT Viper looks just about race ready in the video – sans a little paintwork – we are thinking that the VIR race on September 15th is the likely debut date for this new machine. We could be completely off base here, but on the surface it looks this way.

Regardless of its actual debut day, we do know one thing; we cannot wait to see this thing on the track. Many moons ago, the Dodge Viper used to dominate this series, and we certainly expect to see the Viper jump right back into the 1st place slot that other cars have been keeping warm in its absence.

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