Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently in the process of announcing a new five-year plan that will see many of the vehicles currently in the Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/SRT either discontinued or overhauled between now and 2018. Some brands will also be integrated, with SRT (Street and Racing Technology) being integrated into Dodge, just like it was before 2005. Dodge will become the performance brand, just like it was in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s. This repositioning will mean that the SRT Viper will once again become the Dodge Viper (I never did get used to saying Dodge Viper)! Various SRT models outside of Dodge like the Chrysler 300 SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 will be discontinued by the end of the 2015 calendar year. If you want either of those two cars, get them NOW. Current Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis will be in charge of the integration, while current SRT boss Ralph Gilles will still oversee Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep design and Dodge motorsports.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said of Gilles, “I want to thank Ralph for his dedication to the SRT brand. Under Ralph’s leadership, the SRT brand expanded its vehicle lineup to include more highly customized models and received numerous automotive awards and distinctions.” That’s all completely true. Ralph Gilles has worked like an animal to transform the SRT brand into something that can compete with the likes of AMG, M, and Porsche.
Dodge will lose its place as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ mainstream brand. Instead, Chrysler will take over that place, just like it was in the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. Dodge will be repositioned as a sporty brand stuffed to the brim with musclecars, sporty crossovers, and the Viper.
A rough outline of the next few years for Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/SRT is below:
2015: Dodge Grand Caravan and Dodge Avenger will be phased out. Buy the Grand Caravan NOW if you want one! The Dodge Challenger, Charger, and Viper will all receive updates. The Charger and Challenger will receive a supercharger (it is still unclear on whether the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 will be the engine with the supercharger, or possibly a 6.2-liter Hemi V8 codenamed the Hellcat). The Dodge Durango will not receive any updates (it received one in the end of 2013.
2016: The Dodge Dart will receive a mid-cycle update, and it will receive an SRT-tuned version with AWD, a high-output turbocharged engine, and hopefully a manual transmission. I think that we’re all thinking autocross and rally, right?
2017: The Dodge Journey, the bland crossover infringing on the Grand Caravan’s turf, will receive an SRT variant with AWD and a turbocharged engine. I like that idea.
2018: New compact Fiat-based hatchback to be launched alongside new versions of Charger and Challenger.
That’s the next few years for Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/SRT. Except, it will be Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram. Oh, Jeep is also bringing back the historic Jeep Grand Wagoneer name sometime in the next four years! I’ve always loved the look of the Grand Wagoneer, but a modern one gets me pumped up all over again! While some modern companies do convert Grand Cherokees into Grand Wagoneers, it’s just not the same.
I’m signing off for the week. Have a happy 4th of July, everybody! See you then!