Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Part II - Future of Chrysler's SRT

By the 'C' Team,
Dodge USA - -
Well, noting PMs common visitation to selective forum sites, he left some tasty morsel for those muscle hungered and raw performance fanatics some insight on what to expect in the near future. Surprising was the announcement of a sister car after the production run of the 2008 Dodge Challenger R/T. This maybe a rumor but then, anything anyone says these days is a rumor to most biased anti-SRT fan boys. What they failed to realize was the Edmunds Insider Video of the Pacifica Advance Design Studio, located in Carlsbad, California. One of the background shots revealed the orange colored Cuda tail end. No! It was not another Challenger mockup. It was the other ‘third C’, as PM stated. Let us used this term for those beaner counters: BUILD-IT! THEY WILL COME. Yes, we do know in a limited production run 2010, the third ‘C’ would be a sell-out and profitable for SRT performance branch.

Metal Crafters insider claimed that SkunkWerks wanted to build two version of the LC23X bodied vehicle [a.k.a. Challenger and Cuda]. What was not told among those various forums with the exception of one – the Chrysler side will get a Viper V10 detuned version for its concept version while the other gets the Hemi 6.4 liter engine. PM also stated that this muscle SRT has to outperform the current SRT8s that are being fielded for 08 and 09.

Ralph Gillis is the Lead Engineer for this special in-house toying of hybrid performance vehicles. As always, we can surely count on him to deliver another punch at 2007 SEMA in coming weeks.

As you seen already with the latest shots, with shorted body now, frontal grill work revised, what else can we expect from this monstrous car? POWER!!!!! Yes! It will south of the current 2008 Dodge Viper but north of 500-Horsepower. It will be more performance than the crated 6.4-Liter that was shown in the 2006 SEMA show. LA Metal Crafters has out done themselves. Arrington Engineering provided some clues to what to look for on the up coming showing of the SEMA vehicle.

As the stouted engineers poured over the recent showing of a fanatic Magnum powered 426-CUI engine, SkunkWerks moved forward under the guise to do the same. It is rumored that the vehicle will produce over 605-Horsepower on 91-Octane fuel. Something that even the Ford Mustang normal aspirated as not aspired too. With adding a clutchless electronic 6-speed tranny, specialized tuned suspension provided in-house Mopar Motorsports, this car should propelled the quarter mile in less than the current SS version.

SRT will be branching out…..stay tuned for PART-III

Monday, May 21, 2007

Car sales are heart of auto industry

Neal Rubin

They had a sales meeting at Bruce Campbell Dodge on Friday morning, four days after the whole darned car company was sold, and it was the boss who finally raised the subject.

Brian Campbell says he was ready to be reassuring, to tell everyone that the cars are good and sales are solid and things are just fine.

"They all kind of looked at me," Campbell says, "like it didn't affect them." And mostly, it didn't.

Few of us will ever spend $7.4 billion for 80 percent of an auto company, the way Cerberus Capital Management did a week ago when it struck a deal to buy Chrysler. Nearly all of us will buy a car, or most likely lots of them.

That's the automobile business: Not rich guys in tailored suits shuffling bank drafts across an ocean, but salespeople and customers, talking about miles per gallon and leather-wrapped steering wheels across a desk.

Products are moving

Paul Sancya / Associated Press

The loss of automobile industry jobs is a concern for dealership owners, as many of their customers work for the auto industry. See full image

Bruce Campbell Dodge has two showrooms and a sprawling lot on Telegraph Road, just below Five Mile in Redford Township.

In the new car showroom Friday, a man in a rust-colored golf shirt was strapping a baby seat into the second row of a Ram 1500 Big Horn 4x4, checking the fit. Close by, a woman had her head down on a conference table, catching a nap while the man she was with struck a deal. Out on the pavement, an extended family debated: Used, or new?

Brian Campbell, 34, is the store's vice president and general manager. He was 10 when his dad founded the dealership, and his first job there was hosing down K cars.

Now he's moving the Caliber, a compact crossover that gets 30 mpg, and sedans with throwback names and styling like the Challenger and Avenger, and minivans that combine with their Chrysler sisters to dominate their segment.

"These products are a lot easier to sell," he says, even if the ways he sells them keep changing.

Since January, he's had an Internet department with a director of E-Commerce and three staffers whose only job is to turn online leads into revenue. Something is working: sales are up 10 percent for the year, he says, and Thursday was huge -- 29 new cars and 12 used ones out the door, on a lot where 150 new cars makes for a pretty good month.

It could be that buyers were waiting for the corporation to make its move. Or maybe they just came to the showroom and liked the cars.

A deeper concern

Chrysler says it's closing a factory this year and cutting 13,000 jobs. The toll is worse at GM and Ford.

The men and women who built cars used to get credit for building America's middle class. Now they get told they're ruining the country with their pensions and health care.

That's a deeper concern in the showroom than whether Cerberus or DaimlerChrysler hires the million-dollar executives the salespeople never see. An oddity in Detroit is that so many buyers walk in the door with some manner of employee discount, or even discounts.

Gary Lanier of Plymouth was the shopper with the child seat. He's an engineer with Detroit Diesel, a DaimlerChrysler affiliate. His father-in-law retired from Ford.

The lease on Lanier's Ford Freestyle expires this month, so his wife will take his Chrysler Town & Country and he'll bring home an all-wheel-drive pickup to tow their snowmobiles and ATVs. But which one?

There's more room for the protective seat, he says, in Ford's F-150. But the Ram has a longer bed. He's torn, and the clock is ticking.

In Stuttgart, Germany, and wherever the heck Cerberus lurks, they're carefully placing commas in contracts. That's commerce. But the automobile business is here, with two salesmen and one customer and his truck.


eBay Find of the Day: Wrangler Unlimited w/ SRT-8 HEMI

eBay Find of the Day: Wrangler Unlimited w/ SRT-8 HEMI

Well, this looks like it could be fun. If you're in the market for a new Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, you might want to check out this eBay auction first. The Jeep that's up for grabs has under 300 miles on it, and while it may look bone-stock, it's anything but. When you lift the hood, you'll find a 6.1L SRT-spec HEMI. The work was done by Burnsville Offroad, which specializes in conversions like this. According to Burnsville's website, an upgraded radiator is part of the deal when they perform these HEMI swaps, so cooling won't be a problem. All the accessory systems work as new, too. Looks like it came out of a Jeep factory, only better. Added bonus: you'll surprise more than a few unsuspecting drivers at stoplight grands prix.

Nice tip, Jay!

[Source: eBay]


Earthquake Details

Magnitude 5.7
  • Friday, May 18, 2007 at 23:11:26 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 9:11:26 AM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
    Location 7.394°S, 151.871°E
    Depth 35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
    Distances 210 km (130 miles) NNW of Kulumadau, Woodlark Island, PNG
    280 km (175 miles) SE of Kimbe, New Britain, PNG
    565 km (350 miles) ENE of PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea
    2220 km (1380 miles) N of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 9.8 km (6.1 miles); depth fixed by location program
    Parameters Nst= 27, Nph= 27, Dmin=916.2 km, Rmss=1.1 sec, Gp= 79°,
    M-type=body magnitude (Mb), Version=6
    Event ID us2007cmcl

    Taking a ride on the concept side: A low-speed look at Chrysler's 2007 auto show stars

    By Kirill Ougarov
    Photography by Kirill Ougarov, Mike Floyd

    The parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena played host to a Chrysler event recently where we got the chance to get behind the wheel of Chrysler's three concepts from this year's auto-show season: the Dodge Demon, Chrysler Nassau, and Jeep Trailhawk.

    Like a nearly extinct species, concept cars are normally confined to their auto-show zoo cages. Seeing them out on the pavement brings about a much different perspective, particularly on a sunny Southern California day.

    Driveable, however, isn't the same as fully functional, and every car had a number of quirks that wouldn't exist in a production vehicle, such as nonfunctioning gauges or the ignition hidden inside a fusebox-type compartment below the steering column on the Nassau and Trailhawk. The emphasis is generally more on design than functionality with concept vehicles, however, and being far from finished prototypes made a real-world test a fantasy. We kept them at 35 mph and under.

    From what we could tell during low-speed cruising, the Demon was closest to a fully functional car. The 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder global engine, developed in conjunction with Hyundai and Mitsubishi, seemed capable and responsive. The six-speed gearbox had short and precise shifts, but was misaligned, and it took time to find the proper gears at first. Another gearbox oddity was the positioning of reverse to the left of second gear without a restrictor mechanism to prevent a mis-shift, which is often the case in Saab and Volkswagen gearboxes. Steering was fairly responsive; impressive considering the car's one-off nature. Overall, with some refinement for production, the Demon would likely prove a worthy competitor to the Mazda MX-5 and GM's Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. It certainly has the looks to do so.

    Driving the Wrangler Unlimited-based Trailhawk proved more of a challenge. The pedal positioning was unorthodox, with the gas pedal recessed a few inches further than the brake pedal, causing the driver to reposition the entire leg rather than just the foot to go from the one to the other. The normally potent 3.0-liter Bluetec diesel six was somehow crippled and refused to accelerate any faster than a snail's pace. Imagine a 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood powered by a Honda engine of the same vintage, and you'll have a good idea of what the Trailhawk's engine felt like.

    Fortunately, the Nassau's SRT-8-sourced, 425-horsepower, 6.1-liter Hemi didn't suffer the same fate as the Trailhawk's Bluetec. The big V-8 didn't hesitate to flex its muscle, so it's fortunate the SRT-8's massive brakes made it to the LX-platform-based car as well as the engine. The Nassau wasn't without its own oddities, however. Shifting into drive required holding the "drive" button while the gearbox rowed through reverse and neutral, and there was the distinct odor of gasoline fumes, the source of which we weren't able to determine.

    It's hard to say which, if any, of these three vehicles will make it to production. The Demon would be the most challenging since the concept was built from the ground up and Chrysler doesn't have a proper platform for the roadster. According to Chrysler Group design communications manager Sam Locricchio, Chrysler would likely have to find a partner to bring the car to production.

    The Nassau and Trailhawk would be easier to convert to production models. Both are based on existing production platforms, so bringing either to market wouldn't require nearly as extensive engineering.

    There's definitely space at the top of each brand's lineup to grow. The Trailhawk would be a good replacement for the poorly selling Jeep Commander as Jeep's halo car, while the Nassau could fit above the 300 in Chrysler's portfolio. The Demon would be a nice addition to Dodge's increasingly performance-oriented lineup, particularly if an SRT-4 version is offered.

    Now that Chrysler is out from under the Daimler boys, it remains to be seen what new products it'll develop. This trio would likely be niche models - probably not be the best route for an automaker in dire need of mainstream hits and smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. But any of the three would likely make an impression in the market - that is if they ever get there.

    DaimlerChrysler Announces 2008-MY Commercial Fleet Incentives

    DETROIT – DaimlerChrysler has released its 2008-model-year fleet purchase program (FFP). This chart summarizes the program’s incentives by model. Contact DaimlerChrysler local account executive for program rules and eligibility or visit

    Click here to view chart.