Chrysler sets prices on 4 new SRT models
Photo credit: CHRYSLER
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Editor's note: Tentative pricing figures for the Dodge Charger SRT8 and the Dodge Challenger SRT8 have been revised by Chrysler since this story originally was posted on July 15.
LOS ANGELES -- Chrysler Group, which is reviving its SRT performance brand, has set prices on the first four SRT vehicles it is selling: the Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
Chrysler will start building the vehicles at the end of July and they will arrive in dealerships before the end of the third quarter.
Tentative prices, including $825 shipping, are as follows:
2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 -- $46,620
2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 -- $47,995
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 -- $55,295
2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 -- $44,820 (price does not include a $1,300 gas guzzler tax on the automatic transmission and $1,000 for the six-speed manual.)
The 2012 Challenger is largely a carryover from the 2011 model. But the 300, Charger and Grand Cherokee are new.
At the heart of the performance cars is a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine that cranks out 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 470 lb. ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm in the Challenger, Charger and 300.
The horsepower is the same for the Grand Cherokee, but the torque is slightly different: 465 lb. ft. at 4,200 rpm. It is the most powerful Hemi V-8 Chrysler has ever made.
Speaking at the media launch of the vehicles here, Ralph Gilles, CEO of the newly created SRT brand, said one of the critical questions Chrysler had to answer was: "How are you going to sell these cars in this day and age?"
To overcome that hurdle, Chrysler has made them not only more powerful but more efficient. For the first time ever, the SRT engines offer Chrysler's cylinder deactivation technology, which shuts down four of the eight cylinders at freeway speeds to maximize fuel economy.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne recently put Gilles in charge of the newly created SRT brand to revive the automaker's performance aspirations that had gone dormant during what Gilles refers to as the "dark ages of private equity" ownership by Cerberus Capital Management from 2007-2009.
Gilles said he is hiring staffers for his SRT team and will have a dedicated team of SRT engineers. He will also have his own marketing budget. Gilles says he will not rely so much on traditional marketing but will utilize the Internet, motorsports and special events. He says he will work particularly hard to build a bond with SRT owner groups.
The SRT lineup serve as a showcase for technology within Chrysler. Featured on the new cars is an 18-speaker Harman Kardon sound system supplied by Harman/Becker Automotive Systems.
Gilles says the SRT brand's flagship vehicle - the Dodge Viper - is on track to come to market in 2012.
SRT, which stands for Street and Racing Technologies, was founded in 2002 during the DaimlerChrysler era. SRT sales peaked in 2006 when there were ten Chrysler vehicles wearing the SRT badge. Gilles promises to be more selective about what cars get the SRT treatment.
You can reach Bradford Wernle at email@example.com.