Dodge focus: 'Affordable performance'
Brand keeps minivan but likely will lose SUV
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DETROIT -- Dodge in the next three model years will adopt new powertrains and platforms for many vehicles in its lineup.
The brand will focus on what brand chief Reid Bigland calls "affordable performance."
The brand will retain a redesigned minivan, which had been scheduled to disappear. But it's likely to lose its other seven-passenger vehicle, the Durango SUV.
And a re-engineered version of a former Dodge product, the Viper sports car, will go on sale late this year with a new brand name: SRT.
Grand Caravan: The on-again, off-again Grand Caravan minivan is officially on again, according to Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. He said this year that Dodge would retain the minivan while the Chrysler Town & Country morphs into a smaller crossover. The Grand Caravan will be redesigned for the 2015 model year.
Durango: Dodge's other large people hauler, the Durango, is likely to be phased out in 2014 to make production room in its Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. However, Marchionne said Chrysler is studying a redesign for the Durango that would move it to another plant.
Hornet: Expect a new subcompact hatchback from Dodge, based on a Fiat platform, for the 2014 model year. It would compete with such cars as the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta.
Dart: An R/T performance version of the compact sedan that was to appear in September has been delayed until early 2013. A high-mpg "Aero" model will appear by the end of 2012, while an SRT-4 performance version of the Dart is under development and will roll out in 2013. The Dart is arriving at showrooms now.
Avenger: The fraternal twin of the Chrysler 200 is scheduled to be discontinued in 2013.
Journey: The Journey was refreshed for the 2011 model year with a new interior and other modifications. It will be redesigned for the 2014 model year, when it will switch to a Fiat-based platform.
Charger: The Charger received a powertrain overhaul for the 2012 model year. Expect a new Daytona performance version in early 2013.
Challenger: Dodge will add launch control, a technology that reduces wheel spin and improves torque delivery to the wheels, to the Challenger in 2013, and will redesign its pony car for the 2015 model year, dropping two to three inches off its 116-inch wheelbase.
Look for an SRT version from the new platform, likely resurrecting the Barracuda nameplate, and featuring a new 6.2-liter supercharged V-8, to appear earlier in 2014.
Viper: Production of the re-engineered 2013 Viper starts in the fourth quarter. The vehicle will be available at 15 or 20 percent of Chrysler Group dealerships under a new Chrysler brand, SRT. The 640-hp 8.4-liter V-10 generates 600 pounds-feet of torque. Production of the previous Viper, branded as a Dodge, ended in 2010.
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