DETROIT -- If buyers want the car, rising gasoline prices will not dissuade the Chrysler group from putting the Dodge Challenger concept into production.
The 425-hp, 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 coupe was one of the stars of the Detroit auto show. The concept draws on styling cues first seen on the 1970 Challenger. It shares a platform with the rear-drive Chrysler 300.
"If gasoline is $4 a gallon and the market said this would be a great business case, we could do it," said Eric Ridenour, Chrysler's COO. "If the market says it is not, then we probably won't."
Ridenour, who headed product development and quality before being named COO in September, said fuel efficiency will play a bigger role in Chrysler's product decisions. But he added: "That does not mean that that will be the only factor in the customer's choice."
Despite fluctuating gasoline prices, Ridenour said demand for the automaker's SRT line of performance vehicles remains strong. There are no plans to reduce SRT's current or proposed future product line.
He said customers continue to look at a number of factors when purchasing a vehicle. Those factors include styling, reliability, handling, ride, passenger space, fuel economy and, in some cases, performance.
"Fuel economy is a parameter, but it is not the only parameter," Ridenour said in an interview at the Detroit auto show.
While not naming specific future models, Ridenour said, "We have some that will be on the more sporty end and therefore won't be the best fuel economy, but still might be fuel-efficient within their segment."