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Auto blogMon, 16 Sep 2013 14:31:00 EST
Dodge isn't going anywhere. Despite some rumor and speculation over the future of the crosshair grille and the cars that wear it, Dodge brand boss, Tim Kuniskis, sat down with TheDetroitBureau.com, explaining that the marque isn't going anywhere. His sentiments echo those of SRT boss Ralph Gilles, who told a group of enthusiasts in July that "Dodge is here to stay!"
Dodge's death won't be "a part of a master plan to consolidate brands," Kuniskis told TheDetroitBureau.com. Instead, the brand, which is ultimately under the command of Fiat/Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, will likely ditch some of its badge-engineered models, like the Dodge Grand Caravan. A more focused Dodge, which was something Gilles has already hinted at, will likely see it exploring areas of the market that haven't been exploited by other Chrysler brands.
Kuniskis, not surprisingly, wasn't willing to delve into any detailed product plans, telling TDB that the size of the brand's lineup "remains to be seen." Regardless of how big the brand actually ends up being (it is presently Chrysler's volume brand - and not by a little), hopefully the statements from Kuniskiss can put the rumors of a Dodge closure to bed.
As the aftermarket and performance arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mopar has a duty to extract everything from the company's models that it can, and there's no better place to show all of its work off than the annual SEMA Show.
Dodge really gets in on the act this year with several customs to show off different parts of the brand's performance heritage. Perhaps the most interesting among them is the track-prepped Viper ACR Concept (pictured above). It wears a custom body kit to produce even more downforce, thanks in no small part to a monstrous wing at the back. To shed weight, most of the interior is stripped out, as well. Next up, the Challenger T/A Concept takes inspiration from '70s Trans-Am racing in a livery of Sublime Green and matte black paint. The center scoop in the hood keeps the 6.4-liter V8 fed with cool air, and the special's 20-by-9.5-inch matte black wheels keep it planted in the corners.
Also getting the once-over from Mopar is the Charger R/T. It wears the division's body kit, and under the hood, a cold-air intake keeps the 5.7-liter V8 breathing. The suspension is retooled to hold the road better with a coil-over kit, upgraded sway bars and strut tower braces for the front and rear. The company is also showing off a snazzy blue Charger with a mean look. The final Dodge getting work from Mopar is the Dart R/T Concept with bright, O-So-Orange paint and a matte black hood with a scoop hooked directly to the air intake. The performance-oriented design is finished off with a coil-over suspension and big brake kit, as well.
Chrysler has issued a recall for some 2013 Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Ram C/V Tradesman vans built between May 10, 2012 and June 7, 2013. These vehicles may have a software error that would cause the wrong side (opposite side) airbags to deploy in a crash. With this defect, a left-side impact would cause the right-side airbag to deploy, etc.
The recall affects 281,500 vehicles in total: 224k in the US, 49,300 in Canada, 2,900 in Mexico and 5,300 in other locations. Chrysler will notify owners of effected vehicles, and reflash the offending occupant restraint control module to resolve the issue. Scroll down to read the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration press release.