Claremore, Oklahoma, United States
If you've noticed that there have been more recalls than usual this year, you may be on to something. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US market is on pace to break a record for recalls. In 2013, 22 million cars were recalled. We're only a third of the way through 2014, though, and we've already halved that figure, with 11 million units recalled. That's wild.
Considering the past few months, it shouldn't be a surprise that General Motors is leading the charge, with six million of the 11 million units recalled coming from one of the General's four brands. Between truck recalls, CUV recalls and the ignition switch recall, 2014 hasn't been a great year for GM.
Other recall leaders include Nissan (one million Sentra and Altima sedans), Honda (900,000 Odyssey minivans), Toyota (over one million units in a few recalls), Volkswagen (150,000 Passat sedans), Chrysler (644,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and most recently, Ford (434,000 units, the bulk of which were early Ford Escape CUVs). So while it's been a bad year for GM so far, its competitors aren't doing too well, either.
With the exception of some notable truck and van introductions, Chrysler brands have tended to use the Chicago Auto Show to bring out new special editions, pimp their aftermarket parts support or indulge in the occasional flight of fancy. That plan is holding true for 2014, as well. Cases in point are these new Satin Vapor Editions of the 2014-model-year Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 - all from SRT.
The Satin Vapor name may sound like a failed 1970s glam-rock band, or a pseudo-gynecological diagnosis from the Old West, but is, in fact, pretty much a tape-and-trim package for this trio of hi-po Mopars. 300, Challenger and Charger alike come shod with 20-inch aluminum wheels finished in Black Satin Vapor Chrome, and are accented with Satin Black bits aplenty. The 300 gets blacked-out mirrors, spoiler and roof; the Challenger applies it to mirrors and its fuel door; while the Charger has the stuff covering its roof, hood and Super Bee tail graphic.
Interiors of the cars have been mildly updated as well, with all three getting some combination of Nappa leather, ultra-suede and carbon-fiberish finishes.
The onslaught of news from Fiat Chrysler's layout of five-year plans continued with Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis this morning, including the unexpected announcement that SRT was coming back into the fold.
After just a few years existing as an independent entity within the Fiat Chrysler universe, an unceremonious press release hit in conjunction with today's lineup of announcements, saying "the SRT family of vehicles will be consolidated under the Dodge brand." Group CEO Sergio Marchionne thanked SRT headman Ralph Gilles for his dedication to the high-performance wing, calling out is efforts in expanding the vehicle lineup and including more customized models. He did not reference disappointing SRT Viper sales today, but we sense there's a bit of subtext.
With the SRT reunion at Dodge, it's appropriate that some of the most exciting product announcements for the next five years have to do with upcoming performance products. First out of the gate will be a refresh for that flagging Viper in 2015, which comes as little surprise.