Claremore, Oklahoma, United States
It's fascinating the way that one change to a complex system can have all sorts of unintended consequences. For instance, there are hundreds of new Chrysler Town and County and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans built in Windsor, Ontario, sitting in lots on the Detroit waterfront because of the energy boom in the Bakken oil field in the northern US and parts of Canada.
The huge amount of crude oil coming from these sites mostly use freight trains for transport, and that supply boom has resulted in a shortage of railcars to carry other goods. According to The Windsor Star, North American crude oil transport by train has gone from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 434,032 carloads in 2013. Making matters worse, some North American rail infrastructure is still damaged because of this year's harsh winter, and that's slowing things down even further.
Chrysler admits to The Star that it has had some delivery delays due to the freight train shortage. In the meantime, it's using more trucks to deliver its vehicles. Trucking is a far less economical solution, partially because a train can carry so many more units at one time, but alternatives are slim. The Windsor plant alone has a deal for 33 trucks to distribute the minivans around Canada and the Midwestern US.
Yesterday's big announcement focusing on the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat had plenty of stuff going for it - information, pictures and the rabid enthusiasm that always accompanies such an eagerly anticipated reveal. What it was lacking, though, was a proliferation of videos of the new model.
Sure, yesterday's news came with one clip, but today, Dodge has come through with five videos. We've arranged them in what we think will be the most entertaining order, covering the powertrain, before moving on to exterior and interior design, then on to a full CGI dissection of the SRT Hellcat before capping things off with a piece on the non-supercharged Challenger SRT392.
Take a look below for all five videos, then head into Comments and let us know what you think.
This is why we love Ralph Gilles. While in Italy hanging out with a group of Viper Club members in Europe, the SRT boss took the time to respond to a question directed at him on Instagram in regards to the future of Dodge.
Recent reports have painted a bleak picture for Dodge, but Gilles defended Chrysler's full-line brand by stating that the rumors are, "all rumors, Dodge is here to stay! It may get more focused going forward but not killed!" The idea of a "more focused" Dodge brand could lend some credibility to reports that the Grand Caravan and Durango are on their way out, which would leave Dodge solely as a car, or car-based, automaker.