For Sale By:Dealer
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Blue
Cuero, Texas, United States
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.
Watchers of the auto industry will notice a theme among the formerly bankrupted American automakers, General Motors and Chrysler. There are the post-bankruptcy vehicles, and the pre-bankruptcy vehicles. The former, in the case of Chrysler, include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the 200 and 300. For GM, there's the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Impala and Buick Encore, among others. These vehicles have the freshest styling, with sharp exteriors and well-crafted interiors, as well as advanced powertrains and well-sorted chassis.
As for the pre-bankruptcy vehicles, they tend to be easy to spot. Most suffer from inferior driving dynamics, cheaper interiors, poorer fuel economy and often homely looks (we know, there were some decent cars before the bankruptcy, but they were pretty heavily outweighed by the bad ones). Think late, last-generation Chevrolet Impala or Chrysler 200. Increasingly, though, we're seeing vehicles that split the balance between pre- and post-bankruptcy. Vehicles like the Dodge Journey.
The Journey debuted in 2007 as a 2008 model year vehicle, meaning it should fall into the latter category. But heavily breathed upon in 2011, it now enjoys a new, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a big, critically acclaimed touchscreen display and in the case of today's tester, a new-for-2014 Crossroad spec.
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.