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Auto blogWed, 29 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST
Including all-wheel-drive models, there are ten versions of the 2015 Dodge Charger. The tenth variant - better described as the ten-tenths variant and the topmost model - is this Charger SRT Hellcat.
Superficially, you already know what it is: take the massively powerful Hellcat engine that's Frankensteined into the Dodge Challenger and stitch it into the recently facelifted Charger sedan.
Oh, but that would be superficial knowledge indeed. Russ Ruedisueli, vehicle line executive and head engineer for SRT, claims the Charger Hellcat is, "The industry's most irreverent four-door supercar." We looked up the word "irreverent" in the Oxford dictionaries, and it turns out the word doesn't mean "707 horsepower," nor "650 pound-feet of torque" nor "3.7-second 0-60 time, and seats five adults." It does mean, "Showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously."
Dodge is just days away from unveiling refreshed versions of the Charger and Challenger at the 2014 New York Auto Show, models promising updated styling and new powertrain options. Depending on how you look at it, the company is either so confident in its forthcoming 2015 models that it's offering an interesting Double-Up lease deal on the current vehicles, or it's so eager to clear out existing stock that it's resorting to novel lease deals. In any case, what they present is an interesting scenario, one which allows buyers to get the existing model right now, and then trade up to the facelifted 2015 models in one year.
Starting April 17, when the refreshed cars debut through the end of August, buyers can lease a 2014 Charger or Challenger for one year and exchange it for a three-year lease on a 2015 model next year, with no additional money down and the same monthly payment. Customers can even switch vehicles when the new lease starts. If drivers want to buy the '15, they get $1,000 off the purchase price. To be eligible, both leases must use the same dealership and be financed through Chrysler Capital. The Double-Up deal excludes the SRT versions of both cars and Charger SE models.
To offset the flood of one-year-old models coming back to dealerships, Dodge has struck a deal with rental car agency Enterprise, which has agreed to buy them all. "One-year leases are highly unusual in the industry," said company spokesperson Ralph Kisiel, and the fleet sale deal is what makes it possible.
General Motors isn't the only automaker with ignition switch problems. Chrysler is fighting it too and is now announcing a recall of 695,957 examples worldwide of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008-2010 model years, plus the 2009-2010 Dodge Journey.
According to a statement from Chrysler, the models have a bad wireless ignition node detent ring in the ignition switch, making it possible for drivers to appear to have the key in the "Run" position but for the spring not to fully engage. It can then slip back to the "Accessory" position and shut the car off. If this happens, the vehicle loses power steering, brake boost and the airbags.
There is some disparity about the number of vehicles affected under this recall. In its statement, Chrysler claims that it covers 525,206 vehicles in the US, 102,892 in Canada, 25,591 in Mexico and 42,268 elsewhere. However, the recall announcement posted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists an estimated 438,109 vehicles in the US. Chrysler spokesperson Nick Cappa told Autoblog via email that the reasoning for the different figures "will become clear at a later date."