Chrysler has some image rehab to do. Bankruptcy. Sale to the Italians. The Pacifica. The Sebring. It hasn’t exactly been a great few years for the company’s public image.
And with car lovers? What are we supposed to latch onto? The Dodge Nitro?
Yes, Chrysler has some work to do.
A good place to start might be SEMA. That seems to be the conclusion Chrysler has reached. The company, never known for dominating the show, will bring a fleet of 35 cars to this year’s show. Dodge head man Ralph Guiles (the first African American to head a major auto brand) and his Italian counterpart Pietro Gorlier announced the lineup in a webchat this morning, and we like what we’re hearing.
They’ll be unveiling the baddest Challenger yet, the SRT8 392. A V10-powered Challenger drag pack will appear, carrying a Viper mill, a roll cage, a two-speed transmission (fast and holy…) and a drag-style gauge cluster. Those two aren’t show ponies, either — they’ll see production this year.
On the concept front, we’ll see the Red Line Dodge Charger, with 22-inch wheels and aero upgrades. A Black and Tan Durango, with an emphasis on luxury, will appear.
And, of course, they’ll tune Fiat 500s. The little microcar has already taken the Euro tuner world by storm. It’ll hit our shores with 18-inch wheels (they’ll look like 30s on that little thing), fender flares and a sport interior makeover.
35 vehicles — it’s a hell of an effort…and a step in the right direction for a company that needs to take a few.
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