Soon, the answer to "that thing gotta Hemi in it?" will be "Huh?" While plenty of pistonhead's have debated the current motor's right to that legendary moniker, it may soon be a moot point. According to Automotive News [AN; sub], Chrysler co-president Jim Press says that buyers not of the baby-boomer generation don't have the emotional attachment to the name their parents do. "The Hemi is not the powertrain of the future. It's the powertrain of today." (I guess he followed Pumbaa's advice and put his behind in the past.) So what engine will the next generation embrace as the performance engine of choice? Press reckons it'll be high-performance V6's and electric motors– even though the Hemi will continue for a few more years nestled in the snout of the Ram pickup. Somehow the idea of Paul Revere and the Raiders singing "Forget about your electric motors and your GTO's…" doesn't have quite the same emotional resonance.
I thought I stood alone. I'm 23 and the Hemi v8 speaks more to me than any v6. Why? I don't know, perhaps it's because v6 engines powered the most boring mid-size cars that my parents drove during the 80's and 90's. Give me turbo fours, inline sixes, and boxer sixes. I've always thought of v6 engines as being v8 engines with two cylinders missing.
I think that the vast majority of young car buyers today have no idea what HEMI means. If asked, they might be able to say that it has something to do with American muscle cars of the 70's. Thus Hemi motors are painted with the same brush as all Detroit cars. That is, something unreliable, and to be avoided if one can afford to. Hence, no interest in it. The greater concern of modern car buyers is how to reduce the operating cost with better fuel economy. Unless a hemi motor can help in that department, then it is a nitch product for muscle car fans.