Dodge CEO Moves To "Newly Recreated SRT Brand"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

When is a brand not a brand? Or, perhaps the real question here is “when does a brand become a brand?”. In any case, Chrysler introduced its Street and Racing Technology “brand” way back in 2002, and has sold SRT versions of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles ever since. But for 2011, a model-year which saw the launch of the group’s Fiat-fettled lineup, the SRT lineup dwindled to just the Challenger SRT8. Now, Chrysler is announcing the “re-creation” of the brand, while noting that

While we still made SRT vehicles, there wasn’t as concerted effort in development and marketing in recent years.

The new effort will be led by former Dodge CEO (and current VP of product design) Ralph Gilles, who will be replaced at Dodge by Reid Bigland, the erstwhile President of Chrysler Canada. And with SRT’s rebirth will come new products, including SRT8 versions of the Charger, 300 and Grand Cherokee, joining Challenger SRT8 in the initial wave. Though big, powerful SRT8 vehicles are traditionally a hoot to drive, they hardly rehabilitate Chrysler’s rep for poor fuel economy or prepare it for forthcoming CAFE increases. As is so often the case, good news for enthusiasts can mean less than entirely positive business news.

The SRT “brand” may be a key (and ongoing) element of Chrysler Group’s identity, but the distraction of a newly senior executive-led “brand” can’t be ignored. While GM has cut back on its brand portfolio since falling on hard times, the “recreated” SRT is yet another in a ballooning list of Chrysler brands (Chrysler has added Fiat, Ram, and MOPAR since bankruptcy, with Alfa allegedly on the way). With many consumers already daunted by the overwhelming array of brands and nameplates on the US market, adding brands can create as many challenges as opportunities.

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  • Thesource Thesource on Jun 08, 2011

    Always thought Subaru could make WRX it's own brand, as the rest of the standard line-up markets to a whole different set. For Fiatsler an attempt to foster the separation of Eco and Muscle.

  • BigOldChryslers BigOldChryslers on Jun 08, 2011

    I don't really see the problem here. The SRT "brand" is not new. From a customer's perspective, it's just the name of the top-level performance option package available for some Mopars. Mopar "brand" is also not new, as has already been stated above. The stylized-M Mopar logo isn't even new. Nothing has changed in this regard. Many people that don't buy performance parts, don't frequent auto enthusiast chat boards and don't go to car shows probably don't even know that the term Mopar exists. RAM is not new, but separating it from Dodge was new and not necessary IMO. It doesn't really change much from a buyer's perspective. In a way it's good, because hopefully they'll stop trying to make the front-end of Dodge cars look the same as Dodge, er, RAM trucks.

  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.