By on May 6, 2014

Chrysler’s short-lived and amazingly unsuccessful run at an SRT “brand” is over.

Existing SRT products will be folded into Dodge and become the “Dodge SRT xxxx”. Obviously, the Viper will become a Dodge again — which is good news to people who are “Dodge Viper” fans — but there’s also apparently an SRT Journey on the way.

The SRT brand always felt like a bridge too far, the same way “RAM Trucks” feels a little odd. The fact that you couldn’t find a Dodge Challenger SRT on the Dodge website, for example, was more confusing to customers than anything else.

Now we’re firmly back in black. Or red.

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58 Comments on “The SRT Brand Is Dead, Long Live Dodge SRT...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    Glad they saw sense finally.

  • avatar
    th009

    The SRT brand was one of the most mind-boggling decisions Marchionne has made. Mind you, the Abarth brand isn’t much better.

    Does his compensation depend on the number of brands? And that’s why he is also trying to keep Lancia on life support?

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      You can make a brand out of one vehicle?

      GM should bring back Pontiac to make the Firebird and nothing else, then! :P

    • 0 avatar
      ivorwilde

      Marchionne did not make that decision. Wolfgang Bernhard did. I think it was in 2001, when DCX was about the announce the SRT “brand” at the SEMA show in Las Vegas that fall. WB had wanted a sportier line extension for Dodge brand, (loosely) based on the AMG/Mercedes model, also his baby. Literally moments before we announced it (I was in DCX Brand Communications at the time and there with Dr. Z and Wolfgang) we advised from a PR standpoint to make sure we said Street AND Racing Technology, because there was feedback that Street Racing Technology could mean that DCX openly condoned street racing. Just a minor historical tidbit.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Back then they were just separately “branded” trim lines, still sold at Dodge etc dealers.

        Marchionne announced a completely separated “brand” in 2011. Along with adding RAM and Abarth “brands”.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    It would be interesting to know if killing Dodge was a Marchionne idea, or a Car Czar Rattner commandment. Reading Rattner’s book made it sound like the terms of the buyout were fairly heavy-handed.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Does this mean there will be no SRT versions from divisions outside Dodge? What happens to the Chrysler 300 SRT8?

    I think selling the “Dodge” SRT products as Dodges makes sense, but I don’t think SRT necessarily needs to be only for Dodge products. The Chrysler 300 SRT8 in particular makes sense to me, as it seems much closer in spirit to the original Chrysler 300s than the mainstream modern 300 does.

    • 0 avatar
      efridge

      The same thing could be said for the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. As others have said, SRT should be a trim level and not a Dodge exclusive thing.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    SRT should be a trim, not a brand. Cadillac makes the same mistake, “V series” should not be a model, but a trim.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      V-series is a trim. There is a difference between marketing a trim, I.e the Vseries, BMW’s M, Audi’s S, Chevy’s SS and making it a totally different and separate brand.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If you visit the Cadillac website you’ll see they consider CTS-V and its siblings to be their own model. This might make sense now that the Alpha based CTS is out (V being a Sigma) but they were doing this last year as well. If I had to guess, they do it as a dodge on regs so they can actually put a V8 in a Cadillac car, because heaven forbid we just do that because that’s what Cadillacs are supposed to be. I also think it allows them to screw you out of much more money since a trim and motor would only be a bump in price, as opposed to the 15K or more difference between the models. MY14 Sigma CTS-V sedan starts at $65K, and the 2013 Sigma V6 (it’s direct sister) started at $38.9 and went up to $51.6

        http://www.motortrend.com/cars/2013/cadillac/cts/pricing/

        “The Cadillac V-Series is the name of high-performance vehicles tuned by the General Motors Performance Division for the Cadillac division of General Motors”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_V-Series

        • 0 avatar
          xflowgolf

          Just don’t confuse the V with the V-sport, which is also a trim level, but not a model. ha.

          Just to keep things simple for elderly Cadillac consumers. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            That’s similar to Audi’s S models and S-line package, or BMW’s M models and M-sport packages.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Can we please call it the Dodge Ram again now? Brand it all you want, its still a Dodge Ram to me.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      It seems to me that many, if not most, people still refer to RAMs as “Dodge Trucks”. And Dodge started making trucks long before they ever made muscle cars, so offering a pickup seems “on brand” to me at least…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So once again it’s a trim level, like it should have been all along. Chrysler is intent on having brand confusion.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It made sense at the time to market SRT products on their own as Dodge, filled with decidedly non-performance models, was a bit incongruent with the racing image.

    Now that Dodge will be significantly more focused on more performance oriented models instead of minivans, it makes sense to bring SRT back into Dodge and let Chrysler do mainstream, Jeep do SUVs and Ram do trucks. It’s not like many will notice or care, though. You’ll be able to get your supercharged Hemi, and that’s all that matters.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      Positioning Chrysler as a mainstream brand seems a bit odd, as up until now it was positioned as a premium brand about like Buick. While some of their recent products (like the Sebring) didn’t exactly project a premium image, products like the 300 seem appropriately upscale.

      Now that Chrysler is fitting in where Plymouth used to, it seems to me that FCA doesn’t have a entry premium brand in North America. I think there would be a place for a brand above the mainstream, but below the entry Maserati.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        What is “premium” anyway? You can get a basic Ford or Chevy with the bells and whistles of a Lincoln or Buick. The new 200 has the amenities and quality to meet or beat any Buick, but will be offered at an aggressive price point competitive with “entry level” midsize cars. The cars have premium options, but can be spec’d down to entry level to sell in volume. Plymouth ain’t coming back, and Dodge has been branded as a more performance oriented line, so it makes the most sense to move Chryslers as mainstream volume products.

        As for luxury brands, FCA will be pushing Alfa into the entry level luxo/performance with Maserati topping things out.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I don’t think Alfa will have a lineup to support entry luxo/performance. The variation is just not there any more. Even in the EU they don’t have a full line.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            That’s what the new plan is supposed to fix. If they can get the Alfa models to market that they’ve planned, they’ll have a solid linup. Getting people into the showrooms is another story.

        • 0 avatar
          EMedPA

          Have to agree with Danio here. To use Ford as an example, I don’t see anything in a Lincoln that you can’t get in a Platinum-trim Ford, other than garish styling.

          Most if not all of the Chrysler stores in my neck of the woods have Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram under one roof. I don’t think that having all the minivans labelled “Chrysler” instead of “Dodge” will be a big deal to customers.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Most if not all of the Chrysler stores in my neck of the woods have Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram under one roof. I don’t think that having all the minivans labelled “Chrysler” instead of “Dodge” will be a big deal to customers.”

            This. There are less than a handful of Chrysler dealers left that don’t also sell Dodge brand vehicles. This is why it was important to cut down on “inter-brand turf wars” as Marchionne put it.

            Since Chrysler doesn’t really have a specific niche to exploit, putting their products up against the beige-mobiles of the marketplace makes the most sense.

            As Dodge found with the Dart, marketing an economy car from a brand known for pushing performance doesn’t necessarily work out to expectations. We’ll see how the 100 is executed, but if it can be successfully be marketed as a “premium” small and economical car but sold at competitive prices, it should do OK. Again, it will have the disadvantage of being a new nameplate in a segment where familiarity breeds repeat sales, but it could carve out a spot.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Agreeing with Danio is a bit like agreeing with the dictionary. I’ve yet to see him spout off nonsense, and he frequently brings data & reason to hyperbolic discussions.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >Agreeing with Danio is a bit like agreeing with the dictionary. I’ve yet to see him spout off nonsense, and he frequently brings data & reason to hyperbolic discussions.

            Thanks! Much appreciated.

        • 0 avatar
          PenguinBoy

          “The new 200 has the amenities and quality to meet or beat any Buick”

          Based on the loaded up 200C I saw at our local car show, I would agree with that assessment. As I’ve mentioned here before, it also seemed a bit nicer inside than the (underwhelming) CLA, and a couple of Acuras I sat in. It doesn’t even look like it came from the same company as the Sebrings I was renting circa 2009 – which technically it isn’t, as Chrysler corporation no longer exists.

          “As for luxury brands, FCA will be pushing Alfa into the entry level luxo/performance…”

          That might take a while. While I still see the odd Alfa 164 around, I suspect most people associate Alfa with small sports cars more than entry luxury sedans – if they are even aware of the brand at all. Also, I suspect the person who would buy an Alfa is different from the person that would consider an American premium brand.

          “Getting people into the showrooms is another story.”

          It seems there are already plenty of well qualified buyers in FCA showrooms looking at RAMs and Jeeps; the trick will be getting them to look at cars as well. This will probably take a while as it doesn’t seem that FCA is front of mind with car buyers. If customers have positive experiences with their trucks and Jeeps, they may eventually be more likely to consider FCA for cars as well. If the new model cars in rental fleets make a good impression on people that will help as well. But all of this will take years, hopefully fuel prices will stay low enough that trucks and Jeeps will keep FCA going until then…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Doubtful on your last point. Watch for an uptick in commodities, this (among other things) was the harbinger of 2008.

          • 0 avatar
            PenguinBoy

            @28 Cars:
            “Watch for an uptick in commodities”
            I’m in Western Canada – so speaking selfishly an uptick in commodities would suit me just fine.

            “this (among other things) was the harbinger of 2008.”
            That’s the unfortunate part, I think Jeff Rubin might be right.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @PenguinBoy

            I postulated both Riyadh and Moscow are dependent on an artificially high oil price in January. Although I saw an increase in Syrian escalation (and was wrong) due to both nation’s interest in the Assad regime and the region, I did not see this manufactured Ukraine crisis. Although Ukraine serves other purposes, it also will keep oil and natural gas in flux, which is what Putin needs to keep high in order to continue funding his gov’t and rearmament. I see negotiations continuing this month on Ukraine and another possible referendum in the eastern part of the country for annexation. I do not believe the Soviets will invade if they can achieve their goals without firing a shot. However we must remember that whole region can get swamped in April and May. June is really more ideal for armored divisions. I see the weather is improving in Kiev, 54F today with a low of 36F, but mid 60s all week with rain only on Fri/Sat. If commodities start to rise and continue to rise after any Ukraine op is long over, I’d say things are not looking too good.

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/qotd-your-automotive-predictions-for-2014/#comment-2592834

            http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/Kyiv+Ukraine+UPXX0016

            Additional: I just read this and although I can’t corroborate its sources I find it very interesting.

            http://www.oil-price.net/en/articles/russian-oil-motives-in-ukraine.php

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Premium is the new mainstream. Entry-level is for credit risks, everything else is premium.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Right, some brands accept their spot on the heirarchy and exploit it better than others, but no one really wants to be labelled as sh1t tier.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’ve been on a Dodge deathwatch for a while. Now it seems it will get a reprieve. That’s a good thing.

  • avatar

    SO WHAT YOU’RE SAYING IS:

    My JEEP and my 300 are going to be COLLECTOR ITEMS???

    I’m OK with that. I was planning to drop a supercharger into one of them – might as well be the 300 since I’ll have less trouble doing so.

    I’ve never been a “Charger buyer”. The 300 reflects my attitude better. I really wasn’t looking forward to a 300 HELLCAT since my car was brand new. I can easily put a Vortec V3 or Magnuson in and build my own monster. Definitely get staggered rear tires cause I can’t stop wheel slippage as it is.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Hooray! Horace and John’s name lives on. It’s like the man said at the Dodge dealership in the week they were negotiating the sale to Fiat: Dodge will live forever, it is just the caretakers who change.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Well, the reason that Dodge lost the Ram marquee is partially because Marchione wanted Dodge to become an all-unibody lineup (why, I don’t know). But the whole Dodge/SRT split seemed kind of stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Unibody has nothing to do with the split, if that was the case then they wouldn’t have made the Caravan C/V into a RAM C/V. The reason why is because they wanted to increase their presence in the commercial truck side of things. Hence why they’re now selling the ProMaster, and the ProMaster City is on the way next. Chrysler is now pushing 4400 and 4500 Chassis Cabs, something they haven’t done in the past.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    My read:
    Chrysler = Hyundai wannabe
    Dodge = Kia wannabe
    Ram = GMC wannabe
    Fiat = Mini wannabe
    Lancia = rust wannabe
    Alfa = pipe dream

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Many of you (and myself included) were too young to remember an era when name plates became independent for years at a time then folded back into their parent brand. Imperial, Continential, Valiant, the list goes on. It only became common for name plates to stay so in the 1970s. Even then outside of the US the Corolla is a brand unto itself with about a dozen different variants running around. We’re mired in tradition so when changes occur we get confused and offended.

    But to be fair, the SRT as an independent brand made no sense. Keeping it a sport subdivision is practical, you can order an SRT model from within the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Was that back when they were putting those silver and gold medallions on every remotely-luxurious model?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “We’re mired in tradition so when changes occur we get confused and offended.”

      How true. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read the word “Plymouth” today.

    • 0 avatar
      Brad2971

      If that’s the case, what’s stopping FCA from doing the following:

      Chrysler 100 SRT
      Chrysler 200 SRT
      Chrysler (Journey replacement) SRT
      RAM 1500 SRT
      Jeep Cherokee SRT

      To me, things still look like they are in place to kill off Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      In at least the northern half of Europe, Corolla has been Toyota Corolla, the Corolla model of the Toyota brand, for at least forty years.

  • avatar
    phargophil

    I’m actually surprised this move is being reversed. I work under the Fiat umbrella and know from experience that Sergio LOVES brands–the more the merrier. I’ve also learned that the Italian culture of management is rarely inclined to backtrack on a decision whether it was right or wrong.

    Actually I’m more than surprised, I’m amazed.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    I wonder if all of the current SRT Viper owners are secretly hi-fiving each other. I can only imagine the awkward/annoying gas station conversations over the past few years…

    “Hey nice Dodge Viper!”

    “Ummm, actually it’s an SRT Viper!”

    “Ummm… OK… Whatever… (whispering) douchebag…”

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Hah, I bet I get the same thing when people call my GT500 a Cobra. I get that all the time.

      Them: “Hey, nice Cobra.”

      Me: “Its a Shelby GT500 not a Cobra.”

      Them: “Douchebag”

      Me: “Dumbass”

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m glad this is over, I knew from the getgo that making SRT its own thing would be more confusing than anything.

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