Large Fiat Chrysler Cars Suffer Production Setback as Supplier Goes on Strike

If every full-size car built by Fiat Chrysler was a Dodge Demon, the automaker’s limited supply of seats wouldn’t be as big an issue.

Well, the Demon’s dead, and all of the Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Challengers built at FCA’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant need a place for five occupants to plant their asses. As of a minute after midnight on Saturday morning, those seats are no longer rolling out of supplier Lear Ajax. A production slowdown in Brampton ensues.

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Rare Rides: The 1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota - a Subtle, Speedy Box

Back in the fall of 2017, we featured the hotted-up Dodge Shelby Charger, born of a collaboration between Dodge and elder racing legend Carroll Shelby. That 2.2-liter four-seat coupe is a bit practical though, a bit pedestrian.

Let’s turn up the volume with another Shelby, this one featuring double the cylinders and half the seats of the Charger. Dakota!

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After Exorcising Its Demon, Dodge Looks Ready to Improve on the Hellcat

What can an automaker do after its limited-run, 840-horsepower performance flagship shuffles off into the afterlife? Move the second-highest rung a little higher.

That appears to be what Dodge is planning for the Challenger. In a world filled with crossovers, electrified powertrains, and looming autonomy, the drag strip-focused 2018 Challenger SRT Demon was just the gas-slurping, go-you-own-way ticket the brand needed to earn a ton of recognition. Now that a brief run of Demons has settled into climate-controlled garages and auction blocks across the land, it’s time for Dodge to turn its attention back to the Hellcat.

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Minivans Sales Show Some Buoyancy in the U.S., but Only Because of Two Automakers

You’d think the advent of dedicated electric vehicle platforms would breed a new era of flat-floored minivans, but most automakers just aren’t interested in going that route — internal combustion or otherwise. There’s no electric Chevrolet Venture on the horizon, nor will Ford resurrect the Aerostar in EV form and name it after a late ’60s muscle car.

Even in our clean, green future, SUVs reign.

The present, however, hasn’t abandoned the minivan, even if the segment is a shadow of its former self. March minivan sales in the U.S. topped that of last March, and year-to-date sales are up compared to 2017, despite the disappearance of two nameplates. Unlike SUVs and crossovers, however, there’s just not enough demand to put wind in every minivan model’s sales. It’s easy to imagine a near future where Fiat Chrysler and Honda own the segment.

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Dodge Offers the Ultimate Two-for-one Deal With Demon/Viper Auction

Mopar fans are among the most steadfast automotive enthusiasts in history. Their ability to openly express their love for post-war luxury, classic muscle, and turbocharged compacts from the 1980s remains unrivaled. While an advocate for General Motors or Ford can certainly appreciate disparate models within their chosen nameplate, Mopar enthusiasts frequently push the envelope of sanity — at least, that’s the stigma.

If you’re unfamiliar with the stereotype, log into any car forum and write that you’re considering swapping an LS motor into a Plymouth, Dodge, or Chrysler. Congratulations, you just made a dozen new enemies. On the flip side of that coin, owning a vintage Mopar can win you a lot of respect within the community. While not equal in terms of prestige, owning a Dodge Aspen wagon will still net you loads of brownie points with anyone driving a Coronet Super Bee Six Pack or Omni GLH-S. Hell, at this stage in the game you might even get a thumbs up for buying a Plymouth Reliant.

Unfortunately, Chrysler’s immediate future doesn’t look nearly as bright as its often dicey past. That’s especially true for Dodge. The Viper is dead, the Challenger can’t go on forever, and annual sales are less than half of what they were 10 years ago. But its fiercely loyal enthusiast community remains, and they’ll have an opportunity to purchase the final examples of what may end up being the brand’s two most illustrious models.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: It's a 2018 Full-size Sedan Showdown

A recent report on the potential demise of the long-running Taurus nameplate brought mixed reactions in the comments section, and is still doing so as of this writing. Said report also inspired today’s Buy/Drive/Burn, in a get it while you can sort of way. Soon, the Blue Oval in this trio will take the dirt nap.

But that’s then and this is now — and you must choose what to do with three full-size American sedans on sale in 2018.

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Rare Rides: The Extremely Luxurious 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible

The Rare Rides series started off in the early part of 2017 with a concept Ghia that was all Ford underneath. A year later we featured the Quicksilver, which wore Lincoln badges. And more recently, a Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia caught our brougham attention.

Time for some change, and to have a look at a Ghia which is all Chrysler beneath its luxury fittings and beautiful styling.

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Maryland or Bust(ed): Driver Nabbed Going Over 160 MPH in Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Indiana State Police proudly announced the capture of a speed demon who was ripping down the highway at over twice the legal limit. The diver, 38-year old J. Jesus Duran Sandoval, was allegedly trying to break the sound barrier on the Indiana Toll Road Tuesday evening when he hurtled past an officer at an extremely high rate of speed.

State Trooper Dustin Eggert, who was merging back into traffic after helping a broken down motorist near the 45 mile marker, took chase but found the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat difficult to keep up with. At one point he found himself driving 150 miles an hour, noting that the vehicle he was pursuing continued to pull away as he radioed for backup.

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Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture: New Package Arrives for the Dodge Challenger

Law enforcement officials across the nation will be eager to learn about Dodge’s new Shakedown package for the Challenger and … oh, what’s that, Steph? Not that kind of shakedown? Alright then.

In an effort to inject a bit of interest in a car that was introduced a year before Barack Obama took the Oath of Office for the first time – beyond, y’know, psychotic 707- and 840-horsepower editions – Dodge has tossed a stereo and a bit of wallpaper at its retro two-door.

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Even More Choice Coming to the Dodge Durango - a Bright Light in a Darkening Brand

While not a new or even recently refreshed model, the Dodge Durango is one of those vehicles that keeps its corporate parent happy through perpetually buoyant sales.

January saw the three-row midsize SUV’s sales rise 9 percent, year over year. Despite the current generation bowing near the start of the decade, and with its last refresh now four years in the past, Durango sales in 2017 rose 104 units over 2016. Along with the Challenger, it was a shining star in a lineup that saw its volume plunge 31 percent between this January and last.

For 2018, Dodge understandably wants to spread the sales net as wide as possible. A such, buyers of hotter Durangos must now ask themselves a question: “Can I pull off this look?”

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The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Won't Return; No Word on a Satan Edition

It’s always risky naming a car or ship after a denizen of the dark underworld. You could run afoul of Christian groups, as Chrysler did in the early 1970s with its original Dodge Demon (later renamed Dart Sport), or possibly meet a much grimmer fate, as explorer Sir John Franklin did with his two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

On a happier note, the Dodge division saw mostly positive PR from its decision to turn its already potent 707-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat up to “11.” The 2018 Demon and its associated Demon Crate drag kit became instant collector items. And why not? The Demon was a full-size two-door sedan making 808 hp (on premium gas) that you could order with a single seat.

Despite repeated promises that the model would be a one-time-only thing, however, rumors exist about a 2019 run.

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Detroit Three January 2018 Auto Sales: Trucks Can't Carry It All

After the industry’s first annual sales decline of the post-recession era in 2017, the small uptick in year-over-year U.S. auto sales in January 2018 shouldn’t be seen as a trend, analysts warn. This year will apparently bring more worry for automakers as buyers plan fewer trips to the dealership.

For the domestic brands, January brought a mixed sales bag. Two members of the Detroit Three posted significant sales declines, while the third squeaking by on the strength of light truck sales. Clearly, having a lineup full of pickups, SUVs, and crossovers helps a company’s bottom line, but it’s no guarantee of ever-higher volume in today’s market.

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Rare Rides: A 1984 Dodge Rampage, the Efficient Forgotten Trucklet

The small car-based truck market was an interesting place in the early 1980s. Chevrolet had a hit on its hands with the El Camino, and it caught other manufacturers empty handed. By then, Ford had lost its LTD-based Ranchero pickup, and in its grief turned to a short-lived experiment called the Durango, based on the Fairmont Futura.

Dodge tried this one. The Rampage.

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QOTD: What's Your Favorite Diamond-Star Motors Crapwagon?

Earlier this week in TTAC’s always entertaining Slack chat, Adam Tonge suggested (without sarcasm) how the B&B might enjoy discussing the market entrants of the Diamond-Star Motors company and picking favorites. Shortly after this discussion, the very DSM Plymouth Laser we saw in yesterday’s Rare Rides fell right in my lap, and this all seemed like destiny.

Of the varied selection, which Diamond-Star Motors vehicle is your favorite?

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2017 Dodge Durango GT AWD Review - Modernity Meets the Large Cruiser

If you’re over a certain age – say 30, or 35 for sure – you remember the large sedans of the ‘90s. Comfortable, quiet, and roomy, those LeSabres and Park Avenues weren’t fun for enthusiasts, but they moved five or six people across town with relaxed ease.

That’s now the purpose of lots of crossovers, including the Dodge Durango pictured here. They’re built to haul families and cargo in comfort, and if they’re even a little bit fun to drive, well, that’s gravy.

That means, on balance, I tend to look askew at this category of vehicles, no matter how well they’re built or how well they do their assigned job. I like cars that are fun to drive, and I prefer sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Which means I am not the average consumer.

For the average buyer – the one that counts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – the priorities are different, and not so different from that of the large, front-wheel-drive sedans that once roamed suburbia before demands for utility and a higher seating position collided with the proliferation of unibody architecture, causing demand for crossovers of all sizes to explode.

All this rambling means that there’s more than one way to judge vehicles. Do you judge them based on how fun they are to drive and how they resonate with your enthusiast tendencies, or do you judge them based on how well they do their intended job, or some combination of both?

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Junkyard Find: 2005 Dodge Sprinter Cargo Van

The European-style vans sold by Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, and Dodge have been with us here in North America since 2001, and have held their value very well since that time. Depreciation of even the most useful vehicle is relentless, however, and it was inevitable that used-up Sprinters would begin showing up in big self-service wrecking yards at some point.

That day has arrived; I spotted the first of the discarded Sprinters in my junkyarding experience, this one in a Phoenix yard over the summer.

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Detroit's October 2017 Sales: Ford Soars, Fiat Chrysler Hits the Brakes

If the Detroit Three want to keep wind in their [s]sales[/s] sails, it sure won’t happen on the strength of traditional passenger cars.

Several brands from Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted U.S. sales declines in October 2017, all thanks to the slipping popularity of regular cars. In many cases, the continued strength of the crossover/SUV/truck market wasn’t enough to tip the scales back in the automakers’ favor.

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Ditch That Slant Six: Dodge Hellcat Powerplant Is Now Available as a Crate Engine

This should lead to more than a few odd pairings. Mopar, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ performance and aftermarket parts division, will now offer a Dodge SRT Hellcat engine — the company’s 707 horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 — minus the car.

Dubbed the “Hellcrate,” the warranty-backed engine and associated kit was unveiled Monday ahead of this week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. This means Mopar fans looking to own a 707-hp beast have other options than just visiting an FCA dealer and signing on the dotted line for a new vehicle.

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Hey, If Audi Wants the New 2018 A8 to Look Like a Discontinued Dodge Dart, I'm Okay With That

My Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era in which I was a sentient being.

As for the newer Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car. By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.

Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely liked the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.

I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan.

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FCA Recalls Almost 710,000 SUVs Over Previously Fixed Rotting Brake Boosters

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it is recalling nearly 710,000 sport utility vehicles to check on shields protecting the brake boosters. The shields were a new addition to a bundle of SUVs involved in a 2014 recall and FCA is worried they may have been installed improperly.

The company discovered that units exposed to water were subject to excessive corrosion, resulting in unacceptable brake pedal firmness. Affected vehicles also run the risk of degraded braking performance. FCA says it is aware of at least one accident associated with the problem but noted there were no injuries.

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Draggin' in the Dodge Demon - One Hell of a Good Time

There’s only one reason for the Dodge Demon to exist, and that’s to go fast in a straight line, preferably at a dragstrip.

Which is why I haven’t fully understood the point of the car, at least up until now. And maybe I still don’t. I mean, how many dedicated drag racers are out there that want to spend a pretty penny ($85K, give or take) on something that’s factory-ready for the strip and easily streetable? Back in the muscle car days, sure, that was a thing, but today’s drag racers are probably either finding a cheap Fox-body Mustang and decking it out, or, if they have the means, going whole hog and buying something from an OEM that isn’t street legal.

That’s just a guess on my part – I’m not as in tune with those who drag race on weekends as I’d like to be. Maybe there’s been a clamor for a car just like the Demon for a long time. Either way, Dodge isn’t going to build many – just 3,000 for the U.S. and 300 for Canada.

I can understand why the Challenger, including the Hellcat version, exists – it looks cool on Woodward, the V8 models sound badass, and it’s the closest thing FCA has to a “pony car” (in my ideal world, Dodge would sell a true pony car alongside the Challenger, but I’m no Sergio). But unlike most sports cars, which can give you at least a taste of their track prowess on the right public road, the Demon’s skillset can’t be safely applied to the street.

That doesn’t mean I think the car should be banned – Automotive News got that wrong – just that, on paper, I didn’t quite get the hype.

Then someone tossed me the red key.

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Detroit's Passenger Car Sales Are Falling Way Faster Than the Overall U.S. Auto Industry's

Across the U.S. auto industry, there are a number of auto brands that are actually selling more passenger cars in 2017 than in 2016: Jaguar, Lincoln, Infiniti, Subaru, Volkswagen.

Some specific models, many with all-wheel-drive availability like the Audi A5, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Golf, are enjoying far greater sales success this year than last.

But you know the story. Generally speaking, Americans are buying far fewer cars now than they used to. From more than 50 percent just five years ago, passenger car market share is down to 37 percent. Nowhere is this more obvious than at traditional domestic manufacturers, the Detroit Three.

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Rental Review: 2017 Dodge Challenger R/T - Cheap, Fast, and Dirty, but Maybe Not Cheap or Fast Enough

“Rumble, young man, Rumble!”

— Muhammad Ali

It’s strange to think that the modern iteration of the Dodge Challenger has now been in production for twice as long as its inspiration. One has to either admire or despair at the way that Dodge has managed to keep this one-trick pony on the lips of the automotive universe, simply by throwing more and more horsepower at it. FCA knows their audience — who cares that the platform is more than a decade old? Just make it faster! Would any of us be surprised to see a 1,000 horsepower Challenger revealed next year? Hell, why not just make it so powerful that it rips itself in half?

But, as with most performance-oriented cars, the real cheddar comes from the volume models. The Deep South is rotten with V6-powered Challys, and the original 3.5-liter, 250-horsepower models are the star of many a Buy Here Pay Here Lot. And while the 2015 and newer Pentastars, which are masterfully mated with the ZF 8HP automatic, can be enjoyable to drive, let’s be the realest here, k? Nobody lusts after a Challenger with too few cylinders. It’s the HEMI rumble that you want. And the Dodge Challenger R/T delivers it, albeit in 5.7-liter form, and it does it at a price that’s right in line with the average new car price in these United States of America.

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Rare Rides: The Colt Vista From 1989 - a Handy Captive Import MPV

A couple weeks ago we took a look at a tidy, light blue Nissan Stanza Wagon, which we determined was a very early example of the crossover breed that would heat up decades later. I can happily report the Stanza was quickly snapped up by an automotive enthusiast who plans to take good care of it. Since that little light blue square is off the market, I found a different vehicle of the same general purpose (and color).

Let’s trot on over and take a look at the Colt Vista.

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Fiat Chrysler Minivan Production Stalled Through October

Fiat Chrysler will idle production of both the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan for over a month in autumn. But with the latter model seeing impressive sales in the United States last month, can FCA afford to hit “pause” on assembly?

Not really, but that doesn’t matter — the Grand Caravan has to meet updated U.S. safety standards if Dodge wants to keep selling them. Unfortunately, FCA only has a 19-day supply of the minivan in reserve after an exceptional August depleted inventories. On the flip side, Chrysler’s objectively good but slower-selling Pacifica has a 108-day vehicle surplus. Wait, that’s also bad news.

At least the line workers at FCA’s Windsor Assembly Plant have have some time off to look forward to.

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QOTD: The Worst Model Names of Them All?

It happened quite by accident last week, as good ideas often do. After last Wednesday’s Rare Rides post concerning the Nissan Stanza Wagon, reader comments got a little sidetracked. Dal20402 lamented there had never been a worse name for a car than Axxess (the Stanza Wagon’s successor).

Before I could unplug TTAC from the Canadian outlet on the wall, other commenters were jumping in with their terrible name suggestions. Seemed like a fun game, so today we open the floor to everyone’s suggestions.

Give us your submissions for the worst-ever automotive model names.

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No Thanks to the New Honda Odyssey, U.S. Minivan Sales Increased In August 2017 for Just the Second Time in a Year

It’s all about product, they say.

Product, product, product.

When in doubt, add product.

New product, they say, will reinvigorate the American midsize sedan categor y. New product, one might have imagined, would provide an ample boost to America’s minivan segment.

Yet in August 2017, only the third month on the market for Honda’s fifth-gen 2018 Odyssey, overall minivan sales increased for just the second time in a year despite another sales decline from that very same new product, the Honda Odyssey.

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6.2 Liters, No Lube: Dodge Hellcats Recalled Over Catastrophic Oil Dump Risk

Dodge is recalling Charger and Challenger Hellcats due to faulty engine oil cooler lines which may result in a rapid, catastrophic loss of fluids. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filed a recall request earlier this month, saying 1,207 vehicles assembled between February and May of 2017 may be affected.

According to the recall information, the issue stems from rubber used in the oil cooler line. Chrysler’s testing revealed that the rubber doesn’t meet the company’s usual criteria. Substandard materials can allow the hose to separate from a crimped aluminum portion of the line, letting oil gush out as if someone unscrewed a drain plug.

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R.I.P. Snake: Dodge's Final Viper Rolled Down the Assembly Line Yesterday

It’s a wrap on the Dodge Viper. FCA’s flagship supercar just rolled down the assembly line for the last time. In production from 1992 to 2010 and from 2013 through 2017, we’re hoping this is just another three-year hiatus for the snake. But, as production is ending indefinitely, we have no way of knowing if that will be the case.

What is assured is that the Viper’s current incarnation is over. Ralph Gilles, FCA’s head of design, posted a series of photos on social media documenting the vehicle’s last two production models as they made their way out of Detroit’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, the Dodge Viper’s home since 1995.

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Fiat Chrysler Files 'Angel' Trademark for Passenger Vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the term “Angel.” Submitted on July 17th, the name would be applicable to FCA-branded vehicles, specifically passenger automobiles, their structural parts, badges, and trim.

Is this to be a special edition Dodge SRT Demon emblazoned with blinding white bodywork or a electric economy car named to poke fun at the beastly coupe? Either way, FCA could certainly use something angelic in its lineup, because the heavenly Pacifica can’t be left to do all the heavy lifting.

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FCA Recalling 2017 Dodge Challengers Over Rollaway Problem

After a high-profile recall of over 1 million vehicles due to a design flaw associated with the shifter used with the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, Fiat Chrysler probably felt it was in the clear as far as rollaway risks were concerned. Unfortunately, FCA is now recalling 2017 Dodge Challengers with instrumentation that might erroneously indicate the vehicle is in park — creating another potential rollaway hazard.

The affected vehicles have 5.7-liter V8 engines and eight-speed automatic transmissions. In total, Dodge expects the necessary fix to pertain to 7,802 vehicles in the United States, 390 in Canada, and 119 more outside of North America.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Dodge Colt Coupe

Chrysler began importing Mitsubishi Colt Galants for the 1971 model year, and Mitsubishis bearing Dodge (or Plymouth) Colt badging streamed across the Pacific Ocean and into American dealerships for the following 23 years.

I spotted this vibrantly decorated ’93 model in a Phoenix self-serve yard earlier this month.

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Dodge's Markup Deterrent Dexterously Defeated by Dealers

Even though we knew the limited supply of Dodge’s SRT Demon would drive up prices astronomically, Fiat Chrysler still made a valiant effort to reduce markups by prioritizing deliveries to dealerships offering the vehicle at (or below) MSRP. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work as intended.

This was especially true after some dealerships found a workaround by having intermediaries on eBay auction off the right to buy one of their Demon allocations. Instead of selling the car above the $86,090 sticker, which forces Dodge to omit custom nameplates and other Demon perks, they’re allowing prospective buyers to bid on the “privilege” of purchasing a Demon at the manufacturer’s stipulated value — for thousand of dollars.

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QOTD: Which New Vehicle is the Worst Waste of Base?

Each week, TTAC’s basic car correspondent Matthew Guy brings you an Ace of Base article. Matt’s carefully selected examples are base models which tick many desirability boxes, proving you don’t need thousands of dollars in engine upgrades, brakes, pieces of trim, or tech packages to have good and enjoyable transportation. Overall, the Ace of Base series is positive and uplifting, presenting us with the best of the best of base. The other half of the basic coin is being ignored, however, and that’s where you come in.

Today we seek your nominations for the new vehicle which best represents a Waste of Base.

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Fiat Chrysler Wades Into Another Massive Recall; This Time It's Fires and Wonky Airbags

For an automaker desperate to improve its financial standing and attract a corporate suitor, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ vehicles have done a good job throwing a wrench into the company’s plans. While there’s nothing unusual about mass recalls these days — hello, Ford — corporate beancounters start sweating when the recall volume passes one million vehicles.

Also, no owner of a particular vehicle likes hearing their car’s driver’s side airbag could deploy at any moment. That’s just one of the issues facing FCA as it calls back 1.33 million vehicles from across the globe.

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FCA's Detroit Dodge Viper Assembly Plant to Close Indefinitely

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is abandoning Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit, Michigan. The plant produced Dodge Vipers sporadically for over two decades, but low sales volume eventually led to FCA’s decision to remove the high-performing model from its lineup. In 2016, Dodge only sold 630 Vipers. A final, limited-edition 2017 run sold out in less than a week.

The two-seater doesn’t meet upcoming safety regulations due to its absence of side-curtain airbags. Rather than undergo a costly redesign, FCA chose to let nature take its course and placed the model in hospice care back in 2015. However, the future of the assembly plant and its employees were uncertain at the time.

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Domestics Abroad, Part III: The Unmentionables

Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.

We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.

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Dodge's Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody Adds Some Much-needed Grip

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets a new variant for the 2018 model year, and it just happens to be the widebody model track day enthusiasts have been clamoring for since the car’s initial announcement.

Borrowing the fender flares and front lip from the Dodge Demon, the Hellcat keeps its 707-horsepower supercharged V8 while adding extra room for more rubber. Since the supercharged Challenger is notoriously poor at transferring its power to the pavement, the wider 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires allow for superior cornering and straight-line speed.

Dodge claims the widebody shaves 0.3 seconds off the “normal” Hellcat’s 1/4 mile time for a lean ETA of 10.9 seconds. It also says the 305mm rubber helps the beast claw its way from 0.93 lateral g to 0.97 — while not earth-shattering, it’s still a major improvement. FCA has also changed the steering to an electric unit with selectable presets, claiming improved road feel, precision, and usability at lower speeds.

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Dial Down the Base: Troublesome Fiat Chrysler Models Due for a Trim Shuffle

Sure, there’s no vinyl bench seats and standard Slant Six engine, but this isn’t 1981 and Chrysler Corporation isn’t trying to boost sales by stripping down a LeBaron and calling it Special. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is, however, trying to make three models more appealing to the buying masses, meaning trim changes are afoot for 2018.

What models, you ask? Two very old sedans and a crossover. According to ordering documents sent to dealers, FCA plans to ratchet down the entry-level price of the 2018 Chrysler 300 and Jeep Cherokee, while also shaking up the bottom end of the Dodge Charger.

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FCA to Dealers: Better Stock Up on Grand Caravans Now

Chrysler’s minivans have been a never-ending beacon of purity and goodness for over thirty years. Less so lately, but the segment remains an important part of the FCA lineup. Intended to replace both the Chrysler and Dodge minivans, the Pacifica did not outsell either at launch. While Pacifica deliveries eventually eclipsed the Town & Country, it was really only due to the venerable model’s extermination. Meanwhile, Dodge’s Grand Caravan continues as the stronger seller and remains a popular option for rental fleets.

This has convinced Fiat Chrysler to extended the Caravan’s death date more than once, but it won’t last forever. In fact, it’s about to suffer a sort of prelude to non-existence as production will go on an extended hiatus in mid-August and won’t resume until December, when the 2018 models appear.

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QOTD: Does Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Need More Cars?

The American new vehicle market is evolving. Indeed, the rate of evolution suggests it may be evolving fast enough to be deemed a revolution.

Passenger car market share is down to 37 percent through the first five months of 2017. We’re not even a decade removed from a time when passenger cars accounted for more than half of all U.S. auto sales. Cars have lost 4 percentage points of U.S. market share in just the last year. While pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers added 225,000 sales, year-over-year, in the first five months of 2017, passenger car volume tumbled by more than 145,000 units.

As a result, automakers are giving up on cars. Not wholeheartedly, not across the board, not routinely. But in specific areas. And this couldn’t be more obvious at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, where the company no longer has entries in the two largest passenger car sectors. Heading into 2018, FCA’s car branch will market two Dodges, one Chrysler, and a handful of Fiats, Maseratis, and Alfa Romeos.

Is that enough? Or does Fiat Chrysler Automobiles need more cars?

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Road Trip Rage: The Dodge Durango GT, All Buttoned Up and Going Nowhere Fast

This past week, your humble author spent three days on vacation with a rented 2017 Dodge Durango GT. The black wagon you see above is the result of terseness at the Enterprise counter, where I had a reservation for a “Standard, Buick Verano or similar” vehicle, but where a base model Elantra with 25,000 miles, stained seats, and wheel covers was presented by the Enterprise staff.

The Durango was equipped with the Navigation and Power Liftgate Group, bringing its price to around $42,000 before incentives. That’s far too much coin for the irritation this vehicle causes.

All things considered, the Elantra may have been less annoying to drive.

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FCA Announces Pricing for the '840 Horsepower' Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge announced pricing for the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon today — not that it matters, as dealers will do everything in their powers to not adhere to its MSRP. However, the starting point for their gouging occurs at $84,995, which includes the gas guzzler tax but not a $1,095 destination fee.

The good news is there are loads of optional extras that only cost a dollar, even though those are gimmick prices already rolled into the vehicle’s initial value. That won’t make it any less fun when you tell your neighbor about it, right before you wrap your freshly minted Demon in a car cover and store it for eternity.

Let’s get into what an extra dollar can get you on this 840-horsepower garage queen!

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Dodge Challenger SRT Demon to Have an MSRP Under Six Figures

Dodge’s target demographic for the SRT Demon, which is presumably Hellcat owners with leftover money, will be relieved to learn that the straight-line monste r will be priced “well below ” six-figures. That’s a bargain considering that the majority of production vehicles that can approach its quarter-mile time are priced using the phrase “of a million dollars” as a reference point.

While it is a little surprising that Dodge isn’t trying to get excited shoppers to shell out more for the Demon, it has far more value to Fiat Chrysler as a media darling. Even at a much higher cost, it would still be too low volume to be a genuine money maker — but the positive attention it garners for the brand is invaluable.

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QOTD: Do You Still Care About Horsepower?

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon produces 808 horsepower; 840 if you find some racing fuel.

I don’t care.

Don’t get me wrong. I like fast cars. I like fast SUVs. I like fast minivans. I like quick acceleration, high top speeds, rapid shifts, prodigious tire smoke, and burbly exhaust.

But outrageous horsepower numbers are almost becoming boring. They’re so common. So ordinary. So…

Easy.

Anybody can throw a few hundred extra horsepower at a decade-old muscle coupe. But what else can you do to impress me?

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NYIAS 2017: The Only Big Surprise From the Dodge Demon is Its Huge Power

We won’t bore you with a rehash of the upgrades and advancements bestowed upon the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, because we already did that last week.

With the ultimate Mopar muscle machine now exposed at the New York International Auto Show, those advancements — and the speculation surrounding the vehicle’s unknowns — fade in comparison to newly released numbers. Power and acceleration figures, to be exact.

This time, the speculation was largely wrong, as the Demon makes more horsepower than we thought. So powerful is this limited-edition beast, it has already been banned from National Hot Rod Association dragstrips.

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A Long Overdue Farewell to the Dodge Demon Teaser Videos

If you haven’t yet heard, Dodge will unveil the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at the New York International Auto Show on April 11th.

If you have heard, then you’ll be relieved to know that one of the most drawn out vehicle releases in history has reached its end.

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2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon's Teaser Shows 'TransBrake,' License Plate Mystery

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s teasers continue, with this week’s spot showing yet another way the Demon will launch like a bat out of… well, hell.

The new Demon will sport a new feature that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles calls TransBrake. According to the automaker, TransBrake does exactly what it says: locks the output shaft of the automatic transmission to keep the vehicle stationary until launch.

Apparently, it does its job well.

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Ace of Base: American V8 Muscle

A few months ago, I promised the B&B they would never see American muscle cars in this Ace of Base series. Why? Well, it’s my firm belief the likes of Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger should be permanently equipped with a V8 engine and its accompanying sultry exhaust note.

I am here before you today not to break my promise, but — as I’ve said to my wife on occasion — to creatively keep my promise. Let’s find out what shoppers get for their cash in a no-option, V8-equipped example of the hairy-chested coupes hawked by the Detroit Three.

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Dodge Demon Hints, Once Again, at Its Output While Showcasing Track Settings

Dodge dropped another unsubtle hint at the drag-focused Challenger SRT Demon’s power output this week, inserting it in a teaser that showcased the car’s unique performance data recorder for its Uconnect infotainment system.

After saying “nothing is a coincidence and everything means something” in an earlier press release, Road and Track speculated that a stamped serial number, reading 0757, was likely the the number of horses hiding beneath the Demon’s hood. Today, FCA let loose another video that showed the “Performance Pages” application in action, with the clock set for 7:57.

FCA has issued loads of cryptic messages over the last couple of months, but with the biggest question seemingly answered, perhaps it will be a little more straightforward when it comes time for the next announcement. I wouldn’t bet on it. As for the performance app, Dodge says the Demon will have graphical interfaces for just about everything a spec-hungry amateur drag racer could want, along with some extra bells and whistles for the strip.

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Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Don't Need No All-Wheel Drive

Like a professional dancer performing north of the Arctic Circle, the Dodge Demon’s strip tease is arduous and painful, beginning with a parka, moving on to the moccasins, then the toque, and … you get the idea.

But the latest installment of the Demon’s online strip tease may have just nuked an earlier rumor regarding the new SRT’s driveline.

Subaru fanboys — this angel of rubber-shredding death (probably) isn’t for you.

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Audi Returns to Top of Consumer Reports Brand Ranking, FCA Returns to the Bottom

The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.

In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid.

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Ramming Speed: The Best Pre-Millenium Dodge Trucks

Since Dodge started producing trucks way back in 1921, it has never held the crown of the best-selling pickup truck in America. Not once. Not even when Dodge was the top brand in America.

It seems from the get-go Dodge has played third-fiddle in Ford versus General Motors pickup truck wars. But being third child meant that Dodge often struggled to be recognized in the market when compared to its more famous competitors.

For enthusiasts, that has always been a good thing.

It meant Dodge always had to be different. Dodge always had to be innovative, or more enthusiastic, or just plain shout more than anyone else. The result of all that was Dodge brought us some very trick trucks along the way that were cutting-edge, that defined a market, or were just plain cool.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 40 years of pre-Y2K Dodge truck highlights (even when they haven’t been so successful).

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Dodge's Challenger SRT Demon Is an Infuriatingly Marketed From-the-Factory Dragster

Dodge has been parsing out minor details on the Demon, slowly shaping its identity, for what seems like decades, when it has actually only been about a month. In today’s publicity sprig, Fiat Chrysler indicated that — unlike the Hellcat — the Demon will be strip-focused with a suspension setup specifically designed exclusively for straight-ahead speed.

With Dodge claiming that the Hellcat is the “ultimate do everything muscle car” with an intention “to strike that perfect balance between drag strip brute force, road course competence and street car civility,” I am left wondering just how streetable the Demon could possibly be. Like most purpose-built cars, dragsters are wonderful at doing exactly one thing and absolutely terrible at everything else. For Dodge’s new hype machine, the added forward momentum might come at the expense of hanging a right.

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Piston Slap: Cancelling Chrysler's Noise Cancellation?

Craig writes:

Hey Sanjeev, (*facepalm* –SM)

I have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, and I’m bit of a music buff. One of the first things I dispensed with was the factory Harman Kardon speakers. I replaced the sub with a JL stealth box. Now I have a pretty big problem with the factory stereo and its the automatic noise cancellation.

When the transmission is in normal D mode and or eco mode is on, it uses the factory stereo to cancel out the drone of the engine. Unfortunately, the noise cancellation is calibrated for the weaksauce factory sub. Now it sounds like one of those bass CDs from the ’90s as I hold speed or decelerate. I’ve asked the dealer how to get rid of this thing, to which they said “you can’t.”

I’m not so convinced.

Any ideas?

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge 600 SE

For most of the 1980s and well into the 1990s, most cars made by Chrysler were members of the many-branched K-Car family tree. In the early years, the K was sold as an all-American economy car for the frugal, but Lee Iacocca had his eye on stealing some sales from European luxury marques. Perhaps a K made to look something like a Mercedes-Benz would do the job?

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The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon's Hood Scoop is Bigger Than Yours

Man, they really make you suffer for it.

In this instance, “they” refers to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles team that inserted a line from Metallica in the ongoing peep show that is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s teaser campaign. Sigh…

Besides a quote from the most cheesily overused song in the automotive playlist, there’s a technical tidbit to be found in the latest release that sheds a whole lot of light on how the Demon will top its Hellcat sibling in terms of power output.

This antisocial, one-seater Challenger variant sucks a whole lot of air.

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Chicago 2017: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT - Three Rows and Almost 500 Horsepower

If you want to scare your larger-than-average family by surprising them with a round of impromptu autocross through the mall parking lot, you’ll have to limit the size of your brood or risk looking daft while hustling a Toyota Senna around the storefront of a California Pizza Kitchen. However, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is prepared to accommodate you and your family on those days where you just can’t help but drive like a lunatic.

Ideally, you would let them out before putting the pedal down, but the Durango SRT’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 can easily move around an extra few hundred pounds of human flesh without breaking much of a sweat. If you decide not to heed my advice of driving defensively with your kindred in the vehicle, Dodge is offering every new owner a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At least then you’ll be more familiar with the beastly three-row SUV at the limit.

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Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Has a Personalized 'Demon Crate' and a Horsepower Clue

The latest video born of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon teaser saga boasts a “Demon Crate” — a box that comes with 18 components, including parts, spare wheels, a mysterious “Demon Track Pack System,” and tools emblazoned with the Demon logo.

Since we now know how the Demon shed its weight, what extra customization could the “Crate” bring?

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Alfa Romeo and Jeep Will Share a Platform to Save FCA Some Dough

Relaunching Alfa Romeo has been an expensive undertaking for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the brand continues to hemorrhage cash while FCA scrambles to get the Giulia and upcoming Stelvio into driveways. While discussing the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa was a financial vortex last year and will remain that way until Americans see more than just the occasional 4C cruising down the boulevard.

It cost a fortune to develop the Giorgio platform that underpins the new Alfa models — Marchionne claims FCA spent $2.7 billion on the relaunch. To recoup some of those expenses, the brand is going to share its fancy new bones with Maserati, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles.

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  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
  • Lou_BC "Overpriced" is a misnomer. Arguably, if they are selling they are not overpriced. "Dealer mark-up above MSRP" is a mouthful but more accurate. Simple, don 't buy anything marked up. A computer will help you search the country. It's a PITA but doable.