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FIAT Chrysler’s New Plan for Dodge and SRT

  • FIAT Chrysler has a new 5-year plan
  • The Dodge and SRT brands figure into that future
  • Read on for our car-by-car rundown

The future of the Dodge and SRT brands has been laid out by FIAT Chrysler. The company recently announced its intentions for every marque under its umbrella, which includes Jeep and the anticipated return of Alfa Romeo to the United States. In the aftermath of Chrysler’s bankruptcy and the merger with Italian automaker FIAT, a new parent company has been formed: FIAT Chrysler Automobiles. And it has a road map for success.

On the Dodge front, it’s more of a rationalization involving getting rid of cars duplicated by Chrysler. A brand-new Dodge model is also on the horizon, however. It won’t be available until 2018, but a subcompact offering sedan and hatchback body styles will wear the marque’s crosshairs grille. It’s set to go up against cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit. Next size up, the Dart compact sedan will undergo a major upheaval for 2016 — and not a moment too soon, since sales have been unremarkable. The Journey midsize crossover SUV will morph into a fresh generation in 2016, and the new lineup will include a high-performance SRT version.

A few years back, the company attempted to relaunch the SRT badge as a performance brand in its own right, but that was always going to be a nonstarter because the basic vehicles receiving the sporty SRT treatment still wore Chrysler Group badges. The idea now is that SRT (which stands for Street and Racing Technology) will become part of Dodge, and SRT variants, such as the Challenger, will be at the top of the range.

One car that won’t be getting the SRT treatment is the Avenger midsize sedan, as it’s being discontinued. So is the Grand Caravan minivan. Chrysler already has the Town & Country in its portfolio, which is the same vehicle. Besides, the Grand Caravan doesn’t fit in with Dodge’s intended image as a brand for younger and hipper buyers. Production of the Avenger ends this year; the Chrysler 200 covers this ground. The Grand Caravan goes away in 2016.

The Charger full-size sedan, which admittedly shares a foundation with the Chrysler 300, will not suffer the same fate as the Avenger. Instead, we’ll see an updated 2015 Charger launch this October that retains its muscle-car aura. A redesigned 2015 Challenger will debut this July.

The Durango full-size SUV received a mid-cycle refresh last year, and it’s not going anywhere. Meanwhile, the gloriously old-school, V10-powered Viper sports machine has a revamp planned for 2015.

What it means to you: The Avenger’s passing isn’t that sad. You were probably going to buy a Honda Accord anyway, like the rest of America. Nice to know that the Viper is sticking around, though.

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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