Chrysler Moves Gilles To Head New SRT Brand

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

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There’s good news from Chrysler for performance car fans: the automaker has announced that the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group has been spun off to form its own brand. Better news? At the helm is none other than Ralph Gilles, who was formerly the CEO of the Dodge brand. Gilles is an accomplished driver and  motorsports fan, so appointing him to head the SRT division seems like a perfect fit.

Replacing Gilles at Dodge is Reid Bigland, who had been president and CEO of Chrysler Canada. Bigland retains his responsibilities for the Canadian market in addition to gaining leadership of Dodge in the United States. In addition to running the SRT brand, Gilles continues to have interior and exterior design responsibility for all Dodge, Ram, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles.

It’s not yet clear what Chrysler has in mind for the SRT division, which encompasses vehicles from all of Chrysler’s brands except Ram and partner / parent Fiat. Dodge is due to launch a new Viper sometime in 2012, so the move could lay the groundwork for the replacement Viper to have a much larger market presence than its predecessor did. The SRT division will also oversee motorsports activity for the Chrysler Group, so don’t be surprised to see a renewed focus on racing from Chrysler in the coming years.

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Comments (9)
  1. These are great days at Chrysler. If they could just lose Fiat. Fiat will only hinder Chryslers' rise from the ashes.

  2. There won't be a Chrysler or Dodge in the future. Just Jeep and Fiat.

  3. Good luck Ralph, SRT is luck to have you as its head guy. Good move Chrysler!

  4. @nick, I've been fortunate enough to meet Ralph Gilles and I couldn't agree more. Good things are coming from Chrysler.

  5. There has been a lot of positive things going on at Chrysler, but this is some of the best news I've heard. There isn't a better man for the job than Gilles in my opinion. Outlook: Definitely good.
    Regarding Fiat, I think they were the best thing to happen to Chrysler. For the first time in decades, Chrysler is spending money where it counts and building cars that people want to buy & drive - not just to rent. Plus, I'm excited for the Fiats and Alfas that will hit our shores over the next several years. Without Fiat in the picture, Chrysler could still be in the ICU and the US wouldn't have any Fiats coming our way. A lot to be excited about for Mopar fans, and Fiat fans alike.

  6. Much as I really love the new 6.4 liter V8 Hemi, how about the Caliber replacement get an SRT4 with a turbo engine and maybe another get a twin or singe turbo SRT6. I know they are working on the next Viper which is awesome as well, but I think models like those would help boost SRT sales, how about it Gilles?

  7. This Bill Burke agrees that the Fiat merger will not only help Chrysler, but save the storied brand for loyalists like me. It's a two way street as Fiat needs Chrysler as much if not more. To that end I expect Chrysler to operate with a great deal of autonomy and contribute unique resources to this global company with "made in USA" swagger.

  8. The move about Gilles could be smart, but I'm still a bit skeptical as to whether the current Chrysler and Dodge lineups are moving in the right direction about securing higher sales volumes in a near future. At the end of the day, Chrysler and Dodge still produce cars for the masses, which in turn are moving into buying smaller, better fuel efficient, and as high performing as an SRT-8. Muscle car for the masses is a thing from the past. Either they learn that or they will also become a thing from the past...In addition and IMO, they should desist the retro-look style.

  9. @Adalberto, I suspect that SRT has more in the works than we know about today. The new Viper will be a halo car, but they still need something entry-level to sell in volume.

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