Not all is certain at Dodge, however, despite the rosy outlook. The Caliber SRT4 is due for a refresh, as is the disappointing Avenger, both scheduled for the 2010 model year. The Magnum is due for restyling in 2011 but it may be cut altogether, reports Automotive News. The changes may bring back some of the verve missing from Dodge’s more mainstream models, but we’ll have to wait two years to find out.
Bright spots at Dodge include the new 2008 Challenger, which will come at the Chicago auto show. The Challenger will be limited-run only for 2008, topping out at about 5,000 units. Thankfully they will all be the SRT model with the 6.1L Hemi mated to a five-speed auto. The 5.7L Hemi and six-speed manual transmission will not be available until the 2009 New York auto show. Production will also be ramped up in 2009, topping the 30,000 mark. The freshened 2008 Viper brings 600hp, 560lb-ft (769 NM) torque, a revamped transmission and dual-flywheel clutch that gets rid of the truck-like feel, and more trunk space.
Chrysler’s situation is somewhat more precarious as the PT Cruiser is scheduled to sunset production in 2009 along with Chrysler’s retro styling theme. The Sebring is facing an extensive remaking because the new management a Chrysler is not satisfied with quality or styling. The Crossfire is almost certainly going to be cut as it was based heavily on Daimler-sourced materials and labor. Finally, the Pacifica is also scheduled to end production in 2009, but it may see an extended life under a different name.
Although the dramatic change going on at Chrysler may seem like instability, it can also be interpreted as growth, which is something the car maker desperately needs to keep abreast of the ever-advancing automotive industry.