As Chrysler's new Italian ownership gets to grips with brand identities and marketing strategies, we can expect a few things to change. But dropping the HEMI, even if only in name? That seems a tough pill to swallow, and much ado is being made over the thought due to a report out today.
In reality, however, the HEMI brand will only be de-emphasized for certain vehicles. As Chrysler seek to position cars and SUVs like the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and upcoming Chrysler 300 more toward the luxury end of the market, the HEMI moniker will be down-played, as Chrysler sees it as more rough-and-tumble, belonging with Dodge trucks, the Challenger/Charger, and a few other models.
That makes good sense. It makes even more sense when you consider that the HEMI engine will still be available under the hoods of the cars where it's not a selling point. The power delivery of the HEMI will still be there, but it won't be the primary focus. Chrysler's smoother, quieter Pentastar V-6, on the other hand, may be. At 290-horsepower with V-6 efficiency, the V-6 makes good sense, too.
So don't fret, HEMI lovers. You'll still get your branding with the cars that are all about the power (and torque). In fact, there's even a new, larger 6.4-liter HEMI on the way for 2011. And you can still get at least one form of the HEMI in the more luxury-targeted vehicles, too. Even if you don't get the badge on the outside.