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.