You heard it here first – the storied and much adorned Ford Lightning performance pick-up will be making a return soon and may be seen as soon as January 2015 at the North American International Auto show.
Details at this point are very scarce and I have no idea what may even power the new truck – ecoboost, Coyote, new GT350 engine? Just that the truck is coming back.
More info will be posted as we get it
As outlined in Dodge’s most recent 5 year plan – we now know for sure that a 707 horsepower Hellcat powered Dodge Charger is on the way and it has been caught here during final testing. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT8 Hellcat will follow the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat to production by a few months.
Another cool bit of information – the Charger Hellcat will be the worlds most powerful sedan!
Dodge enjoys touting the fact that the Dodge Charger has no competition, and they’re right. The only car it really gets cross shopped against is the Dodge Challenger but aside from that there is really nothing else – and Dodge is very proud of that statistic.
Right from the 300 HP Charger V6 to the 370 HP Charger R/T and 470 HP Charger SRT there are no direct competitors to the car. Some will say the 415 HP Chevy SS is a competitor, but its low volume dictates that any cross shopping is negligible, if any at all.
From a nuts and bolts standpoint its only directly “relatable” competition comes from Germany in form of the Mercedes Benz E class and BMW 5-series. V6′s, V8′s and super performing high end AMG and M versions packing over 500 HP.
With the Hellcat Charger quickly on the way to showrooms some are already pondering how it’ll do against the German super E-segment sedans which include the BMW M5, Mercedes Benz E63 AMG-S and Audi RS7.
2014 BMW M5 – 575 HP
2014 E63 AMG-S – 577 HP
2014 Audi RS7 – 560 HP
It’s unlikely even the Charger Hellcat will get cross shopped against that trio but since Dodge and SRT have already confirmed that the Hellcat engine will produce at least 600 HP we can already see a clear winner – unless the Germans bump their power ratings for 2015.
The upcoming Cadillac CTS-V has potential to knock the Charger off the top off the heap as 600 HP is rumored for it as well, but like the Charger final numbers haven’t been released yet.
Gotta love a good horsepower war!
No I don’t have any secret intel that says the next generation Chrysler 300 is headed for front wheel drive, but I do have some eerily bold facts that suggest this may be the case.
Fact #1 – The Chrysler 300 SRT is to be phased out soon. We all knew about it after SRT was announced to become a part of Dodge again and the apparent lackluster 300 SRT sales were put under a spotlight. The Detroit News soon after reported that the car wasn’t long for this world (but the Grand Cherokee SRT was).
Fact #2 – During the post 5-year FCA plan news conference, Sergio Marchionne was asked by Automobile Magazines Todd Lassa if the RWD LX vehicles would eventually be underpinned by Alfa Romeo rear-drive platform architectures for the next generation. Sergio said that its possible for the Charger and Challenger “with all the Alfa bits removed” but shook his head and said “not the Chrysler though”.
With Dodge now being solidified as a performance brand and Chrysler as a volume brand to compete against Ford, Honda and Toyota, it doesn’t leave much room for a large rear wheel drive Chrysler 300 anymore. FCA has also been busy removing vehicles that compete against other vehicles in the portfolio. I assume you’ve already heard about Dodge losing the Grand Caravan, well, the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger compete against each other in similar fashion. Not only do similar vehicles compete against each other on the same showroom floor, for every dollar they save in joint development costs they lose when they end up marketing both separately at millions a piece for the same sales numbers that one could do, at half the marketing expenditure.
Ask GM how this worked out for them back when Pontiac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Buick were all shilling the same cars with slight changes – Pontiac and Olds aren’t even here to talk about it.
Further, if Chrysler is gunning for Ford, Chevy and Toyota they will need a large front wheel drive car to properly compete against them. A new era 300M could cause havoc for the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala, all while directing all RWD buyers to the Dodge Charger, instead of confusing them with a 300C.
Time will tell, and if they do I vote to retire the 300C name and bring back the (FWD) 300M.