To say Chrysler Group has been busy over the past year or so would be an understatement. After filing for bankruptcy back in 2009, the American automaker has been acquired by Fiat S.p.A., and split off into five different brands and two separate performance arms. We’ve also seen the death and rebirth of the Viper, one of the most iconic American sports cars to ever come out of Detroit. The newest version of the Viper has shed its Dodge skin for the more form fitting SRT name, and is the only vehicle to exclusively fly SRT’s nameplate. For now.
There have been rumblings of a Barracuda resuscitation, as reported by sister publication Motor Trend for months now, but it’s all been hearsay. However, new information (or speculation, you choose) has come to light recently about the ‘Cuda as to where it could end up and what vehicle it may replace. If the Barracuda is to make a comeback into Chrysler’s portfolio of vehicles, we expect it to join the Viper as being exclusively maintained by SRT since Plymouth, the original brand for the Barracuda, is long gone, and one vehicle isn’t enough to revive the defunct brand. As for those of you who enjoy the Challenger, you may want to skip over this next part: We also believe that the Barracuda is in line to replace the Challenger for the 2015 model year.
The Barracuda is expected to employ the same underpinnings as the new Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300, but a little smaller. The same underpinnings will be found on several of Fiat’s upcoming vehicles, though it remains to be unseen exactly which ones specifically.
Recent whispers surrounding the possibility of a Dodge Dart SRT4 model have also gotten louder. When pressed about the future of a high-powered, SRT flag-flying Dart, Chrysler officials have shied away from just coming out and saying there will be one. However, speculation has already run wild on this one and it’s been all but confirmed we’ll have an SRT-inspired Dart appearing in the coming months. Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne even came out and confirmed a Dart SRT4 was on the way a few months back, but has gone quiet about it ever since.
Ram has been busy too, since it dropped Dodge from the front of its name, and it currently offers the usual 1500, 2500, and 3500. However, our spy photographers hves captured a diesel-powered 1500 filling up in the California mountains recently. There was also a diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee following close by and this configuration of the Jeep is already used in Europe. Will Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 buyers have the option of stuffing a diesel engine under the hood? We expect this is the case as, again, when pressed, Chrysler wouldn’t confirm if diesel engines were headed stateside, but they offered no denials, either; stay tuned.
Finally, Fiat has been hard at work perfecting a plug-in version of its super-compact hatchback, the 500. We’ve known about this for months now and our spy photographer has captured the electric cinquento testing on multiple occasions. We expect Fiat to release the electrified 500 into the wild sometime in 2013.
One for the road: While still in its’ early stages of development, the Chrysler 100 (which has been thinly disguised as an Alfa Romeo) has been caught testing by our spy photographer and we only expect more information to surface as testing continues. While not much is known yet about Chrysler’s latest vehicle, we do expect it to be ready for public consumption for the 2014 model year. As always, stay tuned to Automotive.com for when that information does become available.
Source: Motor Trend