DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler group is adding two high-powered trucks to its Dodge Ram lineup, furthering an industry trend toward more muscular vehicles.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Chrysler said the new Dodge Ram Power Wagon and SRT-10 Quad Cab will join its lineup this autumn for the 2005 model year – the two Ram derivatives are part of an aggressive product enhancement.
AP said Auburn Hills-based Chrysler plans to introduce 25 new cars and trucks by the end of 2006, including nine this year.
Chrysler president and CEO Dieter Zetsche reportedly has said fresh new vehicles are the key to the company’s turnaround.
AP said Chrysler has yet to formally announce the upcoming rebirth of the Dodge Charger muscle car and a new full-size SUV called the Jeep Commander, but company officials have acknowledged their place in the product pipeline.
The Power Wagon returns to Dodge for the first time in 25 years, the report said – based on the Dodge Ram 2500, it is designed more for rugged working conditions than for mainstream driving.
AP said its 33-inch tyres are the tallest standard tyres offered on a production pickup and the Power Wagon will come equipped with one engine, the 345-horsepower Hemi V8.
The report said the Quad Cab is aimed at truck enthusiasts who want racing performance with room for the family and towing capacity – the four-door version of Dodge’s existing Ram SRT-10 regular cab pickup will come equipped with a 500-horsepower Dodge Viper V10 engine.
Mike Wall, an analyst with the automotive forecasting firm CSM Worldwide, told the Associated Press Chrysler is simply catering to consumer tastes – truck and SUV sales, for example, were up 7.3% from a year ago to the end of May, despite rising fuel prices.
“The demand is still for bigger, badder, faster,” Wall reportedly said. “Certainly, you have to be concerned about the environmental side and where those trends are going, and you need to have contingencies in place. But Chrysler is following the consumer, and at the end of the day you can’t go wrong betting on the consumer.”