Chrysler Group's Dodge Brand used the Chicago Auto Show to kick off its Never Neutral campaign -- and back up that campaign with R/T versions of its entire lineup, including two versions of the Charger SRT8 and Challenger R/T Classic and SRT8® 392 in a limited edition Green with Envy exterior color. Dodge also unveiled the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango Heat.
"We can't make hollow promises," said Dodge CEO/President Ralph Gilles. "We have to back them up."
During his opening remarks, Gilles talked of the "phenomenal energy" that comes from the more than 300 LX and other brand-related clubs across the United States when members of all ages get together and share their love of cars.
The Never Neutral campaign, as Gilles noted, is designed to meet the expectations from all Dodge enthusiasts and customers with vehicles that live up to lines like:
- Everyone is a car person -- some -- just don't know it
- Factory-made shouldn't feel mass-produced
- Cars can be fuel efficient without being neutered
- Car chases make movies better
Here's a rundown on the highlights of the Dodge R/T lineup:
2012 Dodge Charger SRT8: Available later this year, Gilles said the new Charger SRT8 is "not only one of the coolest cars in the industry but the most technologically advanced Dodge ever."
- Uconnect-integrated system that only not only includes standard navigation and other features but also performance data of the vehicle.
- 900-watt, 19-speaker Harman Kardon speaker system
- 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 engine that offers an estimated 465HP and 465 lb.-ft. of torque for power across a significantly wider rpm range. While the Charger has 5HP fewer than the 392, it has 80-90 pounds of more torque so that the power "is there, the minute you touch the pedal," Gilles said.
- Fuel efficiency improvement of 15% for the city, and 25% for highway, compared to the 2010 6.1-liter HEMI engine.
2011 Dodge Durango R/T: In previwing the new Durango R/T, Gilles included a video clip of the designers and the engineers involved in the project. One called it the "ultimate performance, seven-passenger SUV."
- A unique fascia with fog lamps, a body-color grille surround with black texture and xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps.
- 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with fuel-saver mode and variable-valve timing. Delivers 360HP (268 kW) and 390 lb.-ft. of torque (520 N•m) at 4,250 rpm.
- Best-in-class 7,400 lb. towing capability.
2011 Dodge Grand Caravan R/T -- i.e., the man van. Gilles said the Grand Caravan R/T, with a black interior designed as a man cave, has "everything so you can do anything."
- New 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transaxle and delivers best-in-class horsepower: 283HP compared with 197HP in the previous 3.8-liter V-6 engine; and more torque at 260 lb.-ft. versus 230 lb.-ft. without sacrificing fuel economy.
- All-black interior features exclusive perforated black leather seats with red stitching, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and a premium sound system with nine-speakers, a subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier.
For more on the 2011 Chicago Auto Show Dodge news conference, see the highlight below or see it in full on the Chrysler Communications Facebook Page.
Above: Dodge's Never Neutral campaign can be seen throughout Chicago with ads on buildings (pictured) and buses.
Below: Dodge President/CEO Ralph Gilles at the Chicago Auto Show with the all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8.