Chrysler’s SRT division open to smaller engines, but there’s still a market for big V8s

2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 6.4-liter HEMI V8

2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8

When asked about Chrysler‘s Street Racing Technology (SRT) division rolling out another big-bore, high-horsepower engine at the 2011 New York Auto Show, Dan Reid, the company’s head of media relations, said “there’s a market for it – cars that go fast and sound good.”

Joseph Grace, the vehicle line manager for the SRT division, agreed that “big, naturally-aspirated V8s” can still find enough buyers to support halo cars. The tuning arm is open, however, to less potent options. “There’s a precedent for four-cylinders [with the Dodge Neon SRT4], and a 6 [on the Crossfire SRT6], and when we get the right platform we’ll look at it again.” Added Reid, “The five areas for SRT are powertrain, braking, handling, interior and exterior,” and any potential SRT vehicle has to live up to that first qualification. Grace then told us that the 6.4-liter engine in the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, with its cylinder deactivation and active exhaust system, was “the most efficient way to deliver the kind of performance the customer expects.”

“We had great success with the SRT4 and there’s a trend toward smaller displacement turbo engines, there’s actually a demographic that that appeals to,” Grace said. But when asked whether there could be something like an Dodge Journey SRT, Grace suggested not and said, “That’s why we have the Man Van.”

As for where else Chrysler is looking for special models, Reid said, “Want to expand the 300 model line to a car for every personality, tailor models to different customers. Right now we have a ‘bare-bones’ model, the 300, 300 S, 300C Executive, and SRT8. We’re looking at the non-traditional customer and seeing what they’d like.”

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