Performance enthusiasts of the brand that used to wear the Pentastar have been crying for the Barracuda to return ever since the revival of the Dodge Challenger. According to a report in the automotive trade publication Automotive News, they may get their wish, although details are still sketchy.
However, at a closed-to-the-media dealer meeting in Las Vegas, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles displayed as “Dodge Barracuda convertible and a swoopy next-generation Dodge Charger said to resemble a popular 1999 concept designed by Tom Gale” to the people who would be selling them.
The Barracuda and Charger—and it could be reasonably expected, the next generation of Dodge Challenger—are to be based on the rear-wheel-drive platform designed for the return of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, recently shown in Italy in June. Forthcoming Alfa Romeo and Maserati models were put on display, and the question whether to Abarth or not to Abarth was answered, at least for Fiat dealers, who were shown a regular and an Abarth performance version of the Fiat 124 Spider. The 124 Spider will be made by Mazda and share how much we’re not sure yet with the new Mazda Miata MX-5.
Speaking of performance, dealers got to see a Jeep that would go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. Dubbed the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Track Hawk, it’s to be powered by the 707-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V-8 engine.
On the other hand, dealers were not shown the Jeep Wrangler-based pickup. Draw whatever conclusion you might from that, but Jeep was surprised at the success of the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Might they suspect that lightning won’t strike twice?
That said, the next-generation Jeep Wrangler that, one dealer told Automotive News, “stays pretty true to its current form.” Jeep dealers will also get a new model, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, said to be a “luxury SUV with seating for eight.” Jeep dealers presumably would be able up against not only the Lexus LX 570 and Infiniti QX80, as well as domestic competition from Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Though one might think that reviving the Chrysler Aspen SUV might accomplish the luxury sport-utility function and stay within character better than a luxury Jeep.
All in all, FCA told dealers to expect as many as 30 new or refreshed models within 2 years. It’s all something worth anticipating,