Maserati details ambitious plans for new model range

July 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Maserati has detailed its ambitious plans to shift up a gear and increase annual sales to 50,000 units. There are new products that will push the growth with concepts scheduled to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show.

What Maserati expect to become its volume seller is an all-new entry-level sedan (code-named the M157) it may be launched as early as next year and will compete directly with the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. Expect luxury appointment on the inside but a Chrysler-sourced engine under the bonnet. The rumoured power source is a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 – based on the current Chrysler 3.6-litre V6 and alternatively, a 224 kW 3.0-litre V6 diesel currently shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The new sedan is expected to cost between €55,000 to €70,000. Continue reading “Maserati details ambitious plans for new model range” »

Chrysler’s SRT8 models may receive supercharger option for 2012

July 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A new horsepower war is brewing in the States between GM and Ford with their retro-inspired pony cars. Chrysler, in a bid to keep up with the big boys is now planning to step things up a notch with a new top tier of SRT vehicles featuring upgraded powerplants. If recent rumours come to fruition later this year, the Dodge Charger SRT8 and Chrysler 300 SRT8 will be made available with an Eaton-sourced supercharger. This blower will boost the output of these machines to somewhere around 540-570-horsepower.

The supercharger option may be a dealer install job and will be offered on 2013 model year cars. What’s more, Chrysler may fit its new eight-speed auto transmission to its four-door sports cars from next year. Continue reading “Chrysler’s SRT8 models may receive supercharger option for 2012” »

Dodge teases 2011 Mopar Charger sports sedan

April 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2010 Mopar Challenger was released in the States last year and proved an instant hit. Mopar fans went crazy for the machine and with Chrysler only offering 500 copies of the model, they sold out rapidly. Now in 2011, the all-new Dodge Charger is filling up Dodge showrooms around America, and Chrysler aren’t going to miss a trick by not giving some special vehicles a full Mopar makeover.

As a signal of intent, Chrysler has released a first teaser sketch of its forthcoming special edition model. The rendering shows off a black and blue color scheme similar to that of the Challenger, but the side stripes have been replaced with a stripe that stretches across the bonnet, roof and boot. The Mopar team has also dropped the bulbous hood scoop for the model, opting for a more streamlined appearance. Continue reading “Dodge teases 2011 Mopar Charger sports sedan” »

Chrysler and Eminem cause stir with Superbowl ad (+video)

February 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The annual superbowl sporting event in the States is big business and not just on the football field. Superbowl advertising has become staunchly competitive and crazy expensive, with juggernaut companies all pushing for TV viewers attention and ultimately spending dollars. Among these advertisers the car companies use the Superbowl as a time to show off their latest wares and show Americans what they are all about.

When the Superbowl took place last weekend it was the Green Bay Packers that won the game but Chrysler and Eminem that scored big in the advertising war. Chrysler’s ad cost around $10 million USD to create and stars Eminem among scenes of his hometown – Detroit. It plays up to patriotism and emotion while also introducing a new and risky new tagline for Chrsyler – “Imported from Detroit”. Named ‘Born of Fire’ the ad is for the Chrysler 200 sedan but has generated more interest and comment than any other this year, making it a total success.

It’s a clever piece of advertising and you can view the commercial below. Also there are a couple of runner’s up car ads from Volkswagen and GM to check out. Continue reading “Chrysler and Eminem cause stir with Superbowl ad (+video)” »

Dodge at work on fuel frugal hatchback

November 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler is hard at work refreshing and reworking its line-up and to go a step further it has announced that it’s working on a small car for the Dodge lineup. This new vehicle is being built with fuel economy clearly in mind and should be capable of achieving a fuel economy well under 6.0l/100km. The mysterious new model will sit on a Fiat-sourced platform and is expected to be revealed sometime near the end of 2011.

Little is known about who the main rivals for this new Dodge will be but apparently a fuel-efficient small Chrysler has been planned for a long time and lead to the creation of the Dodge Hornet concept car (pictured) in 2006. The Hornet was seemingly given the go-ahead for production but never surfaced in finished form. Now may be its time.

Aside from the North American-specified Fiat 500, the new Chrysler/Fiat partnership has yet to produce any real joint vehicles. In the meantime, Chrysler has been reworking its product portfolio, offering new powertrains higher-quality interiors and improved refinement for the full slate of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products.

To read a recent Car and SUV review of the updated Dodge Caliber, click here. Continue reading “Dodge at work on fuel frugal hatchback” »

Turners Auctions to put muscle cars under the hammer this Saturday

November 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Thanksgiving will be coming early this year for Kiwi-based American car fans as Turners Auctions holds an American Muscle Car Auction in Whangarei next Saturday the 20th November.

By definition a muscle car is: A product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder’s philosophy of taking a small car and putting a BIG engine in it and Turners has 29 of the finest examples up for grabs.

The cars going under the hammer are part of a deceased estate and 10 per cent of the auction proceeds will go to the local hospice North Haven Hospice Society INC where the owner was cared for before he passed away.

The vehicles being auctioned include a 1986 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition, 1975 AMC Matador, 1975 Cadillac EI Dorado Convertible and a number of Pontiac Trans Ams.

“This is a formidable collection of classic American automobiles including a number of sought after models that rarely come up for sale. Anyone with a true appreciation for American automotive history should find something here to their liking,” says Graham Roberts, Chief Executive of Turners Auctions.

Fans of the American television series Dukes of Hazzard will be able to relive the glory days with two AMC Matadors, similar to the Hazzard County police cars used in the series, going under the hammer. Those who fancy themselves as a bit of a Boss Hog, the corrupt County Commissioner, should also check out the four Cadillac De Ville vehicles for sale.

Rounding out the collection are two slightly more refined vehicles, a 1974 Jaguar XJ6E and a 1975 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

Continue reading “Turners Auctions to put muscle cars under the hammer this Saturday” »

Chrysler looking to resurrect the Barracuda badge

November 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Something quite special for the muscle car scene happened at the recently held SEMA show in Las Vegas. Ralph Gilles, the big cheese at Chrysler’s Dodge brand in the states came out and told a crowd of Mopar-obsessed fans that a resurrection of the classic Barracuda may be on the cards.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds, especially with Dodge already re-released the Challenger, which was the Barracuda’s fellow pony car sibling from 1970 through 1974, so the new vehicles platform has already been developed. The bigger question is how exactly would Chrysler differentiate the two models if they shared a platform and featured similar styling? Also, how would the model fit into the current Chrysler range? Being that the Plymouth brand was phased out from the Chrysler Group’s portfolio back in 2001, if the ‘Cuda brought back from oblivion, it would most likely be marketed under the Chrysler brand.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us to bring the ‘Cuda back,” said Ralph Gilles, he added that “the customers have been stomping their feet for it.”

This is the second occasion that the Chrysler Group has looked into bringing back the ‘Cuda nameplate, but due to ownership changes and of course, last year’s bailout, the company was forced to put all plans on hold. But now, with improved financial stability it could be time for this motoring icon to return to the fold. Stay tuned.

Dodge Caliber SXT 2010 Review

October 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In our highly competitive world sometimes you have to be that little bit different just to get noticed. Carmakers worked this out a while back and have recently given the automotive world some unique and progressive designs. This holds especially true in the hatchback segment where radical styling has almost become the norm. So how exactly does a new car cultivate a unique appeal in these diverse times? To get the answers, Car and SUV spent a week with the updated 2010 Dodge Caliber because it still looks like no other vehicle on NZ roads.

What makes the Caliber aesthetically different is a mixture of traditional Dodge DNA and a body shape that’s a mash-up of hatchback, crossover and sports coupe. Its styling talks loudly and offers a truly American take on the conventional hatchback. The Caliber announces its arrival with its signature Dodge crosshair grille. In profile it shows off pumped up wheel arches, a coupe like roofline and a front foot, pouncing stance. The squared-off rear features jeweled tail lamps a narrow back windscreen and a protruding chunky bumper.  Exterior changes to the updated Caliber are minimal but do include some subtle chrome trim and a new 17-inch alloy wheel design which helps give the 2010 model an even sharper edge.

Step inside the Caliber and the unique styling continues with a fully refreshed interior design. The instrument panel, centre console storage bin and door panel trims have all been redesigned using higher quality materials. The result is a cabin that is more modern and user-friendly. There are some nice touches like chromed surrounds for the instruments and air vents and smart LED lighting which illuminates the cupholders. The hot rod red plastic inserts in the centre control stack may not appeal to all tastes but it provides another unique feature and matches up with the stain-resistant red/black cloth used on the seats. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels good to grip and has audio controls at your fingertips. Continue reading “Dodge Caliber SXT 2010 Review” »

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