Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 – five cars heading to NZ

April 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 is the latest and most modern Mopar offering of this well known nameplate and a few of these brand new vehicles are now on their way to NZ.

To kick off 2011 model-year production, Dodge has built 1,100 Inaugural Edition models of the Challenger SRT8 392, all with exclusive content. Only 5 of these will make their way to New Zealand’s shores this month, 4 of which already have homes.

With only one out of the five Challengers left for sale, prior to arrival, Todd Groves Divisional Manager of the Chrysler portfolio in New Zealand, is confident the SRT brand can become a vehicle kiwis will aspire to own. “It’s an honor to facilitate the entry of these specialised vehicles into the New Zealand market and to be able to provide our discerning customers with their very own slice of muscle car heaven. Being such a small market on the international scale, NZ is often overlooked for allocation of exclusive vehicles like these, but this time we managed to make it happen for our SRT fans and I’m really proud to be a part of that.”

On the outside, Dodge is offering unique customisation for those first 1,100 owners. Two colors and fullbody stripe combinations include Deep Water Blue with standard Stone White stripes or Bright White Clear Coat with standard Viper Blue stripes. All Inaugural Edition models will ride on standard 20-inch SRT-exclusive wheels that feature a polished face and satin black painted pockets. Continue reading “Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 – five cars heading to NZ” »

Updated 2010 Jeep Patriot on sale in NZ

November 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

2010 Jeep Patriot

A new interior and upgraded ride are among the highlights of the 2010 Jeep Patriot that has just gone on sale in New Zealand.

Priced from just $35,990, the new Jeep Patriot is among the most competitive compact SUVs on the market and now it’s better than ever.

The classic Jeep exterior styling remains mostly unchanged, but inside the Patriot has been given a freshen up.

The interior is now finished in Dark Slate Grey — the Limited model gets leather trim — and the cargo area on both models is now fully carpeted Also new is the dashboard, centre stack and instrument panel, door trim panels and centre console with split lid for increased cabin storage space.

To reduce noise and to give the latest Jeep Patriot a quieter ride, the engine compartment and interior floor insulation has been improved. Suspension tuning has been revised, giving the Jeep Patriot a smoother ride on the tarmac. Electronic Stability Programme, which now includes Electronic Roll Mitigation and six airbags are standard across the range.

“The new Jeep Patriot is an exceptional vehicle and we have managed to incorporate all the changes without increasing the price,” says Todd Groves, Chrysler Divisional Manager for Sime Darby Automobiles New Zealand Limited, which distributes Jeep in this market.

The interior features in the Jeep Patriot include:

* Premium sound system two articulating speakers packaged in the tailgate; when the tailgate is open, the speakers can swing down to face rearward and play music to augment outdoor activities

* Dual purpose, self-recharging removable cargo lamp mounted in the headliner above the cargo area, which can be removed to serve as a flashlight

* Sliding centre armrest with 76 millimetres of travel to accommodate a variety of drivers in comfort

* Fold-flat front passenger seat that creates a table-like surface for added versatility

* 17-inch alloy wheels on all models

* Heated front seats and deep tint windows on all Patriot models

Under the bonnet is a 2.4-litre petrol engine matched to a second generation CVT automatic transmission. The transmission has been re-calibrated to allow the driver to manually select six gears.

And, because it’s a Jeep, the new 2010 Patriot has a four-wheel-drive system. The Freedom Drive on-demand system engages four-wheel drive when it’s needed on or off-road and features an Electronically Controlled Coupling (ECC) attached to the rear differential. The ECC controls the amount of torque going to the rear wheels by means of an electronic control module and a two-stage clutch.

In addition, for the ultimate versatility, at speeds up to 15km/h, the driver can also engage an off-road mode at the flick of a switch. This activates the enhanced off-road features of the system and the ECC ensures that the torque is split evenly between the front and rear wheels, giving the best traction.

Also standard on all models is a version of the ABS system designed specifically for off-road use. This takes advantage of the fact that, on loose surfaces such as gravel, sand and mud, braking distances are shorter if a car’s wheels have a certain degree of lock up, ploughing through the surface and building up a ‘wedge’ in front of the wheels, which helps to slow the car. With conventional ABS, the wheels would not lock up, so the wedge could not form, and stopping distances would be longer.

The new 2010 Jeep Patriot is on sale now. To find out more click here to visit the Jeep NZ website.

Chrysler unveils new 5-year plan

November 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jeep Cherokee Wrangler fq

The New Zealand Chrysler team has been buoyed by the unveiling of a new 5-year plan to steer the company and its brands into the future.

A total of 21 new models are to be introduced by Chrysler before 2014, with the aim of doubling sales worldwide, returning the company to profitability and repaying the US Government loans.

Chrysler is partnering with its new 20% owner Fiat Auto to make use of the Italian company’s engine and product technology to achieve the ambitious turn-around and the plan has received the thumbs-up from the Chrysler distributor and dealer network in New Zealand.

“We were surprised and delighted by the scope of changes that are going to take place and there is a lot of confidence among our team about where Chrysler is going in the future,” says Todd Groves, Divisional Manager with Chrysler importer Sime Darby Automobiles Limited.

The Chrysler 5-year plan, which was revealed at a marathon 8-hour presentation to industry and media in Detroit, has been put together in just three months under Sergio Marchionne, who led Fiat through a similar restructuring three years ago.

The plan calls for almost $32billion to be invested in a complete renewal of every model in the Chrysler portfolio between now and the end of 2013. It will see Jeep emerge as the largest and most important brand in the Chrysler Group stable, the Dodge brand taking on a performance image and Chrysler paired with the upmarket Lancia brand in Europe.
Fiat will help Chrysler to fast-track development by providing vehicle platforms for a new range of medium and small size vehicles that will be launched with Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge nameplates. Among them are a new small Jeep under the Patriot size and new small cars for both Chrysler and Dodge.

Fiat will also provide technology for a new range of high performance four cylinder engines that are expected to deliver greater fuel economy and reduced emissions. Among the technology that will be utilised is the Multiair system that transforms the performance of a small capacity engine to rival much larger engines, thus saving weight and fuel. Advanced transmissions will also be part of the new development package.

Chrysler is also working on improving the current stable of models that will see the company through the immediate years. These include the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot, both of which have just arrived in New Zealand with completely revised passenger cabins, featuring higher quality materials and detailed finishing.

Two totally new large Jeep and Chrysler models are expected to be introduced next year, but it will be 2012 before the all-new small and medium sized models arrive.

Chrysler says that the changes unveiled in the 5-year plan will see the company increase its sales from 1.3 million worldwide in 2009 to 2.8 million by the end of 2013. Jeep will almost double in sales to more than 800,000 per year, with Chrysler and Dodge each contributing 600,000 in sales. The Ram truck is being spun off into a brand on its own and will have a number of other models included, such as small and large vans.

Financially Chrysler is expected to break even in 2010 and progress to an operating profit of US$5 billion by 2014

Mr Groves says the New Zealand market may be small but it will be making an important contribution to the growing health of Chrysler in the future and plans are already being made to increase sales in this market in 2010 and beyond.