Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dodge: Hey Charger

Dodge Charger SRT

Chrysler Australia wants to import the Street and Racing Technology version.
optimistic about introducting the Dodge Charger into the right-hand drive market.

Australia could soon be saying Hey Charger! Remember the popular and catchy 1970s advertising campaign?

Well, Chrysler Group Australia managing director Gerry Jenkins would like to think we could see a return to that catchphrase by introducing the new Dodge Charger.

However, he'll have a fight on his hands.

Chrysler Corporation international product senior manager Kevin Tourneur from headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, said the Charger was made only in left-hand-drive and Australia was the only right-hand-drive market that wanted the car.

“Charger is sold primarily in the US and around the world in US spec,” he said.

“Japan is interested, but they can bring it in in limited numbers in left-hand-drive and it's a bit of a status symbol in Japan to have a left-hand-drive.”

But Jenkins, who hails from the hallowed Michigan halls of Chrysler power, still has hopes he can change some minds when production plants are moved next year.

“You'd be surprised how things change,” he said. “I'm still an optimist.”

And Jenkins doesn't want just the standard Charger, either, but the 253kW Street and Racing Technology version.

“There is definitely a market for a mid-sized sports vehicle like this,” said Jenkins, who likened it to the confronting macho presence of the Dodge Nitro.

“We can't get enough Nitros,” he said. “It's pretty aggressive styling.

“It's always a gamble growing volume, but all of a sudden people wanted the Nitro.

“I haven't seen this type of demand since the 300C was introduced.

“We really didn't pre-market it (Nitro) and the dealers started ordering them.”

Jenkins believes the aggressive and macho styling cues of the four-door Charger, and to a lesser extent the upcoming two-door Challenger, will appeal to Australians.

“Dodge is an in-your-face brand and unapologetic. It's like a Harley-Davidson thing; it's an emotional thing.

“Japanese cars are very elegant, but ours are all about emotion.”

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