Buyers of the 707 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat likely have little care for their fuel mileage, but it is far above the single-digit range the 426 Hemi was known for (and above some other supercars): owners can get 22 mpg on the highway, according to Chrysler/EPA testing, if they use the eight-speed automatic.

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which has a supercharged 6.2 liter V8 is rated at a much lower 12 city, 18 highway with its automatic (16/19 with the manual). It is rated at 580 horsepower, and starts at $55,505.

The 2015 Challenger Hellcat, with a supercharged Hemi V8, lists at just under $60,000. It can run 10.8-second quarter miles (NHRA certified), making it the second fastest muscle car every measured, after the Charger Hellcat; Chevrolet rates the fastest ZL1 at 12.0 seconds (the automatic coupe). The 7-liter Z28 (505 hp) quarter mile time is close at 12.04 seconds; the Z28 costs $75,000.


By comparison, Chrysler noted that the (Volkswagen) Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, at $425,845, generates 700 horsepower but goes just 18 miles on a gallon. The $287,820 Aston Marton Vanquish, with 576 horsepower, is also at 18 mpg, while the Mercedes SLS AMG GT, at $221,580, pushes out 583 horsepower and is rated at 19 mpg.

The Chrysler-developed Hellcat engine boasts a forged steel crankshaft with induction hardened bearing surfaces that can withstand 110-bar firing pressures.  The heads are heat-treated and optimized for thermal conductivity. The twin-screw 2,380-cc/rev supercharger has integral charge coolers and an electronic bypass to keep boost pressure to 11.6 psi or less. Air temperatures are kept below 140° F by twin air/coolant heat exchangers, integrated into the supercharger housing, which allow airflow of 30,000 liters/minute. The setup was designed to assure constant power through 20 laps of a 3.1 mile road course at an ambient temperature of 100°F.

Stryker Red Challenger Hellcat #1

The handle the torque, Hellcat cars with automatics have one additional pinion gear in each of the 1st and 3rd gear sets, and five more clutch-pack disks – two in clutch E and one each in clutches A, C and D.

With the six-speed manual transmission, economy drops to 21 mpg. This transmission has an internal cooling pump and external oil cooler, with a 258 mm clutch.

Dodge did not release city or combined mileage, and the EPA has not yet posted Hellcat figures on its Web site. The standard Dodge Challenger SRT8 (485 hp) achieves 15 city, 25 highway with the automatic and 14 city, 23 highway with the manual.

The Dodge Viper is rated at 12 mpg city, 21 highway.

Chrysler is continuing to cut the percentage of its vehicles sold to fleets, with retail buyers responsible for a greater share of sales.  In August 2014, U.S. retail sales rose by 23% over August 2013.

fleet salesUnder Daimler and then Cerberus, sales were increasingly driven by fleet sales, with individuals reluctant to chance buying a car that was dismissed by (under Daimler) even the company’s own executives. Today, Chrysler sells a higher percentage of cars to retail buyers than GM or Ford, though the percentage is still nowhere near most import makers.

In August 2014, Chrysler sold 84% of its cars to retail buyers, slightly better than its August 2013 number of 82%, according to Automotive NewsGM was the fleet leader, with 78% of its sales at retail, and Ford was close behind, with 80%.

Nissan and Hyundai-Kia both had 88% of their sales going to retail buyers, while Toyota and Honda were tied at 98%. Normally Toyota sells more cars to fleets.

While the percentage of Chrysler sales going to fleets has fallen, actual sales to fleets have not; the company’s fleet sales rose from around 30,000 to around 32,300, according to Automotive News.

With the 2015s coming, and in some cases already here, Chrysler is slapping major rebates onto some 2014s.

The 2014 Chrysler 300, for example, comes with $3,250-$5,000 cash back, as dealers hasten to clear their lots and make room for the 2015s, due in three months. Town & Country minivans are running $1,000-$3,500 rebates, and Caravans at $500-$2,000, but this may simply be a way to keep Sienna and Odyssey from regaining the sales lead.  2015 minivans will also have rebates, albeit smaller ones (up to $1,500).

rebatesThe outgoing Avenger retains its $2,500-$4,000 rebate, while Charger’s ranges from $750 to $3,500 and Challenger’s ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. Charger and Challenger both have 2015 models arriving soon — neither of which has rebates.

Durango and Grand Cherokee, not long ago in such demand that the factory could not produce enough, both have rebates on the 2014s, going up to $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. The ’15s have no rebates so far, but Grand Cherokee has discounted financing.

2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass are carrying $500-$2,500 ($500-$2,000 on Compass) on the hood; the 2015s have $500 cash back.  There are few differences between the model years. Likewise, 2014 Cherokee has up to $1,500 cash back while 2015, whose main gain is a stop-start system on the V6, has up to $500.

Among the Rams, rebates are relatively low this month (ending September 30), with Ram 1500 going from $750 to $1,500; Ram 2500 and 3500 ranging from $1,000 to $3,000; and Cargo Van at $2,500. The 2015s already have rebates, $1,000-$1,500 for 2500 and 3500, and $1,500 on Cargo Van (nothing on 1500).

Ford has rebates of up to $1,750 on F-150, and up to $4,500 on F-250 and F-350. GM has rebates of up to $3,500 on the brand new Silverado 1500, and up to $4,500 on Silverado 2500 and 3500.

Fiats are coming with massive rebates, from $1,500 on 500L to $4,500 on 500C and $4,000 on 500. Courtesy Automotive News.

Registrations of new Jeep vehicles climbed 48.1% in July and 45.2% in August according to figures released this morning by ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Jeep deliveries for the first eight months of 2014 totaled 21,703 units, up 44.7% from the 14,996 registrations during the same period of 2013. Only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ultrapremium brands, Ferrari and Maserati, reported stronger growth.

Registrations of Fiat Group vehicles rose 3.2% month-over-month in July but fell 2.7% in August. Fiat’s YTD market share fell from 6.2% to 6.0%.

Total monthly registrations rose 5.6% in July and 1.8% in August. As of the end of August, year-to-date (YTD) registrations were 5.8% ahead of the January-August period last year. The ACEA data covers registrations in the 28-nation European Union and the three-member European Free Trade Association.

Fiat’s core Italian market remains soft, up 5.5% in July and down 0.2% in August. YTD Italian registrations are up 3.5%, ahead of France and Germany but behind Spain and the United Kingdom.

Note: ACEA takes a break in July and reports July registrations and August registrations in a single release.

JULY 2014
Brand Jul-14 Jul-13 Change CYTD 2014 CYTD 2013 Change
Fiat 50,418 47,587 5.9% 375,260 366,387 2.4%
Lancia/Chrysler 5,248 6,922 -24.2% 46,140 48,079 -4.0%
Alfa Romeo 4,911 5,669 -13.4% 37,794 41,909 -9.8%
Jeep 3,070 2,073 48.1% 19,448 13,443 44.7%
Ferrari/Maserati 1,010 399 153.1% 5,807 2,863 102.8%
Fiat Group Total 64,657 62,650 3.2% 484,449 472,681 2.5%
Brand Aug-14 Aug-13 Change CYTD 2014 CYTD 2013 Change
Fiat 26,711 27,883 -4.2% 401,971 394,270 2.0%
Lancia/Chrysler 2,941 3,230 -8.9% 49,077 51,309 -4.4%
Alfa Romeo 2,630 3,044 -13.6% 40,424 44,953 -10.1%
Jeep 2,255 1,553 45.2% 21,703 14,996 44.7%
Ferrari/Maserati 447 235 90.2% 6,258 3,098 102.0%
Fiat Group Total 34,984 35,945 -2.7% 519,433 508,626 2.1%

Chrysler has gotten its inventories under control again, after a lapse during which stocks of some vehicles became excessive.  Across the company, according to Automotive News, inventory was at 64 days on September 1, down from 78 days on August 1. By comparison, Ford went from 75 to 61 days, and GM from 75 to 72 days.

dealership.jpgThe change in inventory is largely due to high sales, which both reduced dealers’ supplies and increased the average sales per month (days’ inventory is measured by dividing stock by sales per day).

200s seem to be piling up, with 40,600 unsold models across the country — 101 days’ supply — though that may be partly due to reduced desire for older models or stockpiles of newer 200s in transit.  Stocks of 300s have fallen from 88 days to 70 days, with under 13,000 around.

The Town & Country minivan is in Japanese-style short supply, with just 41 days’ worth of the minivan — and 38 days’ worth of Caravans. That’s down from 62 and 54 days, respectively. Rumor has the Windsor plant slowing down for the moment, to boost production closer to a two-month changeover period, after which — in early 2015 — we will start seeing production of brand new Town & Country vans, possibly accompanied by continued production of current-generation Caravans.

Just 5,200 Avengers are sitting on lots, a 49-day supply at current rates. Dart supplies are down to 48 days, possibly due to the declining supply of Avengers. There are 71 days of Challengers, 65 days of Chargers on lots. The 600 Vipers should be cleared off by a recent $15,000 price cut.  As for SUVs, there are 63 days worth of Durangos and 59 days of Journeys.

The news at Ram is also good, with slow-selling cargo vans dropped from 71 days’ supply to just 42, ProMasters from an absurd 187 days’ supply to 128 (that’s under 8,000 vans), and pickups/chassis cabs dropping from 105 days’ supply to just 75. Normally, more pickups are kept in inventory due to the vast variation in powertrains, beds, bodies, and trims.

Jeep is fairly healthy, with all models running under 70 days except Compass at 74 (up from 56).  The Wrangler has dropped from a 48-day supply to 43 days.

Chrysler is still carrying more cars than most imports, even if it’s beating the other domestics.  The industry average is 56 days’ supply, with Japanese companies matching the average, Europeans at 40 days, and Korean companies at 45.  The largest stocks, ironically, are held by Fiat (136 days) and Volkswagen (107 days).

The stop-start system of the 2015 Jeep Cherokee, which helped boost combined mileage ratings of some models by 2 mpg, was developed by Chrysler itself, according to a company spokesman. “Chrysler Group powertrain engineering did all the integration and controls for this system.” The components are, since Chrysler has not made starters for some years, purchased from multiple suppliers.

While a belt starter-generator (BSG) stop-start setup is reportedly still being developed, since it is seen as the most efficient system, it remains in the future. The BSG setup was referenced in both public and private Chrysler materials.

The Jeep Cherokee uses an enhanced-starter system, whose main components are:

  • A stronger, 220-amp alternator
  • An absorbent glass mat (AGM) high-durability battery
  • A modified starter with hardened gears, reinforced castings,  higher-power motor, longer life brushes, and higher-precision bearings and shaft
  • An oversized Denso starter solenoid
  • An special relay and voltage stabilizing module that prevent voltage dips during cranking
  • A Bosch battery sensor which predicts voltage and capacity, also measuring alternator output and battery temperature
  • Special programming in the car computer

The future likely holds the belt-driven starter-generator (BSG) system, which apparently is still under development, being implemented on different cars or replacing the current setup.

Fuel mileage is a key concern for auto manufacturers partly because some customers consider it to be a key decision factor, partly because they do not want to be disregarded during the next fuel-price runup, and largely because of increasing corporate average fuel economy standards coupled with an increase in sales of larger crossovers and trucks.

The future Durango and Caravan

It has been years since Allpar first reported on the future launch of a new Jeep Wagoneer, and the dropping of the Dodge Caravan. With Wagoneer on the books, Chrysler planners may have had mixed feelings about the sudden success of the Dodge Durango. They wanted to drop the Durango for a more-profitable Wagoneer (essentially a Durango with the Grand Cherokee suspension design [...]

Ferrari engines: “Imported from Detroit”

Months after unconfirmed reports made it to Allpar’s pages, the power of Automotive News, in the person of reporter Larry Vellequette, pried a key fact from Chrysler executives — that they cast and build “Ferrari” engines for Maserati. As our sister site reported, the engines are actually cast in Kokomo, and machined in the Trenton Engine plant, using a mixture of [...]

New Alfa in ’15

Alfa Romeo will launch the second new car in its attempted comeback next year, on the brand’s 105th anniversary. Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (roughly, Lombarda car making company) — or ALFA — was born on June 24, 1910. Their next car will be unveiled on June 24, 2015. While Alfa Romeo’s leader, Harald Wester, has said that the company is creating all [...]

Hellcat: invoice and markup

The Challenger Hellcat is a hot image car for Dodge, and the brand’s leader has already said he wants to get as many out to the public as possible, suggesting to dealers that they not tack on $10,000 (or higher) surcharges as they did to hot cars in the past — from Vipers to PT Cruisers. While his calls may [...]

2015 Chrysler 300C revealed

The 2015 Chrysler 300C has been inadvertently revealed by Chrysler itself, in an optional image for its navigation systems. As Allpar sources predicted, the car has dropped the chrome underneath the headlamps and moved the Chrysler wings to the top of the grille, but otherwise is rather similar to the current model. The grille has grown to be Audi-oversized in this [...]

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