Larry Vellequette reported in Automotive News that Chrysler has purchased 531 acres of testing center near Naples, Florida, to expand vehicle testing. The facility will be especially useful in winter, along with its Yucca, Arizona facility.
Chrysler was one of the first automakers to create an extensive testing facility in Chelsea, Michigan, a fairly good distance away from its headquarters in Highland Park (later moved to Auburn Hills). The track, which is was created by Ford, was sold to Harley-Davidson in 2002; the motorcycle company will still be leasing parts of the testing center.
An anonymous source added:
Chrysler built an excellent hot-weather proving grounds in Whitman, AZ in 1986. It had a 10 mile perimeter washboard road, with 4 mile oval, 2 mile oval, 2 mile straightaway, a duplicate of the Rubicon trail, a grade hill, and numerous ride-roads. There was a large, modern office building and garage/warehouse. Daimler sold it all for $440 million, the largest land sale in AZ history. You can bet that money quickly went to Germany to prop-up some failing European operation. Loose German accounting laws mean we’ll never know for sure. They then leased the land back from Toll Brothers Homes at a ridiculous rate. On my most recent trip to Phoenix last year, the old Chrysler proving grounds sat like a ghost town in the far-flung desert. You could probably go in, rinse the dust off, flip the breakers, and start testing cars within the week.
One of the first things Cerberus did was get out of that lease and take over the old Ford facility in Yucca, AZ. However, most of the employees were less-than-thrilled.
In other news, Autoblog reported that Chrysler chief Saad Chebad said the company was evaluating the idea of selling a 3-liter VM diesel version of the 300C in North America. The car is already sold in Europe, and the diesel engine conforms to American emissions laws; the main expense would presumably be certification and crash-testing of the car as a whole, since the engine is already used by Chrysler in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and will soon be in the Ram 1500.
Dodge and SRT are rejoining the Trans Am Series, with Miller Racing fielding two new Dodge Challengers at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15 and 16. Driving will be four-time series champion Tommy Kendall, making his first Trans Am start since 2004 in the TA2 series class. The cars appear to be driven by 5.7 liter Hemi engines. [...]
Though the Ram 1500 just had major upgrades, another refresh is due in 2017, to deal with the new F-150s and a possible Chevrolet Silverado update. So far not much is known about these trucks, except that they will likely include the Pentastar engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have undergone weight reduction therapy [...]
With the supercharged 6.2 Hemi delivering 707 horsepower to the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper boys are reportedly looking for ways to get back on top. While the Viper may be superior on a tight racing course, the straight-line performance of Charger and Challenger, in five-seaters with all the amenities, large trunks, and automatic or manual transmissions, is a challenge for Team [...]
Artist suzq044 has provided an alternative view of what the 2017 Ram may look like. This refresh will counter new F-150s. The trucks will almost certainly include the V6 engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have more high-strength steel and aluminum to cut weight. The 2017 Ram is also likely to have aerodynamic improvements to increase highway [...]
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 [...]