Who says performance cars are dead in an era of $4 gas? Not Chrysler, it seems. The maker is bringing back the SRT brand and plans to start expanding its line-up later this year.
Ralph Gilles, who had been serving as CEO of the Dodge division, will now serve as brand boss for SRT – which is short for Street and Racing Technology. Gilles will continue in his dual role as Chrysler’s design director.
The move is just one in a series of senior executive management changes.
The SRT brand originally appeared in 2002, when the Detroit maker announced it would “create a line of industry-leading performance vehicles and parts.” It was a time when performance products were making a comeback, and Chrysler began putting out SRT versions of a wide range of products. But, in recent years, as fuel prices began to soar and the market shifted from muscle to mileage.
At the moment, there is only one SRT model in the entire Chrysler line-up, the 2011 Dodge Challenger. But for 2012, the company will add three more: a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, a Dodge Charger SRT8 and a Chrysler 300 SRT8.