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Chrysler slows minivan production, hasn't built VW Routan this year

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 08:25:00 EST

Chrysler has slowed production of its Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans this week, Automotive News reports. The Windsor, Ontario plant will cut its three shifts from eight hours each to four hours each in an effort "to align production with market demand," a Chrysler spokesperson told AN. Chrysler also builds the closely related Routan minivan for Volkswagen at its Ontario facility, but has not built a single example thus far in 2013.
Sales of Chrysler's minivans fell 15 percent for the first two months of 2013, and a large part of that has to do with the 26-percent drop of the Grand Caravan alone (the T&C was only down by one percent). According to Automotive News data, as of March 1, Chrysler had an unsold inventory of 24,713 Town and Country models and 18,547 Grand Caravans - a 69- and 43-day supply, respectively.
"No sense running full speed now, then have a lot of vehicles sitting around a few months down the line," Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson told AN. Full production is expected to resume again on March 18.

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

Tue, 12 Mar 2013 14:58:00 EST

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I fell in love with this car. It was starting down a nearly straight entrance ramp at 15 miles per hour when I buried the throttle. In a moment, I was thrown back into my seat as the big SRT8's engine came to life with commensurate sound, fury and force, bringing me up to 75 mph in what felt like two blinks of an eye. This thing feels so much quicker than its 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque would lead you to believe. And mashing the right pedal never, ever gets old.
But beyond sheer speed, I found a whole lot to like about the Charger SRT8 during my week with the Pitch Black test car here in Detroit. And while the whole Super Bee kit isn't really my style, it's really easy to overlook those badges for a package that offers so much for so little.
Driving Notes

Small number of 2013 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger models recalled

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 10:59:00 EST

A small number of units of the 2013 Chrysler 200 (inset) and 2013 Dodge Avenger are being recalled over a broken control valve in the fuel tank assembly. The potential 1,785 sedans were manufactured late last year, and if affected with a broken control valve could suffer from stalling or fuel leakage.
A bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that the recall should begin next month, at which time owners can take their cars to dealers for repair free of charge. The full release with more information is just below.

Official USPS Muscle Cars stamps coming to a mailbox near you

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 13:59:00 EST

As much as our digital lives have cut down on our trips to the post office, there are still times that sending "snail mail" is necessary. With us car lovers in mind and philately in their hearts, the good folks at the United States Postal Service will introduce a new stamp design called "Muscle Cars" starting on February 22.
Designed by artist Tom Fritz, the new collection of stamps consist of five classic muscle cars: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, 1967 Shelby GT-500, 1966 Pontiac GTO and 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda. In addition to just the stamps, the USPS is also commemorating the new series with plenty of collectable memorabilia. Previous car-related stamps include 50s Sporty Cars from 2005 and 50s Fins and Chrome from 2008.

2013 Dodge Durango R/T

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 14:58:00 EST

Not too long ago, Chevrolet got itself into some trouble by throwing the SS badge on just about everything it produced, so I've always been a little hesitant about the seemingly excessive use of the R/T nameplate on Dodge vehicles. For the 2013 model year, every model in Dodge's lineup has an R/T trim level from Dart all the way up to the Durango. Although the R/T name used to signified models made for road and track, I doubt anyone would be delusional enough to assume the Durango - and some of the other models wearing this badge - are suited for any sort of track duty.
Still, when this 2013 Dodge Durango R/T rolled up for me to drive for the week, I couldn't help but take in its big, mean and imposing stance. Sure, if I had my choice of buying any of the Dodge R/T products, the Charger and Challenger would be my top picks for sure, but it's easy to say that the Durango would be a close third - far above the R/T versions of the Avenger, Journey and Grand Caravan.
Driving Notes

2003-04 Dodge Viper recalled for sudden airbag deployment

Fri, 15 Feb 2013 14:14:00 EST

As if driving the old Dodge Viper (not the fancy new SRT model) isn't intimidating enough, imagine trying to wrangle that V10 beast and then suddenly having the airbags deploy. Yikes. That's apparently what could happen to some 3,660 Viper models from the 2003 and 2004 model years, and as such, Chrysler has issued a recall.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the car's airbag control module may fail, causing the bags or seatbelt pre-tensioners to deploy without warning while the vehicle is in operation. That's a dangerous scenario in any car, let alone one offering insane horsepower a near-total paucity of safety nannies should things get squirrely.
Owners will be notified this month about the recall, though a remedy is not expected to be available until later this year. Scroll down for the full NHTSA statement.

Chrysler recalling 278,222 trucks and SUVs over bad rear axles

Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:29:00 EST

Chrysler has issued a recall of 278,222 light trucks and sport utility vehicles here in the United States. The reason: bad rear axles. Specifically, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the rear axle pinion nut may lack a necessary adhesive patch, which could cause the nut to loosen. If this happens, the axle can lock up, which could cause all sorts of havoc on the road.
This is an expansion of the rear axle recall announced in October of last year, where 44,300 Ram 1500 and Dodge Dakota models were being called in. At that time, 12 accidents had been reported due to the faulty axle pinion nut.
Affected vehicles include Ram 1500 trucks from the 2009 to 2012 model years, Dodge Dakota models from the 2009 to 2011 model years, and both the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUV twins, both from the 2009 model year only.

2013 Dodge Dart gets all Moparized

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:31:00 EST

Last year, Chrysler announced it would be offering more than 150 Mopar parts and accessories on the 2013 Dodge Dart, and we got a look at some of these parts firsthand at the Chicago Auto Show. Showing off all the optional parts at once would surely create a gaudy monstrosity, so Chrysler chose to equip this particular Dart GT with just a handful of Mopar goodies, which still gave the car a nice and tasteful custom look that is available straight from the dealership (and with a full warranty, too).
Decked out in a factory color called Header Orange Clear Coat - also a very appropriate show car hue - this car added exterior styling parts such as the vented, carbon fiber hood, the bolt-on front chin spoiler and a matte black decklid spoiler. Looking inside the car, you'd think the red-accented interior is part of the Mopar parts bin, too, but this is actually what the standard Dart GT cabin will look like when it goes on sale.

Old vs. New: 2014 SRT Viper takes on upgraded 16-year-old Dodge Viper

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 16:58:00 EST

It's easy to play the "Would you rather have a New X or an Old Y with a bunch of upgrades?" game more often than we care to admit, but the crew at Car and Driver have taken bench racing to the next level with their latest video. In it, the magazine pits a brand-new 2014 SRT Viper against a highly modified 1997 Dodge Viper GTS. There are 16 years between the time this particular GTS rolled off the production line and when the new car bowed, but that doesn't mean the old snake's owners have been sitting on their hands.
Thanks to a spate of modifications, the GTS offers up a better power to weight ratio than the new machine, but is that enough to overcome the technological leap forward represented by the 2014 Viper? We won't spoil it for you. You'll just have to check out the full clip below for yourself.

Mopar '13 Dart is a bruiser of a compact

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 11:28:00 EST

For the fourth year in a row, Mopar is offering a limited-production car decked with a plenty of add-ons and a unique look. This year's black-and-blue car is the Mopar '13 Dart, which was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show with the now-signature paint scheme. Like previous Mopar models, only 500 of the '13 Darts will be built. Past models include the Mopar '10 Challenger, Mopar '11 Charger and the Mopar '12 300.
The all-black Dart gets a brightly contrasting, offset blue stripe running the full length of the car, and other styling mods like the aero-tuned body kit, gloss black grille, wheels and mirror caps. Curiously, Mopar chose to stick with the Dart's standard headlights rather than the darker, smoked lights. The interior gets a similar black-and-blue treatment, but this unique cabin features a blue leather driver's seat to go along with the black leather seating for the rest of the passengers.
More than just a styling package, the Mopar '13 Dart also gets some performance and handling goodies to complement the Dart's turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, such as upgraded brakes with slotted rotors, a lowered suspension, retuned electric power steering and a "sport-tuned" exhaust system.