It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for another round of my Five For Friday: Five Thoughts about the Auto Industry for May 10, 2013. The Chrysler Hemi Hellcat, 2014 Toyota Corolla details leaked, Chevrolet's BRZ-fighter, Ferrari's exclusivity crisis, and a luxury Silverado - let’s look at my take on the most noteworthy and interesting automotive stories from the past week.
01. Chrysler 'Hellcat' Hemi On Its Way
AllPar has published an article detailing plans to introduce a new, supercharged Hemi V-8 engine under the hood of what will be a redesigned Dodge Challenger for 2014. The 6.2-liter 'Hellcat' motor will produce an eyebrow-raising 640 horsepower in top spec, which would challenge vehicles like Chrysler's own SRT Viper in terms of total output. The 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter Hemi engines aren't going away, which gives the Pentastar three extremely potent power plants to play with when assembling their next fleet of overly-muscled sedans and coupes. An eight-speed automatic transmission will also debut in the 2014 Dodge Challenger, throwing off the yoke of the dated five-speed autobox that has been de rigueur for the retro-themed muscle car for far too long.
02. 2014 Toyota Corolla Order Guide Leaks Early Details
The Olathe Toyota Parts Center Blog published, and then retracted, details about the redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla this week - but not before a number of other outlets picked up the information and spread it around the web. Some of the highlights to the update of the ancient Corolla include a Valvetronic version of the car's 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and an available continuously-variable automatic. A new Eco trim level, which will most likely incorporate the CVT, will provide improved fuel mileage over the very average numbers posted by the current edition of the sedan. Oh, and that four-speed auto that has been lingering on the Corolla's options sheet for close to a decade? It's sticking around on base models.
03. Will We Get A Chevy-Badged Subaru BRZ-fighter?
The 2013 Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S have been healthy sales successes for their respective brands, so it's no surprise that Chevrolet is interested in expanding the rear-wheel drive coupe niche with an affordable option of its own. According to the Automotive News, Chevrolet is strongly considering building a car to go head-to-head with the BRZ/FR-S twins, as well as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The car would move away from the styling cues seen on the Code 130R at the 2012 Detroit International Auto Show, and in fact it wouldn't even ride on the Alpha platform that was intended for that particular concept. Instead, Chevrolet would put together a new platform that would be able to support not just a coupe but also other small vehicles envisioned by the brand.
04. Ferrari Feels The Pinch Of Commonality
Have you ever thought to yourself, 'there are just too many Ferraris clogging roads?' Neither have I, but this notion has apparently occupied the minds of product planners in Maranello who fear that the Ferrari brand is being diluted by a glut of supercars. The terror of Ferrari becoming yet another common marque like Mercedes-Benz or BMW has resulted in a new policy at the company that will restrict vehicle production to less than 7,000 models for 2013 - just slightly fewer than left the line the year before. Bloomberg is reporting that Ferrari will hire new workers to help out with Maserati models, but that a slowdown in the ultra high performance luxury market is expected to occur within the next twelve months.
05. Do We Really Need A Luxury Silverado?
The Chevrolet Silverado High Country has been announced as the upscale version of the brand's redesigned 2014 full-size pickup. Where, exactly, does a fancy Silverado fit in a world where corporate sibling GMC is already hawking Denali edition Sierras? Chevy will keep the price of the High Country below that of the Denali, and it won't feature the same level of equipment or distinctive trim pieces. It does offer a chrome grille, body-color bumpers, special leather and heated and cooled seats. The High Country will cost more than an LTZ, and it remains to be seen whether the truck will find a market, or whether it will simply cannibalize sales from the already-established Sierra Denali. Main rival Ford, which has no luxury pickup twin to protect, does a brisk business moving a surprising range of expensive F-150 models, with five premium trim levels now on offer by the Blue Oval.
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