Enthusiasts whose veins popped in their necks over reports that Stellantis is nixing the SRT performance division can breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, technically the Street and Racing Technology division no longer exists as a small dedicated engineering team, but the engineers have all been retained and folded into the Stellantis global engineering division, which will continue to make SRT and performance-branded cars in the future. They are still doing the same work, it is an organizational restructuring only.
“These products have delighted enthusiasts for nearly two decades, and Stellantis will continue to sell and develop the next generation of Dodge/SRT-branded vehicles, as well as Jeep and Ram vehicles that [utilize] high-performance SRT technology,” Stellantis said in a statement. Sources also confirm to MotorTrend that SRT is not going anywhere and the badge still represents the pinnacle of performance.
SRT has been a prominent in-house skunkworks of sorts since 1989, existing under a number of different names since a group of engineers brought the original Dodge Viper to life. Over the years, the specialty team was responsible for developing such vehicles as the Plymouth Prowler, the Dodge Neon SRT-4, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX—MotorTrend‘s 2021 Truck of the Year.
The group started under Chrysler and survived through multiple corporate ownerships. SRT was elevated to brand status in 2011, run by design chief Ralph Gilles. It was discontinued as a brand in 2014, though, and went back to being a development team.
The Future of SRT
Now the work of the disbanded SRT team will be distributed across many of the 14 brands under Stellantis as engineers are absorbed into the global product development organization, which also taps expertise from motorsports. Performance and motorsports have a champion in Stellantis chief executive officer Carlos Tavares who is an avid racer himself.
Tavares, who visited Detroit last week, told reporters he supports performance vehicles, including the Dodge brand, but he expects electric motors and batteries to provide the torque and exhilaration of future models. The CEO has a team working on plans to grow Dodge as a performance vehicle brand—just don’t expect it to be a repeat of the combustion-fueled power that was its hallmark in the past.
But we all know the Hellcat V-8 engine’s days are numbered with ever-stringent emissions regulations. Electrification appears to be the way forward for the company’s performance vehicles, some of which are due to wear the “SRT” badge.
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