Is The Death Of The SRT Just A Rumor Or Is It Actually Being Shelved?

Is The Death Of The SRT Just A Rumor Or Is It Actually Being Shelved?

Over the last few months there have been several headlines online speaking to SRT’s imminent demise.

Dodge Hellcat SRT

If it seems like you haven’t heard much from Stellantis’ SRT brand, it’s because you haven’t, and neither have we. In fact, what we have heard are lots of rumors, including that SRT is dead or at least it’s being de-emphasized, and that SRT engineers are being re-assigned to other projects. The internet is loaded with headlines such as, “Is Chrysler Really Killing SRT?” and “SRT is Dead.” Tim Kunikis, Boss At Dodge Cleared up a few things.

2021 ram 1500 trx
The TRX is a great example of performance being alive and well at Dodge.

“It’s like watching the news, and depending what channel you put on you get a different story,” Kuniskis said “It’s kind of the same story with SRT. There’s a lot of rumors, then it quiets down, then they start to come back. One of the early comments from journalists is, ‘We’re not hearing a lot from SRT.’ Frankly, you should never hear anything from SRT. SRT is a very important core engineering group within our company, but it’s not a communications channel.”

Tim Kunikis, Dodge

Kuniskis went on to say that while it’s true that SRT engineers might no longer be sitting in the same office together, it’s not because Stellantis is killing SRT. Quite the opposite, he said.

“We took this core group of people that were sitting in one building where guys were working on TRX in one area, and Rubicon 392 in another area, and Chargers and Challengers in another area, and sent the TRX group to work with the Ram engineers, the Rubicon 392 group to work with the Wrangler engineers and so on.

“People looked at that change and said ‘SRT is being disbanded.’ Absolutely not. It’s the opposite. It’s the right thing to do for performance because SRT today is a sub-brand within Dodge. The highest trims are SRTs. It goes from base and rises to SRT. The highest performance of any of our lineups are SRTs,” he told us, comparing SRT to BMW M or Mercedes-Benz and AMG.

“None of those cars can exist without the base car team,” he said, “because you don’t have the economies of scale of the base car. There would never be a Hellcat without a V6-powered Challenger and Charger. It would be impossible because you could never pay for the platform or the engineering. You have to the base engineering paid for with the volume cars and then you can have the performance sub-brand that takes that car and modifies it.”

He said, moving forward SRT will become even more important.

SRT grew out of the original Viper team from way back in 1989.

“Today we sell internal combustion engines, fairly traditional layouts, eight-speed transmissions, front-engine, and rear-drive—there are huge synergies with the base car. Now, look at the future. I can’t give you a date but I can tell you the future is coming faster than we could have guessed 24 months ago and the shift to electrification is coming like a tidal wave.”

Kunikis, Dodge

Kuniskis mentioned that he looks at electrification as a great thing for SRT. “It’s going to enable more performance than we’ve ever seen before. Ever. We’ll be able to take the technologies that we know today and bolster them with electrification and in some cases full battery power.”

He also shared that the future of performance is bright with electrification “whether it’s PHEV, full BEV, or whatever.”

He went on to say that living in an all-EV world, today’s business model of modifying a base car won’t work. “With the electrification, it would be very, very difficult to do make an SRT version after the fact because of constraints with things like a fixed battery pack size and shape, kilowatts per hour, the battery chemistry, and center of gravity. The inherent challenges will have to be addressed from Day 1. So integrating the SRT guys in with the base vehicle engineers was a necessity.”

Tim Kunikis , Dodge

He emphasized that the SRT team has not been made smaller, if anything they’re more important than ever.

To the people who say “it won’t work, the SRT team has lost its independence and won’t do crazy things anymore,” Kuniskis says “without the interconnection to the base car teams of what will unquestionably be the future of performance, there would be no SRT. We looked at the future of performance and said, ‘We need to get ahead of it.’”

So to conclude, according to Tim Kunikis of Dodge, the SRT being dead, or the team being made smaller or less creative are just ‘tales’. He made sure to stress the fact that they are actually in the works and on the cusp of introducing their electric models in keeping with today’s ever-changing automotive industry.


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