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Revived 'Hemi' engine helps Chrysler boost sales
By SHOLNN FREEMAN
The Associated Press
4/30/04 8:58 AM
The Wall Street Journal

DETROIT -- Dodge has transformed the word "Hemi" from an artifact of automotive history into a brand within a brand. Now the Chrysler Group, which owns Dodge, is hoping the powerful, V-8 Hemi engine will boost sales of its Chrysler and Jeep models as well.

The ad slogan "That thing got a Hemi?" is becoming a modern catch phrase in car-lover circles. Sales of Hemi-powered Dodges -- which carry a premium price over regular Dodge models -- are running well ahead of the company's projections.

Dieter Zetsche, the former Mercedes-Benz executive who is Chrysler's president and chief executive, describes the Hemi models as the "jewels of the product side" at the No. 3 U.S. auto maker. "It's very, very valuable and important," he says.

Thursday, Chrysler Group said its operating profit in the first quarter nearly doubled to 298 million euros ($352.7 million), thanks in large part to stronger-than-expected sales of vehicles equipped with Hemi engines, which boost profitability. A spokesman says about half of all Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicles are sold with Hemis, "well above what we expected."

Some Chrysler rivals are looking to give their big engines a higher profile, too. Ford Motor Co. has a project in the works that could bring back its "Big Block" engine moniker from the 1960s. General Motors Corp., which in the early 1990s created the "Northstar" brand for V-8 engines used in front-wheel-drive Cadillacs, this year rolled out a rear-drive version of the engine and transmission for Cadillac's XLR sports car and SRX sport-utility vehicle. For the first time, a brand other than Cadillac got the engine, too, with the introduction of Pontiac's 2004 Bonneville.

Meanwhile, Chrysler is carefully trying to spread the Hemi's glow. The Chrysler brand gets a 345-horsepower Hemi engine for top-of-the-line versions of its 300 C sedan, which it began selling last month. The new Dodge Magnum "muscle wagon" also will have a Hemi in it. And the revamped Jeep Grand Cherokee, set to arrive in showrooms later this year, will be the first Jeep with a Hemi.

Mr. Zetsche says Chrysler Group isn't going to become the all-Hemi company. Only V-8 engines will get the Hemi name, he says. "We want to make sure we don't go through an inflation, putting the logo on toilet paper," Mr. Zetsche says. Using the Hemi name on smaller engines "would be the worst thing to do. It has to be top of the line."

Today's high gasoline prices, of course, could be a concern for the Hemi. To address that Chrysler is introducing a new fuel-saving technology that shuts down four of the engine's eight cylinders at cruising speeds.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a 300 C with the technology gets 17 miles per gallon under city driving conditions and 25 on the highway. But Chrysler engineers think the EPA didn't fairly take into account the fuel savings from the cylinder cut-off system. They believe the system is 10 percent to 20 percent more efficient than a comparable V-8 without the technology.

Last year, Chrysler sold 449,000 Ram pickups; half rolled off dealer lots with a 5.7 liter, 345-horsepower Hemi, the company says.

Full Article Here

 

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I'm no big Chrysler fan but those 300's look very nice. I have seen a few on the roads already and I drool watching them go by.

I wish the Impala had a better look to it.
 

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Originally posted by dindak@May 1 2004, 06:55 PM
I'm no big Chrysler fan but those 300's look very nice. I have seen a few on the roads already and I drool watching them go by.

I wish the Impala had a better look to it.
Nice, I never thought of that....300C is what the Impala should be: a big family sedan with major power.
 

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I like the HEMI and DCX's new products, so no complaints from me. As long as "THAT THING GOTTA HEMI" I'm fine. LOL
 

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"On both the Ram and the Dodge Durango SUV, adding a Hemi costs customers $895." I didn’t know the Hemi option was so cheap; no wonder so many of these are coming off the lot with a Hemi. I’m a big fan so far as long as there are no long term durability or engineering problems with the Hemi. With so many on the road, this engine should be proven in no time. I can’t wait for a sporty 2 door Hemi racer to start terrorizing the strip. A retro Challenger would rock!


P.S. Maybe the DC debacle was not so bad after all.
 

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Eh, the 300 is a nice looking brick, but a brick nonetheless.
 

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I'm having a hard time finding an attractive line on the 300. From what angle does the car look good (OK, with the hood up, but besides that)? High beltline, tiny side windows, it just loooks stubby. BTW, how's Dodge gonna get by w/o a full size car (i.e. not a station wagon)? Will they call it a Charger? Personally, I'd vote for a TWO door Charger!
 

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Originally posted by kje@May 1 2004, 11:41 PM
I'm having a hard time finding an attractive line on the 300.
Have you seen one in person or on the road? It really makes a difference BTW.
 

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It's not a real Hemi. That term can only be reserved for the original 426 pavement-crusher. Everything else is just marketing hype. By their definition, my Intrigue is a Hemi also. Hell, so did my brother's old K-car. That doesn't mean it's THE Hemi.
 

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It's not a real Hemi.
Yea thats true, ive never seen a hemi coverd in plastic. And unfortunatly its not like the original 426 *drool*. But the 300c does look cool tho. And how 50 cent owns one? beats the hell outta me....... ;)
 

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That motor as impressive as the numbers are is not a real HEMI and I am disgusted they let their marketing guys disgrace such a fine racing motor. In fact my northstar has heads that are closer to a true HEMI than that motor. Also the Hemi was a big block not a small block and it put out power that in reality was way above the competition. Heck Nisssan's V-8 has no historic name and their trucks are faster than the Dodge truck with the HEMI! I guess I am more biased now because I had a guy in his Hemi Ram try some cutting off moves on me and I showed him my tail lights so he got cute and tried to swerve at me and then tried to catch me. I of course shoved him so far in the rearview he had no choice but to back off. I don't know why people think ther 5500 lb trucks are race cars! :mf_boff:
 

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I think Chrysler needs to calm down on the HEMI.. They are putting a HEMI in EVERYTHING anymore, it is suppose to be a "halo" engine, not just another V8. ;)

With gas prices as high as they are right now, they better find a way to get a better fuel economy if they want to keep putting a HEMI in everything.
 

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Originally posted by nsap@May 2 2004, 10:54 AM
I think Chrysler needs to calm down on the HEMI.. They are putting a HEMI in EVERYTHING anymore, it is suppose to be a "halo" engine, not just another V8. ;)
Couldn't one argue that the "Small Block" is Chevy's signature engine? And isnt it found in tons of other GM products as well?

I've driven a Ram with a Hemi and it is a smooth and powerful engine. The Ram with any other engine just doesn't feel the same. While, the combustion chambers aren't as hemispherical as the old 426, and the 331, 354, and 392 before it, its still technically a Hemi. The 426 was a spectacular engine that people have great memories of still rever today. Why not cash in on some of that heritage? It has proved to be a marketing coup and the new Hemi should prove to be as legendary as the old one, especially when the 6.1L version comes out.
 

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IMO, Chrysler needs two performance V8s; a lower-powered, mass produced engine (maybe call it "Magnum"?) and the Hemi, which should be the equivalent to GMs LS2. Turn the Hemi into the uber-engine for Chrysler, and let the "Hemi, Jr." be the major V8.
 

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Originally posted by nightwave@May 2 2004, 02:28 PM
IMO, Chrysler needs two performance V8s; a lower-powered, mass produced engine (maybe call it "Magnum"?)
I thought DCX already has a Magnum engine, even if it isn't a HEMI. I'd like two HEMIs too you know. Maybe a HEMI Magnum (below 5.0L) and a HEMI Cuda (high performance over 5.0L). That would be awesome!
 

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According to this article, its the customers that are demanding Hemi beyond the expectations of DC. Why have a baby Hemi? For those more concerned with fuel cost?
 

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The current 345-hp 5.7 HEMI is the first engine.
There is a 6.1 HEMI with more power on the way.
(And rumors of a real powerful Viper HEMI V10.)
 
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