Los Angeles — Dodge could be injecting more muscle into its Durango full-size SUV in the coming years.
The brand, which Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is transitioning to mainstream muscle cars, is looking at the feasibility of producing the Dodge Durango Shaker concept that debuted earlier this month at SEMA Show, according to Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis.
The “shaker” hood on the concept SUV — a throwback to 1970s Dodge muscle cars — was borrowed from the current Dodge Challenger. A large engine-mounted air-intake scoop protrudes through a hole in hood when the hood is closed; it gets its name because it “shakes” with the engine’s vibrations.
“Because of the reaction, we have decided that we should look at it,” he told The Detroit News earlier this month on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show. “When we took it to SEMA it was never a consideration.”
The functional concept was equipped with a shaker hood and 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine borrowed from the Dodge Challenger. The B5 Blue three-row SUV also featured large performance brakes and rotors, concept satin-black 22-inch wheels, and has been lowered 3 inches. The cross-hair grille was replaced with a SRT-inspired open grille for better air flow.
Kuniskis, also head of passenger cars brands for Fiat Chrysler-North America, said the automaker “could do it.” However, the attention the vehicle received at the aftermarket and specialty show may not translate into actual sales.
“I worry about demand because SEMA attracts attention of a totally different buyer,” he said. “So something that gets great attention at SEMA doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a success in the general marketplace.”
Pietro Gorlier, Fiat Chrysler’s global head of parts and service (Mopar), recently told The News during a different interview that the vehicle was “the closest thing” outside of a customized minivan that the automaker could do of its six vehicles for the show.
Kuniskis compared the Durango Shaker to the automaker’s Dodge Challenger GT AWD concept that was created for last year’s SEMA show — calling both “technically possible.”
“The technology exists to do that,” he said on the all-wheel-drive Challenger. “Is there a customer for that car though? Could we do it? The technologies there. We have it on the Charger.”
The Challenger concept vehicle was equipped with an enhanced 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, eight-speed transmission and a custom all-wheel drive system for improved performance and stability during inclement weather — a feature performance enthusiasts have been asking for since the vehicle was resurrected in 2007.
Kuniskis declined to directly address reports that the automaker was expected to release an all-wheel-drive Challenger.
“There’s a consumer for it with Charger, but we also know Charger and Challenger is a very different buyer,” he said, adding there are 19 states where the company sells more all-wheel-drive Chargers than rear-wheel-drive models.