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2013 Ram 1500 Driving New Jobs, Increased Production Capacity

Chrysler to Add 1,250 Workers, Invest $240 Million in Michigan Plants

METHUEN, Mass., November 28, 2012  -- A redesigned 2013 Ram 1500 went on sale last month amid high expectations, and the Chrysler Group is making preparations to support higher sales of the pickup truck. The automaker recently announced that it is adding 1,250 jobs and investing $240 million at its Detroit-area plants, with many of the changes serving to boost production capacity of the newest Ram 1500.

With the addition of a third shift to its Warren truck plant next March, Chrysler is hiring 1,000 new workers to build more units of the 2013 Ram 1500. Meanwhile, the company's Mack 1 engine plant in Detroit will receive $198 million and 250 new jobs by early 2014 to manufacture the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a newly available engine for Ram's pickup. Lastly, Chrysler will be investing $40 million into its Trenton North plant to open up a flexible line that will also produce the Pentastar powerplant, as well as the Tigershark inline-four engines for the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart.

"The new Ram 1500 is coming out at a time when its competitors are lacking any significant updates, so Chrysler is making plans for the truck to gain some serious sales momentum," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, a Methuen, Massachusetts Ram dealer. "That said, sales of the pickup were already impressive before the redesign, and all of Chrysler's brands are doing very well, so those things also factored into the new investments and jobs."

Through October, U.S. sales of Ram pickup trucks are up 20 percent this year compared to the same period in 2011, moving 238,815 units. Overall, the Chrysler Group has sold 23 percent more vehicles in 2012 year-over-year, with everything from the Chrysler 200 to the Dodge Avenger to the Jeep Patriot experiencing strong double-digit sales growth.

A big selling point for the 2013 Ram 1500 is its best-in-class fuel economy of 25 mpg on the highway, which is thanks to the aforementioned Pentastar V6 and other new features like a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, an auto stop-start system and the use of active aerodynamics. Even with that efficiency, the same engine pumps out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to offer a class-leading towing capacity of 6,500 pounds.

Advanced technology extends outside of the engine bay in the new Ram 1500 as well, including the next-generation Uconnect infotainment system. Controllable through an 8.4-inch touchscreen and voice commands, the available Uconnect Access gives drivers' hands-free operation of phone calls, navigation, texting and music, including the optional HD Radio and SiriusXM Radio. All passengers will also now benefit from the system's Wi-Fi hotspot capability, which allows them to connect their smartphones, tablets or laptops while on the go.

"The latest Ram 1500 leaves Ford and Chevy with a lot of catching up to do, whether you're talking about capability, fuel efficiency or technology," added Barenboim. "The truck has already started to close the sales gap in the past year, and we expect Ram to pick up an eye-opening amount of market share in the coming months."


Trio of Dodge Vehicles Set Sales Records

Avenger, Challenger and Journey Help Brand Achieve Best June Sales in Five Years 

METHUEN, Mass., July 30, 2012 - Dodge's sales are gaining momentum in 2012, with the Dodge Journey, Avenger and Challenger all breaking their June records last month. The popularity of the revamped models helped the auto brand post its best June sales in five years and its 13th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. Year-to-date, Dodge has moved 261,578 units in the United States, a 14-percent increase compared to the same period in 2011.

Dodge's Avenger, Challenger and Journey were each redesigned or refreshed for the 2011 model year, and hot sales of the 2012 models indicate that the changes were for the best. The Avenger sedan sold 9,404 units in June, a 68-percent jump compared to the same month last year, while the Dodge Journey SUV saw its sales rise 49 percent year-over-year last month, selling 6,896 units. The Dodge Challenger, the brand's retro-styled muscle car, moved 4,009 units for an 18-percent increase in June.

"Even though the Avenger, Challenger and Journey appeal to different kinds of buyers, Dodge's approach of adding finer materials and improving performance is paying off for each model in the showroom," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, a Massachusetts Dodge dealer. "We expect sales to continue to grow as more and more buyers discover how favorably Dodge vehicles hold up against their competitors."

Dodge has not only been refreshing its established favorites, but also introducing new models to the market. The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart, an aggressively styled compact car, started rolling out to dealer lots in late June. Already creating a lot of buzz in its competitive class, the Dart recently earned the top spot on the 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 list from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, which cited the car's surprisingly roomy interior and abundance of personalization possibilities.

All Dodge Dart trims except the upcoming performance-oriented Dart R/T come standard with a 2.0-liter 160-horsepower engine. An optional 1.4-liter turbocharged unit offers matching horsepower yet delivers more torque and improved fuel economy, returning up to 39 mpg on the highway. The Dart, which is the first Dodge vehicle to be built using Fiat architecture, features soft-touch surfaces, an available largest-in-segment touchscreen and optional Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, the car is highly customizable, with more than 150 Mopar parts and accessories available, including unique grilles, tailpipes and steering wheels. 

Expected to arrive at dealers later this year, the 2013 Dodge Dart R/T will pack in more power, generating 184 horsepower with its 2.4-liter engine. Dual tailpipes, a Hyper Black grille, 18-inch aluminum wheels and a sport-tuned suspension set the performance vehicle apart from other Dart trims. Meanwhile, Nappa-leather-trimmed seating and a Racetrack tail lamp with 152 LED lights round out the Dart R/T's appeal to driving enthusiasts.

"The Dodge Dart simultaneously brings sportiness, spaciousness and sophistication to the compact class," added Barenboim. "Not only is it supremely functional, it's also a lot of fun to drive. And, with all the customization options available, anybody looking for a compact car will be able to find a Dart that suits their personality."

About Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram:

For more than 60 years, Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram has helped car, truck and SUV buyers find the vehicles that satisfy their needs, along with financing and service to they deserve. Whether you're searching for hassle-free Jeep sales, Chrysler parts, Dodge service or the latest Ram trucks, their dealership works hard to exceed customer expectations. To view Clark's wide selection of new and used Jeep and Chrysler models, visit their showroom at 175 Pelham Street in Methuen, Massachusetts, or browse online at www.clarkchryslerjeep.com. They can be reached by phone at 888-875-3706, and you can find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ClarkJeep.


New Dodge Dart Shoots Off the Assembly Line

Production of Chrysler's Versatile Compact Car Begins in Illinois

 

METHUEN, Mass., May 31, 2012 - The first 2013 Dodge Dart, a sporty red Rallye trim with a black and red interior, finally rolled off the assembly line at Chrysler's Belvidere, Ill. plant earlier this month after eight months of prep work. Due to debut at Dodge dealerships in June, the athletically styled Dart is Dodge's first new compact car since 1995, when the Dodge Neon appeared on the scene.

Today's marketplace is very different than 17 years ago though, and the 2013 Dodge Dart will have to compete against the likes of the Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla. With that in mind, Dodge has given the Dart the tools it will need to be successful, including an aggressive exterior design available in 12 body colors, cutting-edge powertrains and interior amenities previously unseen in compact cars. 

"Dodge set its sights on the top of the compact class, and that's exactly where the new Dart will land," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, a Dodge dealer in Methuen, Mass. "No other compact car can offer drivers such a versatile mix of style, power, fuel efficiency and technology. There is room for every buyer to make the Dodge Dart their own."

The new Dodge Dart will be available with three engines, including a turbocharged 1.4-liter unit that produces 160 horsepower and is expected to return at least 41 mpg on the highway in the Dart Aero trim coming later this year. Inside, the Dart is available with the Uconnect Touch system, which uses a largest-in-class 8.4-inch touchscreen to control functions like music playback, weather reports and even hands-free phone calls. Instead of conventional gauges, the Dodge compact uses a full-color reconfigurable cluster screen that can display real-time information on performance, navigation and vehicle status.

If the Dart becomes as popular as other vehicles in Dodge's lineup this summer, the automaker will be very busy when it comes to production. High demand for vehicles like the Dodge Avenger and Charger has led to dwindling supply numbers. Automakers typically keep a 60-day supply of vehicles on hand, but supply of the Charger and Avenger recently dropped to 36 days and 17 days, respectively.

To combat low inventories, Dodge's parent company Chrysler is shortening or eliminating the summer breaks typically used to update machinery at its main assembly lines. Four of Chrysler's plants will work through the summer, while two others will take a one-week break rather than the traditional two-week stoppage in early July. The Dodge Dart's plant will be among those forgoing a break altogether, and it will also add a third shift in the third quarter that will create nearly 1,800 jobs.

"Chrysler is now reaping the rewards from years of hard work revamping its brands," Barenboim noted. "New vehicles like the Dodge Dart are only going to continue the upward sales trend we're seen at our dealership, as Massachusetts drivers realize they don't have to settle for a bland ride in a compact car." 



New Durango Offers Support to Police and Fire Departments


Customized Special Service Dodge SUV Designed to Serve Those Serving the Public

METHUEN, Mass., March 29, 2012 - The Dodge Durango SUV is answering a new call to action, joining the automaker's lineup of fleet vehicles geared towards law enforcement and emergency first-responders. Specially designed to help police and fire departments as well as government agencies, the Dodge Durango Special Service can now be ordered for delivery to Dodge Dealerships in the second quarter of 2012. The new version of Dodge's midsize SUV is expected to expand the functionality of the Durango badge, making it a valuable asset for vehicle fleets with critical responsibilities to the public.

Outfitted for maximum utility and durability, the Dodge Durango Special Service will feature heavy-duty brakes, a heavy-duty battery, a high-output alternator and heavy-duty water pump and cooling components. The cargo areas are also customizable, with additional storage in the under-floor and side compartments. To maximize space even further, the Durango's third row of seats has been removed, while a special service interior dome lamp and spot lamp wiring prep ensure high visibility both inside the vehicle and out.


"Like the Dodge Charger Pursuit and the Ram 1500 Special Service, the Durango will be a big asset to any police or fire department, or to any fleet in need of the capability a Dodge SUV offers," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Methuen, Massachusetts Dodge dealer Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "The Durango already offers great power and utility to consumers in its general production models, and now Dodge has created an even more versatile model of the SUV for the demanding fleet-vehicle market."


Adapting the Dodge Durango for government fleet use is a logical move, considering its existing class-leading stats. The 2012 Durango is available with a best-in-class 360 horsepower and 7,400 pounds of towing capacity compliments of its HEMI V8 engine, and delivers a segment-toping 550-mile range when paired with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. The 2012 Durango also boasts more than 45 safety and security features, which helped it earn an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick.


Cash-strapped government departments will also be able to take advantage of the Dodge Durango's value, which was recently recognized in Strategic Vision's 2011 Total Value Index. The vehicle-evaluation firm named the Durango a 2011 Total Value Award winner in the Mid-Size Traditional SUV category. Beating out competitors like the Ford Explorer and Kia Sorento, Dodge's SUV earned accolades for its cost-effectiveness and consumer-driven innovation.


Final calculations in the Total Value Index are based on owner statements regarding more than 442 vehicle attributes that focus on both immediate and long-term economic factors. Criteria for the honor include fuel economy, resale value, price and reliability, but Strategic Vision made special note of the Durango's reputation with consumers for innovation.


"We've seen the Durango offer a great value to a lot of customers at our dealership in a variety of different uses," added Barenboim. "The interior comfort, exterior toughness and all-around utility that you get with a Durango make it a great choice for any driver, and the Durango Special Service will now offer law-enforcement officials the very best of that capability."


Dodge Revives Its Discontinued Dart

Once-Popular Racer Will Return as Fuel-Efficient, Tech-Laden Compact


METHUEN, Mass., Dec. 28, 2011 - New vehicle models appear every year, but it is now becoming more common for them to arrive under the nameplate of a previously discontinued model. Set to join the likes of Chevy with its Camaro and Ford with its Fiesta, Dodge is reviving its compact Dart sedan and will be sending it to U.S. Dodge dealers for the 2013 model year. The start of production next year will mark the end of a three-and-a-half-decade hiatus that began when the Dart's initial 16-year run ended in 1976. 

Promotional photos hint that the new Dodge Dart will take its exterior styling cues less from the past and more from current models like the Dodge Avenger midsize sedan. However, the body of the Dart is also expected to be closely based on the popular Alfa Romeo Giulietta sold in Europe when it is fully revealed on January 9 at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Eventual Dart buyers will be able to choose from three transmissions and three four-cylinder engines, with the most fuel-efficient configurations expected to return up to 40 mpg.

"The real connection between the Dart of old and the Dart of the future is that they were both designed to appeal to a younger audience," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Methuen, Massachusetts Dodge dealer Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "Young people want different things today than they did in the 60s and 70s though. While the 2013 Dart will have performance elements that evoke its street-racer past, it's also going to have the high fuel efficiency and high-tech features that young buyers now demand."

As a clear indication that this will not be your father's Dart, Dodge will offer a seven-inch customizable digital gauge cluster and a UConnect Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia center as options in the 2013 Dart's class-exclusive floating island bezel. The center console will also feature auxiliary jacks for mp3 players, smartphones and other media devices, so owners won't ever feel disconnected while they drive.

Dodge's use of state-of-the-art technology extends to the new Dart's safety features, which will include available blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection warning systems to protect drivers and pedestrians alike. Ten air bags will also be standard, while 68 percent of the Dart's foundation will be comprised of high-strength steel to provide the vehicle with sturdy protection in the case of an accident.

As Dodge redevelops its Dart, the model that it will replace, the Dodge Caliber, prepares to end its run. As the automaker's only five-door hatchback, the compact Caliber is the smallest Dodge currently available to U.S. buyers. With the vehicle stopping production following the 2012 model year, buyers looking for a compact car with the capability of a crossover may want to consider the Caliber while they still can.

"The Caliber brings a lot to the table and we're sorry to see it go, but the early buzz around the Dart is really encouraging," added Barenboim. "The Dart promises to bring something fresh and innovative to the table, while at the same time drawing from its successful past. We're all excited to see it unveiled in January."  


Jeep Dealers Anticipate Automaker's Newest SUV

Forthcoming Replacement for the Jeep Liberty May Bring Back Cherokee Name


METHUEN, Mass., Dec. 1, 2011 - Fans of the Jeep Liberty may want to snatch one up from Jeep dealers while they still can, because the vehicle will be replaced in the near future by a next-generation SUV. At an event with Ohio government officials in Toledo last month, Jeep's parent company Chrysler announced a $1.7 billion investment to develop and produce the newest Jeep SUV, which the Detroit Free Press reports may return to the Cherokee moniker.

In preparation for the new SUV, Jeep will put $500 million of its total investment towards the Toledo Assembly Complex where the current Jeep Liberty is built. The money will be used to upgrade assembly areas, modernize and expand the body shop, and to add a second shift of workers. With facility improvements expected to start before the end of the year, the move is expected to create more than 1,100 plant jobs when the second shift starts in 2013.

"It's very exciting news to hear that we may once again see a Cherokee alongside the Grand Cherokee at our dealership," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Methuen, Massachusetts Jeep dealer Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "Jeep is investing so much into upgrading and expanding this plant that the new SUV is bound to bring a lot to the table, regardless of its final name."

In addition to more jobs and floor space, Jeep will be keeping a close eye on the details when it begins production of the new SUV in 2013. Part of the half-billion dollar investment will go towards giving the Toledo Assembly Complex a state-of-the-art 26,000-square-foot Metrology Center, where Jeep will verify key measurements before their vehicles leave the plant. In ensuring the accuracy of fit and finish measurements, Jeep expects vehicle quality to improve.

The Jeep Liberty replaced the Cherokee on production lines in 2001, and Chrysler will continue to produce the current-generation Liberty while the plant expands to prepare for its successor. If Jeep decides to return to the Cherokee name for the Liberty's replacement, as Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says may happen, the SUV name game will come full circle.

Those that want to take advantage of the Jeep Liberty while it's still being produced can opt for its available Sky Slider Roof for a widescreen view of the sky, while the folding rear seats and front passenger seat can open up as much as 62.4 cubic-feet of cargo area. Owners of the 2012 Liberty can also utilize a reversible rear cargo panel for either a flat, carpeted area or a waterproof tray to hold their cargo, making storage easy whether it is for groceries or muddy gear.

"Jeeps are designed to be rugged, tough and able to handle just about anything you can throw at them, and we expect the new SUV to be no exception," added Barenboim. "The Liberty is fantastic and it will be sad to see it go, but we can't wait to see what features the new SUV will bring to our customers."

During its November event in Ohio, Jeep also confirmed that production of the popular Jeep Wrangler will stay in the vehicle's hometown of Toledo. The Wrangler is currently manufactured in another Toledo plant separate from the Liberty's assembly complex.


Chrysler Brands Make Reliability Leap in Consumer Reports Survey

Jeep Is Most Reliable American Auto Brand; Chrysler Is Most Improved


METHUEN, Mass., Nov. 1, 2011 - While some American automakers took a tumble in Consumer Reports' recently released annual car reliability survey, the Chrysler Group's brands took a turn for the better. Jeep dealerships can now boast that they sell the most reliable American auto brand, while Chrysler isn't far behind after jumping up 12 spots, the most of any brand on the list.

The result of 1.3 million surveys of car owners or lessees, Consumer Reports' annual car survey has become a go-to guide for car buyers. Chrysler vaulted up the charts this year with the new Chrysler 200 luxury sedan as its most reliable model, while Jeep's seven-spot climb to the top of domestic brands was led by the Jeep Patriot compact SUV, the most affordable vehicle in the brand's lineup. Dodge, another Chrysler Group brand, moved up three spots in this year's reliability rankings.

"Chrysler's efforts to increase quality and reliability have really paid off," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Methuen, Massachusetts Chrysler dealer Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "While Ford's reliability rating dropped 10 spots and Chevy remained stagnant, Chrysler products made major moves up the list thanks to the automaker's dedication to constant improvement."

The Chrysler Group's confidence in the reliability of its vehicles comes through with the five-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty that comes standard on both the 2012 Chrysler 200 and 2011 Jeep Patriot. Available with two fuel-efficient engines, the Patriot combines capability and practicality with its more compact form. A 2.0-liter engine can return 29 mpg on the highway when equipped with two-wheel drive and a manual transmission, while a more powerful 2.4-liter unit can achieve 28 mpg on the highway, even with the four-wheel-drive setup.

As the replacement for the popular Sebring, the 2012 Chrysler 200 is also offered with two engines, including the all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which produces 280 horsepower while returning 29 mpg on the highway. Those looking for top fuel economy might opt for the standard 2.4-liter engine that returns 31 mpg on the highway. Both engines are available either on sedan models or the 200 Convertible.

While the 200 is the most affordable car in Chrysler's lineup, the interior amenities are anything but cut-rate quality. Buyers can choose from a variety of options, including heated leather-trimmed bucket seats with suede inserts and a premium audio system featuring six Boston Acoustics speakers.

All Chrysler 200 models come standard with all-speed traction control and electronic stability control, making the vehicle a steady ride on slick roads. Another important part of safe driving is ensuring that tires are properly inflated, and the 200's available premium tire pressure display shows the current pressure of each tire, rather than just displaying a warning light when a tire falls below its limit.

"The Chrysler 200 doesn't just provide luxury features that are affordable; it provides luxury features that are flexible," Barenboim noted. "The base model is already loaded with features, but the variety of available options gives car buyers a lot of additional choices. That means they can get exactly the car they want rather than just what was packaged together."



Dodge Fans Journey to Win Journeys

Automaker's Hide-And-Seek Contest Finishes as Final Dodge Journey Crossover Found


METHUEN, Mass., Sept. 29, 2011 - Finders keepers was the object of Dodge's hide-and-seek-style contest, which featured three 2012 Dodge Journey crossovers hidden across America. The contest ended Sunday, September 25 when the third Journey was discovered in a barn near Tenants Harbor, Maine. The other two Journeys were found further west, with one located near Lake Tahoe in California and the other close to Cheyenne, Oklahoma.

Dodge released hints about the crossovers' locations through television ads and its YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/Dodge, which featured a live feed of the Dodge Journey in question sitting placidly at its location, a clue in its own right for some hawk-eyed searchers. Each clue drew contestants closer to their goal: a brand-new bright red Journey crossover. While the chance to discover a free Journey has ended, those seeking the most affordable midsize crossover in America can still find it at Dodge dealerships.

"The Dodge Journey is a search engine for the real world, and Dodge's contest really had people scouring America," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Methuen, Massachusetts Dodge dealer Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "It's the perfect vehicle for families that like to get out there and see the country, and many families did just that while taking part in the contest. This was one instance though where the explorers were focusing both on the 'Journey' and the destination."

The final Dodge Journey was uncovered by a woman who drove north from Virginia as she followed clues that started in Albany, New York. Clues progressed north along Interstate 87 through Saratoga Springs, Lake George and Chestertown before sending her east to Maine in search of a barn on the coast, where she found the final Journey waiting. 

While the all vehicles have been found on foot, the winners are able save their strength by driving away in the Journey, which features Dodge's fuel-efficient Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine as an available option. The new powerplant produces 283 horsepower and comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission to return 25 mpg on the highway when equipped with front-wheel drive. There is also an available all-wheel-drive system that provides composure in even the slickest conditions, a boon to Massachusetts drivers ushering the front line of a pee-wee hockey team to their next game. 

"Dodge has given the Journey the right mix of capability and fuel efficiency for modern families on the move," Barenboim added. "It seats seven and can tow up to 2,500 pounds, yet still saves at the pump. That's a pretty impressive resume."

Those looking for a family vehicle with more horses under the hood could soon have their wishes answered with the Dodge Durango SRT8. Following the pattern of other fire-breathing SRT8 models, the Durango will feature a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with 470 horsepower and all-wheel drive, but has the added ability to seat seven.


Ram Dealers Bid a Fond Farewell to the Dakota Pickup

Improvements in Full-Size Ram Trucks Force Smaller Ram Dakota Out

 

METHUEN, Mass., Sept. 1, 2011 - After 25 years of service, the Ram Dakota mid-size pickup truck is being dropped from the Ram lineup - not because it isn't meeting expectations, but because the larger Ram 1500 is exceeding them by so much. Full-size Ram trucks continue to improve in both fuel economy and refinement, and while that is great news for consumers, it has led to light sales for smaller pickups.

On August 23, the last 2011 Ram Dakota rolled off the assembly line at the Warren Truck Plant in Warren, Michigan. The Dakota is just the first in a line of smaller American trucks ceasing production; the curtain will fall on the Ford Ranger this December, and the Chevrolet Colorado and its GM counterpart, the GMC Canyon, will go out of production next year. It is likely that the market will see new smaller trucks in the future though, as automakers incorporate the new fuel-efficient technology of their larger brethren. Chrysler is already talking about the possibility of a new small truck and GM claims that a next-generation Chevy Colorado is in the works.

"The fact of the matter is, the full-size Ram 1500 is much more fuel efficient than it used to be, so there really wasn't enough room in the lineup for the mid-size Dakota," said Tom Barenboim, owner of Methuen, Massachusetts Ram dealer Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "The Dakota served customers well for a quarter-century, providing versatile capability for a wide variety of drivers, so we'll definitely feel its absence."

Properly equipped, the Dakota can tow 7,200 pounds, and its 4.7-liter optional V8 produces the same horsepower and more torque than the full-size Chevrolet Silverado's standard V8. But while those seem like impressive numbers, they pale when compared with the Ram 1500, which offers an additional 450 pounds of towing with the same engine displacement, and up to 10,450 pounds total with its 5.7-liter HEMI V8.

Ram Dakota V8 drivers get 302 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque to play with, while Ram 1500 owners with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 receive 390 horsepower with an accompanying 407 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers speak volumes and truck buyers have responded. Ram's full-size truck lineup, led by the 1500, has eclipsed 132,000 units in sales in the first seven months of 2011, while Ram dealerships sold just 9,106 Dakotas through July. 

Of course, Dakota fans won't be left out in the cold, as the Ram 1500 is similarly priced and readily available at Ram dealerships. Sold with a V6 or one of two different V8 powerplants, the Ram 1500 offers customers a number of options to find their right mix of fuel efficiency and capability. In its push to introduce new truck buyers to the Ram 1500, the truck maker is holding a contest on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RamTrucks) called the Share the Glory Sweepstakes, which gives fans a chance to win a brand-new Ram 1500 Express with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. 

"It's a grab-it-while-you-can situation with the Ram Dakota right now for those that still want a smaller Ram truck, because what we have is the last of the bunch," Barenboim added. "Luckily, the Ram 1500 is both affordable and capable, the two traits that made the Dakota popular when it debuted back in 1986."


J.D. Power and Associates Study Highlights the Dodge Appeal

Durango, Charger and Challenger Take Home APEAL Awards

 METHUEN, Mass., Aug. 3, 2011 - There are a wide variety of factors that go into creating a vehicle that appeals to the masses, and Dodge seems to have the right mix according to a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates. The 2011 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study named the 2011 Dodge Durango, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger tops in their segments.

Customer gratification is the key to earning an APEAL award, which measures owner satisfaction during the first 90 days of ownership within 10 categories, including fuel economy, audio/entertainment/navigation, vehicle interior, seats, engine, HVAC, storage, visibility, driving experience and vehicle exterior. At the top of the Midsize Sporty Car category, the 2011 Dodge Challenger available at Dodge dealerships was one of just three vehicles to win both an APEAL award and a top spot in J.D. Power and Associates' recent 2011 Initial Quality Study.

"Dodge's new models have a winning combination of good looks, versatile designs and powerful engines, and as a result they've been drawing a lot of attention from both automotive critics and American drivers," said Al Knox, general manager of Massachusetts Dodge dealership Clark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. "The Challenger and Charger are modern American icons, and the Durango offers the space and payload capacity our customers expect when they're looking for an SUV."

In addition to leading the Large Car category, the Dodge Charger was also the most improved vehicle in the APEAL Study, jumping 73 points compared with last year's score. The Charger was completely refreshed for the 2011 model year, featuring a new interior and new exterior body panels, as well as a new standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine providing 292 horsepower and up to 27 mpg on the highway. Of course, the Dodge nameplate means the Charger also comes available with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that pumps out 370 horsepower.

The 2011 Dodge Durango has seen improvements of its own, taking this year's Midsize Crossover/SUV APEAL award by using unibody construction, rather than its former body-on-frame design, for better handling and a more comfortable ride. The Durango also benefits from the same high-performance engines currently available on the Charger.

While the power numbers in the 2011 Durango and Charger models are impressive, Dodge's real powerhouse models will come in the form of the 2012 Charger SRT8 and Challenger SRT8, both of which are due to arrive in showrooms before the end of the third quarter. The muscle cars will pack a massive 6.4-liter HEMI V8 under their hoods that'll make drivers want to hit the drag strip. As Dodge's most powerful HEMI yet, the SRT8 powerplant pumps out 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, much more than the engines in the Ford Mustang GT and Chevy Camaro SS. 

"When it comes to a battle of the muscle cars, Dodge is firmly in the lead," Knox added. "Anybody will be able to pick up a Challenger SRT8 or Charger SRT8 from our dealership and be equipped to clean up at New England Dragway, just like you could in the '60s and '70s."