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Challenger muscle car arrives just in time

From Automotive News:

Challenger muscle car arrives just in time
Richard Truett

Automotive News
February 6, 2008 - 3:36 pm ET


CHICAGO -- Chrysler LLC's Bob Nardelli thinks the new Challenger muscle car has the potential to draw buyers into Dodge showrooms and boost sales of the automaker's other vehicles.

" It couldn't come at a better time in our business cycle," the Chrysler CEO said at a press conference today at the Chicago Auto Show, unveiling the production version.

Chrysler sold 137,392 vehicles in January, a 12.0 percent drop from a year earlier. In 2007 company U.S. sales slipped 3.1 percent from the previous year to 2,076,650 vehicles.

In April, Chrysler will begin selling the 1970s-style, 425-hp coupe -- equipped with a Hemi V-8 engine. Nardelli said he thinks buyers who haven't been in a Dodge showroom in years will come and look at the car -- and take a new look at Dodge vehicles. " It says a lot about Dodge, and it will help attract new customers and old ones, too," he said.

While much has leaked out about the highly anticipated muscle car, Jim Press, Chrysler's vice chairman and co-president, made some numbers official. Challenger will bolt from 0-60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, giving better performance than a Porsche 911 Carrera, he said.

It has a top speed of 170 mph. And its giant Brembo disc brakes will haul the car to a stop from 60 mph in just 110 feet.

Frank Klegon, Chrysler's product development boss, said production will be kept under 100,000. He said Chrysler's Mopar parts division will have plenty of performance parts available for the car at launch.

Chrysler plans to build a six-cylinder base model, Klegon said, but he wouldn't say when it will arrive.
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