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Jeep to woo SRT owners

Grand SUV: Jeep's first local SRT8 boasts a 313kW 6.1-litre V8.

Jeep launches Grand Cherokee SRT8, plans more SRT action and readies customer events

Jeep logo25 Aug 2006

By MARTON PETTENDY and NEIL MCDONALD

CHRYSLER Group Australia this week released its fire-breathing 313kW/569Nm 6.1-litre Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 - and says it's planning to get all warm and fuzzy with its performance SRT owners in the very near future.

With demand for the Chrysler 300C SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 outstripping supply, and other performance variants in the wings, CGA is aiming to build some special relationships with its performance customers in a similar vein to what Mercedes-Benz and BMW do for their premium AMG and M customers, as well as the local performance offerings by Holden's HSV and Ford's FPV.

Chrysler Group Australia general manager, sales, Brad Fitzsimmons, said the SRT nameplate had started to build enough momentum to warrant adding some personalised services for their high-end customers.

"We are just about to start doing that," he said. "We've just appointed someone whose specific role is to look at the corporate business for SRT8.

"We're working out what to call the SRT experience days. We want to not only bring in new prospects into the fold but also customers with SRT8 products and show them what their cars can do and have a relationship with them." The man charged with energising the SRT image is Paul Coulton, who will be Chrysler's new corporate sales, national fleet manager.

Until now Chrysler has relied on exposure of the SRT8 models at major car racing events.

CGA will continue its relationship with the V8 Supercars race series, where 300C SRT8s are used as safety cars, but Mr Fitzsimmons also says the company wants to take prospective owners and existing owners to race events and "send them for laps around the track".

"We're going to upgrade those two cars, which are European left-hand drive cars, to right-hand drive," he said.

Chrysler will continue its V8 Supercar relationship with the Avesco group.

Mr Fitzsimmons said CGA was aiming to gain feedback from SRT owners to gauge what they wanted from their ownership experience, considered vital in positioning the SRT image.

The 300C SRT8 has led the SRT push with an order bank now stretching out to between 150 and 200 cars and a four to five-month waiting list.

However, CGA has managed to increase availability this year to 350 vehicles.

"Given it was a car we didn't expect to do a lot of production of it's quite substantial," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"We expected it to be in short supply." Mr Fitzsimmons said the company had lost a small number of SRT8 orders because of the long waiting list but "we're also getting more customers who are prepared to wait".

"Even this week we had a customer who was on the waiting list for an SRT8 300C who decided to take a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

"So we on-sold his car and had two happy customers." Just 60 Grand Cherokee SRT8s will be allocated to Australia this year and like the 300C SRT8, Chrysler expects strong demand.

Late this year Chrysler will launch the 6.1-litre V8-powered 300C Touring SRT8, which will be above the SRT8 sedan's $71,990 price-point when it arrives in November.

Mr Fitzsimmons said many SRT8 buyers were predominantly being lured away from HSVs.

"Many of the trades are HSV cars," he said.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 in detail:

Engine: 6.063-litre 32-valve HEMI V8
Compression ratio: 10.3:1
Bore x stroke: 103.0 x 90.9mm
Power: 313kW @ 6000rpm (up 30 per cent on 5.7 HEMI V8)
Torque: 569Nm @ 4800rpm
Fuel type 98 RON PULP
Transmission: Five-speed auto only
Front suspension: SRT-tuned short/long-arm independent
Rear suspension: SRT-tuned five-link live axle
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Steering turns lock-to-lock: 2.85
Turning circle: 11.3 metres
Four-wheel drive system: MD146 SRT single-speed electronic on-demand
Ground clearance: 178mm
Approach angle: 15.8 degrees
Departure angle: 19.7 degrees
Breakover angle: 9.7 degrees
Wading depth: 508mm @ 8km/h
Brakes: SRT four-wheel discs (ventilated at front) with ABS/EBD/ESP
Wheels: 20 x 8.0-inch
Tyres: 245/45 R20
Height: 1710mm
Length: 4785mm
Width: 1870mm
Wheelbase: 2780mm
Kerb weight: 2270kg
Payload: 480kg
Towing capacity: 1587kg braked 750kg unbraked
Fuel capacity: 77.7 litres
Luggage capacity: 978 litres with seats up 1909 with seats down
Top speed: 245km/h
0-100km/h acceleration: "Low five-second range"
Average ADR 81/01 fuel consumption: 16.4L/100km
CO2 emissions: 388g/kg (Euro IV-compliant)
Price: $85,990 plus ORCs

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