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Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 delayed

Brutal beast: The 6.4-litre Hemi V8-powered Grand Cherokee SRT8 will dash to 100km/h in around 5.0 seconds.

August arrival now likely for Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 sledgehammer

3 May 2012

CHRYSLER Australia management will be the only ones driving the hotly anticipated new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 for now, with a stock shortage from the US pushing the arrival date back until August.

Originally set to launch Down Under this month, the company will now have to make do with the handful of evaluation vehicles that are currently doing the rounds on Australian roads ahead of its wider release – 18 months after the new-generation Grand Cherokee was launched here.

The delay also means the hottest Grand Cherokee will now arrive one month after the SRT8 version of the all-new Chrysler 300C, which remains on track to launch in July alongside the rest of the 300C sedan range.

Chrysler Group Australia director of corporate affairs Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto that the company would still receive the production allocation it had requested, despite the slight delay.

“There is a little bit of a delay, which is a little disappointing,” she said.

“Nonetheless we’re very excited to be getting it. The silver lining is that it points to the demand there is for it around the world.” Jeep Australia said it will receive 25 per cent of global SRT8 allocation, equating to around 1000 per year, and has already taken more than 250 orders.

The sporty SUV is powered by a ferocious 6.4-litre Hemi V8 petrol with 351kW of power and 630Nm of torque, enough to accelerate the 2350kg wagon from zero to 97km/h (60mph) in just 4.8 seconds – a time more akin to high-end sportscars than big American SUVs.

Jeep expects it will bolster the already strong growth Jeep has experienced in Australia this year.

9 center imageFrom top: The 2012 Chrysler 300C, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and the SRT8's 6.4-litre Hemi V8.

VFACTS figures released today show that Jeep sales are up 154.9 per cent in the first four months to 5391 units, with the Grand Cherokee range accounting for 2176, up some 378.2 per cent.

Despite the brief delay for the launch, the SRT8 will still beat the related 300kW/600Nm Mercedes-Benz ML500 to market by several months.

Set for August production, the latest ML500 will arrive Down Under about six months after the rest of the all-new M-class range, which will be launched here this week.

The third-generation M-class shares chassis components with the new Grand Cherokee because development began before Daimler’s split from Chrysler.

The brutal SRT8 is expected to substantially undercut the less powerful Benz, which will retail from $119,900.

Jeep Australia has not revealed pricing, but expect the SRT8 to be slightly cheaper than the $85,990 for the previous model, which was discontinued with the previous model in January 2011.

Jeep is the only member of the Chrysler Group to experience positive growth in Australia this year, with Chrysler itself selling just 22 cars YTD, a drop of 93.7 per cent, as it awaits the arrival of the new 300C range.

Its Dodge brand has sold 642 units this year, a drop of 9.1 per cent. As we reported two weeks ago, the Dodge name is almost certain to be axed from the Australian market as part of a wider global strategy.

While the Caliber small car and Nitro SUV will be discontinued, the popular Journey MPV is likely to soldier on wearing Fiat Freemont badges.

Chrysler officially commenced its new role as distributor for Fiat and Alfa Romeo in Australia on Monday and will look to expand the presence of both brands via new models and a bigger network of dealers.

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