In this case, change is good. Very, very good.
We found out a few months ago that among the many internal changes Stellantis was making at the automaker formerly known as FCA, the Street & Racing Technology division (SRT) would no longer be its own brand. Bear in mind it never produced its own separate models but rather modified existing ones, like the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Charger Hellcat, Ram 1500 TRX, and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392.
As we reported then, SRT was not completely shutting down but rather being reorganized. Still, some SRT death rumors persisted so Autoweek reached out to Dodge brand chief Tim Kuniskis to set the record straight once and for all.
"We took this core group of people that were sitting in one building where guys were working on TRX in one area, and Rubicon 392 in another area, and Chargers and Challengers in another area, and sent the TRX group to work with the Ram engineers, the Rubicon 392 group to work with the Wrangler engineers and so on," he explained. "People looked at that change and said 'SRT is being disbanded.' Absolutely not. It's the opposite."
Basically, SRT is now a sub-brand within Dodge and only the highest trims receive the SRT treatment. It's comparable to BMW M and Mercedes-AMG. With the onset of the electrification era, SRT is actually needed more than ever. In fact, Kuniskis is convinced electrification is a great thing for SRT. "It's going to enable more performance than we've ever seen before. Ever."
This will apply towards both battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids. However, modifying a base model into something far more powerful won't work because "the electrification would be very, very difficult to do…after the fact because of constrains with things like a fixed battery pack size and shape, kilowatts per hour, the battery chemistry, and center of gravity." What'll have to happen instead is to have the SRT team working with the base vehicle engineers starting from Day 1. Even though the SRT team is now smaller, those engineers are now even more crucial as the future of performance is changing rapidly and SRT must stay ahead of the game.