Chrysler to show Jeep pickup and "FirePower" sports car concepts in Detroit

http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0411/17/B01-7604.htm
Chrysler shows off tough, flashy concepts
Jeep pickup truck and sports sedan at Detroit show may be a taste of
the future.
----------------- Picture of Jeep truck concept:
http://www.detnews.com/pix/2004/11/17/0biz/b017-Gladiator_frt-1104n.jpg
Picture of Chrysler "FirePower" sports car concept:
http://www.detnews.com/pix/2004/11/17/0biz/b017-Firepower-1104n-2.jpg
-----------------
By Brett Clanton / The Detroit News
Chrysler will unveil two new concept vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show in January -- a pickup truck for the Jeep brand and a sports car for the Chrysler brand -- which will give the world a taste of where the automaker could be heading in coming years. The Jeep Gladiator is a knobby-tired, mid-sized truck with a peel-back canvass roof and diesel engine (did anyone tell Chrysler that diesel costs more than gasoline nowadays?) that revives a name used on a 1960s-era Jeep pickup. The Chrysler Firepower is a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe with a (with a stupid-ass name) 425-horsepower engine that could be considered Chrysler's answer to the Corvette.
(you call spark-plugs "fire-power", not sports cars)
Chrysler design chief Trevor Creed said the two models were "purely concepts," and that the automaker had no plans to manufacture them.
But they give hints of possible design directions for the Auburn Hills unit of DaimlerChrysler AG, which is working to expand its three-model Jeep lineup and move the Chrysler brand up market.
Chrysler is expected to launch three new Jeeps by the end of 2006, but a pickup is not expected to be part of the plan.
The Jeep brand has not marketed a pickup since the early 1990s, when the Comanche mid-sized truck was phased out. The truck-like Jeep Scrambler died in 1985. The original Gladiator pickup was discontinued in 1969.
The Gladiator does not share underpinnings with any Jeep model. It has a 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine that generates 163 horsepower, and boasts 13.7 inches of ground clearance. An exterior-mounted spare tire and exposed door hinges add a rugged look. But it has one of the more modern gadgets to show up on a pickup: an expandable truck bed.
Chrysler has already placed the Gladiator in a category of its own -- calling it a "flexible utility truck."
The tentatively-named Chrysler Firepower is based on the Dodge Viper sports car, but will have a 6.1-liter V8 Hemi engine under the hood rather than Viper's fire-breathing V10. Its long, bullet-like design is highlighted by a glass roof and a low-slung cockpit. Its top speed is estimated at 185 miles per hour.
(great - another 2-seater concept that looks like an SLK. How about a RWD concept based on the old LH platform? Doh - they already tried that 4 years ago and swept it under the carpet)
It would be a step up from Chrysler's current Crossfire sports coupe, but more attainable than the ME Four-Twelve (what a rolling abortion that was), an 850-horsepower super car prototype shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January of this year.
"We think there's a great opportunity for something in between those two," Creed said. (this is the same guy that gave us the baby bentley aka 300C. This is about as absurd as saying we need something between a Mercedes S class and a Maybach)
The Firepower, which is expected to have a different name by the time of the Detroit Auto Show (ha! I told you it was a stupid name!), was designed in Auburn Hills by Brian Nielander, the lead designer of the ME Four-Twelve, so named for its mid-engine design, four turbo chargers and 12-valve power plant.
"There's definitely a family resemblance," Creed said.
Though the two concept vehicles will add some sizzle to Chrysler's display at the Detroit Auto Show this year, the automaker's most important product unveiling will be the 2006 Dodge Charger sedan, a four-door revival of the classic muscle car. The Charger is the only production-ready vehicle Chrysler is expected to reveal at the show.
This week, three of Chrysler's top executives -- Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, Chief Operating Officer Tom LaSorda (cars are a lot like baseball I guess) and marketing chief Joe Eberhardt -- are meeting with the company's 4,500 U.S. dealers in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas to show them the new Charger, as well as other new cars and trucks launching in 2005.
(What? "other" new cars and trucks? Launching in 2005? And you're NOT going to show them at the Detroit Auto Show? What's with that?)
Also expected from Chrysler next year will be a luxury SUV known as the Jeep Commander, a coupe version of the Dodge Viper, as well as high-performance variants of the Chrysler 300 Series sedan (with a periscope?), Dodge Magnum wagon and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The hope is that the new models will help Chrysler continue the sales momentum it achieved this year, despite a slowdown in new vehicle launches in 2005.
Through October, Chrysler's U.S. sales were up 3.1 percent, but the automaker also launched a record nine cars (nice how they count the 300 as 4 different cars) and trucks this year.
With only a few totally new vehicles out in 2005 and other carmakers coming on strong, Alan Helfman, vice president of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston, Texas, fears sales could slow in 2005. "I don't like going into a fight with one hand tied behind my back," he said.
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...........but you use a lot less of it than with a gas engine.

I suspect the "Fire-Power" name is intended to appeal to those of us old enough to remember that the old '51-'58 hemis were called Fire Power. They used that name to somehow connect the engines with airplane engines Chrysler made during WW II, or so I've heard.
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KokomoKid wrote:

I think it was just a common theme of the 50s. Rocket engines, flames. You had the Chevy "blue flame" six, the Olds "Rocket" v8, the DeSoto FireDome hemi, the Chrysler FirePower hemi, various uses of the term "Spitfire," etc. etc. etc.
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