Las Vegas, Oct 29, 2007 - Chrysler will debut eight ultra-customized Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show, the annual showcase of technology, trends and products representing the $36.7 billion automotive parts and accessories industry. The SEMA show will be held Oct. 30 - Nov. 2, 2007 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Chrysler's 'tricked, tuned and customized' Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles were conceived and designed for SEMA by the Mopar Underground design team, a group of in-house automotive enthusiasts who donate their time to the SEMA project vehicles.
'Designed for Customization' Philosophy Drives the Mopar Underground Design TeamA contemporary perspective on the design principle, 'form follows function,' might state that the 'form must also be flexible to allow for adaptation.' For the auto industry, that means producing vehicles for consumers that not only allow for customization but strongly encourage it.
Case in point, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler was named one of the most accessory-friendly vehicles by SEMA members. According to a Foresight Research report conducted last year [commissioned by SEMA's Research and Information Center], more than 1,700 full-size truck owners revealed that 50 percent had spent or planned to spend $500 or more on accessories - with a high of 63 percent for Dodge Ram owners (most likely to accessorize). And 20 percent of that group said they bought their trucks at a particular dealership because of the availability of accessories.
Overseen by Ralph Gilles, Vice President of Jeep/Truck & CFM Design, Chrysler LLC, the Mopar Underground design team has been putting that contemporary perspective on the design principle to action by customizing production vehicles. Since its creation in 2002, the Mopar Underground design team has created vehicle concepts meant to develop performance parts, accessories and customization as well as new vehicle concepts. In fact, the first-generation SRT4 was born from this team's style initiative.
"Our diverse team which changes frequently has been developing SEMA concepts for more than five years. It's the usual 'enthusiast' suspects from our union shops [plastic, paint, metal and wood], Product Design Office, SRT and Mopar Performance Parts and engineering," said Gilles.
"Every year, we push the boundaries of conventional thinking - customizing with no limits to creative expression and freedom, just the power to imagine. We want to build customized concept vehicles for SEMA that flex the potential in our platforms, show that Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles are indeed designed for customization and keep the Mopar spirit and passion alive," said Gilles.
After the SEMA show, the customized Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge SEMA vehicles will be displayed at events throughout 2008 including Easter Jeep Safari, the Miami Auto Show and more.
Jeep Wrangler JTBuilt from the military version of the all new Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Wrangler JT showcases just how flexible this new platform can be. Revealed at the 2007 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, it dominated the steep climbs and descents on the slopes of the Hell's Revenge trail. Its 4x4 capability was established as it negotiated the slick hot tubs and waterfalls - at times, almost completely vertical to the ground.
Beginning with the new 116-in. wheelbase platform for the Wrangler Unlimited, the design team managed to create a very nimble, trail-savvy Jeep with a 5-ft. pickup bed and an easy-to-handle removable hardtop.
Off-road enhancements include:
The Jeep Wrangler Ultimate with 392 HEMI® from Mopar. The name says it all.The Jeep Wrangler Ultimate with 392 HEMI from Mopar is a concept vehicle that answers the question "how far can you go with the new Jeep Wrangler?" Beginning with the all-new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon®, the design team set out to create the best of the best - combining high style and materials with the best off-road machine ever offered by Jeep.
The suspension is enhanced with a 3-in. lift to clear the massive 35-in. BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires mounted on custom, polished Alcoa Forged 18-in. wheels. The exterior is chromed out courtesy of Mopar:
To complete the look, the exterior is coated in a wildly experimental 'Liquid Charcoal Pearl Coat' paint.
The Wrangler Ultimate's real story is its interior. Taking cues from rugged adventure sports bags and accessories, the team created a high style and detailed interior compartment that is as tough and beautiful as the exterior. Seating surfaces are clad in durable orange mesh fabric and dark slate gray Nappa/Province leather - bound with a heavy black-leather baseball stitch. Instrument panel details are treated to a stunning Argent Pearl/Satin Silver paint combination, reinforcing the machine character for which Jeep is known. The interior is also home to the exclusive MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System. There are also DVD screens for passengers in the front and rear.
To provide authentic performance on the trail, the team also dropped in a 392 HEMI crate motor.
Jeep Wrangler All-accessThe interior of the Jeep Wrangler All-access has been upgraded with premium materials and paint. To give it "trail and off-road" credibility, the designers vamped it up with Mopar performance parts including Rubicon Express 4-in. suspension lift, front and rear bumper with tire carrier, rock rails, cold air intake and Warn 9500ti winch. American Expedition Vehicles supplied its new Pintler wheels.
Painted "Surf Blue," the Wrangler All-access also features 35-in. BFG Mud Terrain tires. In 2008, the Wrangler All-access will be seen at Easter Jeep Safari [Moab, Utah] and Camp Jeep®.
About SEMAThe Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, the annual showcase of technology, trends and products for the $36.7 billion automotive parts and accessories industry, will be held Oct. 30 - Nov. 2, 2007 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world, SEMA draws the industry's brightest minds and hottest products to the Las Vegas Convention Center and attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from over 100 countries in the automotive, truck and SUV markets. Open to domestic and international industry professionals and media, the 2007 SEMA Show will feature more than 2,000 exhibitors. More than 100,000 are expected to attend this year. SEMA was founded in 1963. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles.
70 Years of MoparWhen Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It was also widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s - the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "Special Parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.
Today, Chrysler's Global Service and Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to Chrysler engineering standards.