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AUBURN HILLS, MI – Trevor Creed is a man possessed.

Chrysler LLC’s design chief is not spewing pea soup, “Exorcist”-style.

But he says nothing turns his head these days quite like the Dodge Demon concept roadster, which debuted in March at the Geneva auto show. Particularly at this juncture, as Chrysler moves forward under the auspices of Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Building a production version of the Demon is “foremost in my mind,” Creed tells Ward’s, claiming conditions are ideal – externally and internally – for green-lighting such a car.

Powered by a 2.4L I-4 engine, the Demon satisfies a growing market trend that favors fuel-stingy technology, he says, while the car’s edgy design symbolizes a “rebirth” of the auto maker’s spirit as a bold, American company.

Creed is mum on when a decision might be made on building the Demon, but there’s no great rush. He says its classic proportions give it plenty of shelf life, likening it to the Mercedes-based Chrysler Crossfire 2-seater, which launched in 2003.

Refreshed for ’07, Crossfire’s U.S. sales were up 36% through July, year-over-year. But that increase benefits from comparison with last year’s shortened production run.

See related content: Ward’s U.S. Car Sales by Line and Brand, July 2007
Chrysler proposes a production Dodge Demon would sell for $15,000.

Soft sales through early 2006 sales caused German coachbuilder Wilhelm GmbH Karmann to trim 1,250 workers from the 5,200-member payroll at its Osnabrueck plant – home to Crossfire production.

Creed has said the Demon was conceived as a Miata-fighter. Currently marketed as the MX-5 Miata, the Mazda offering has ruled the roadster segment since its debut in 1989.

After losing its U.S. sales crown last year to the Pontiac Solstice, the MX-5 through July regained its lead, albeit slightly. MX-5 deliveries totaled 10,790, compared with 10,541 for the Solstice.

Classified as middle-specialty cars, according to Ward’s segmentation, both roadsters are part of a declining niche. From a 10-year peak of 548,921 deliveries in 2001, middle-specialty cars in the U.S. are on pace to sell just under 317,000 units, a new low for the period.

But industry observers believe there always is room for an affordable sports car. And affordability is one of the Demon’s hallmarks.
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Dodge Aims High With Demon Roadster Concept
Chrysler Sale to Cerberus Finalized

Chrysler proposes a starting price in the $15,000 range.

“If you can make a really good value proposition, you can clearly win some sales,” says Joe Phillippi, principal of New Jersey-based AutoTrends Inc.

There is universal appeal, he says, for a “back-to-basics kind of sports car without a supercharger or turbo that has terrific performance and handling qualities and is user-friendly.”

By user-friendly, he means it must have cargo room for more than “a couple of small gym bags.”

The timing for such a car couldn’t be better.

“There’s an ever-increasing number of Baby Boomers,” Phillippi says. “As they retire, there’s a huge chunk of wealth there. And Baby Boomers, historically, have tended to be somewhat of a conspicuous consumption group.”

He suggests a car such as the Demon could achieve annual U.S. sales of 50,000 to 100,000 units, which would push it beyond the roadster class into Ford Mustang territory at the top of the middle-specialty category.
Chrysler Design Chief Bedeviled by Roadster
 

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i like the Demon ever since i saw a concept 1.5 years ago. i just wish someone would make a nice little RWD Coupe soon.

i wonder how much power they will give for $15,000 since that undercuts the miata by 5k and the Miata has only 166. hopefully it will be around that.
 

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i like the Demon ever since i saw a concept 1.5 years ago. i just wish someone would make a nice little RWD Coupe soon.

i wonder how much power they will give for $15,000 since that undercuts the miata by 5k and the Miata has only 166. hopefully it will be around that.
About 170hp which is from Chrysler's world 2.4 engine. Speculations are that the Demon SRT-4 will have the Caliber's 2.4t in it.
 

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I was really excited about the Solsitce, but like many domestic products, the product did not quite live up to the hype. Poor interior design, thrashy engine, and difficult top make the slightly more expenisve MX-5 a better chioce.

Lutz said "under $20k" and yes, you could get a stripped Sol for $19,999 IF you found a stealership that was honest enough to sell you one at MSRP.

I imagine Dodge will do the same thing. When they say "$15k" they mean "$15,999.99" BEFORE metallic paint, LSD, and air conditioning (the $20k sol was without AC). $15,999.99 will also be for the smaller, detuned engine version with the 14" steelies and the (yuck) tan top. By the time you get the 160+hp, and the trimmings that our $21k Si's have you are looking at another $25k roadster that is slower, less safe, less efficient, and with a smaller trunk, higher insurance premiums, and the reliability of a Stratus.

Cars like this, the Solstice, GTI's, all Mazdaspeeds, or any "special edition, limited quantity" car is a candy coated hand out so the dealers can charge "market adjustment" fees and **** enthusiasts like us. Don't forget, the original MX-5 was $13K.

No thanks, I'll Pass.
 

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Looks liek the s2k, but not EXACTLY. You can see the overall body makes it look like one, like if an s2k and this were both shadows, they'd look the same almost.

And i hope it would be pretty quick!
 

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I was really excited about the Solsitce, but like many domestic products, the product did not quite live up to the hype. Poor interior design, thrashy engine, and difficult top make the slightly more expenisve MX-5 a better chioce.

Lutz said "under $20k" and yes, you could get a stripped Sol for $19,999 IF you found a stealership that was honest enough to sell you one at MSRP.

I imagine Dodge will do the same thing. When they say "$15k" they mean "$15,999.99" BEFORE metallic paint, LSD, and air conditioning (the $20k sol was without AC). $15,999.99 will also be for the smaller, detuned engine version with the 14" steelies and the (yuck) tan top. By the time you get the 160+hp, and the trimmings that our $21k Si's have you are looking at another $25k roadster that is slower, less safe, less efficient, and with a smaller trunk, higher insurance premiums, and the reliability of a Stratus.

Cars like this, the Solstice, GTI's, all Mazdaspeeds, or any "special edition, limited quantity" car is a candy coated hand out so the dealers can charge "market adjustment" fees and **** enthusiasts like us. Don't forget, the original MX-5 was $13K.

No thanks, I'll Pass.
i do partially agree with this, but at the same time i cant blame Chrysler for a GMs doings. i too was excited about the solstice, but then you found that even under the Saturn brand name the price was much more than you expected, and the dealers were asshats about letting anyone near them. also the interior design is really crap.
 

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i do partially agree with this, but at the same time i cant blame Chrysler for a GMs doings. i too was excited about the solstice, but then you found that even under the Saturn brand name the price was much more than you expected, and the dealers were asshats about letting anyone near them. also the interior design is really crap.
Yeah, I have to give Chrysler credit, despite being based on one of the turdiest cars, the Neon, SRT-4's are still a fast, cheap car.

The problem is that what an enthusiast wants out of their car is what everyone else doesn't. We are a subset of a subset of automotive consumer who still know that there is entertainment to be had in the sports car ideal. The other 99% of people that would buy this car want it because it looks cool on their ****. It's a sad irony that what makes a sports car alluring in the first place: unbridled speed; catastrophic danger a finger twitch away; and in-your-face sensation is precisely what bean counters and lawyers are trying to eliminate. Precious few new cars come close to remembering this ideal.

I'm just wary of any new car that claims to be performance oriented. Sizzle sells.
 
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