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The Challenger Awaits, and the Embargo Game Goes Another Round

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By now, you've seen them -- the Dodge Challenger photos dancing all around the Web, including the one at the top of this page. And no doubt you've seen more if you're a subscriber to some of the monthly enthusiast magazines out there--because Chrysler's public-relations policy is to dole out photos only to certain publications, for whatever reason, despite the fact that photos are easily grabbed on the Internet and reproduced.

So while we're a patient lot, we're not waiting any more to bring you info on the new Challenger, like this PR photo we saw first on Autoblog, which got it from Autoweek, which published it because Chrysler saw fit only to release preview material to the likes of Car and Driver magazine.

It's part of the media manipulation that happens when a company feels like they have a big hit on their hands. Only, there's a problem. Chrysler's Jim Press is on record saying the HEMI engine is not a part of Chrysler's future. New CAFE regulations promise to make 425-horsepower musclecars a vanishing species. And even though Chrysler's just introducing the Challenger as a 2008 model, we're predicting the Chicago show press conference they have planned will feel a little like Weimar decadence compared to the hybrid Ford Escape and plug-in Chevrolet Volt being shown at the booths next door.

Chrysler needs the good news a Challenger can bring. But holding Challenger information from our readers is something we won't settle for. We're betting when new issues of other buff books appear in mailboxes next week, we'll see reviews of the Dodge Journey I just drove two days ago - when an embargo of February 1 was supposed to be in place. We're ready with our full road test as soon as we see one of those reviews appear in another outlet.

The whole system of embargoes is broken and needs fixing, because it keeps you readers of TheCarConnection.com from getting the information you want, from the site you read. Tell Chrysler what you think of embargoes in a comment below, and stay tuned as we post from the Chicago auto show on February 5 and 6.
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Comments (5)
  1. Qoute: Chrysler’s Jim Press is on record saying the HEMI engine is not a part of Chrysler’s future.

    That is a dumb statement by Press..... I bet toyota and Chevy spit up their coffee when they read that comment by Press, They could not have done better their self. Way to stab your own product in the gut. That should help the sales of Hemis.

    I think they said the same thing about the hemi in 1957-58

    P.S. I think these photo leaks are well orchestrated by the manufacturers.
     
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  2. Good for you Chrysler for doing the embargoes! The way most car mags and so called writers pan Chrysler products I think it's only fair! Chrysler still sells an awful lot of vehicles for as bad as you like to claim they are. I recently rode in a last years model Chevy Malibu and it has just as much cheap light weight plastic as my 2000 Caravan and I get just as good fuel mileage as the Malibu without my knees up to my chin.
     
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  3. That is why I let my magazine subscriptions lapse. What is the point anymore?
    TCC has the news I need when it happens.
     
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  4. I find embargoes an odd concept. Agreeing to an "embargo" indicates some level of collusion between the manufacturer and the publisher and therefore calls into question how objective the reporting itself is.

    I presume that violating an embargo means a news outlet may find itself on the outs when it comes to being a part of the next preview. Wouldn't bad reviews of the product do the same thing?

    As for the car, I think:

    looks beautiful in photos;

    is way overpriced judging by today's lead story (about $40K). That's about $10k more than the Pontiac G8 and in Lexus and Infiniti range, which I'll bet have better quality. Also, the car appears aimed at a market similar to the GTO--first year resale values are terrible.

    Also, agree w/ the comment re the stupidity of proclaiming the Hemi dead before Challenger's actual launch. Kinda similar to Nardelli calling the company bankrupt "operationally" which makes me wonder how well/long Chrysler will honor its warranty.

    I wonder if they'll at least launch it w/ the lifetime powertrain warranty.
     
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  5. Good question on embargoes. Here's the rub: automakers know they can manipulate the monthly print magazines into giving them a cover - so they spread around the info love preferentially. For us to compete - to get the same information for you without ganking it from other Web sites and without losing ground to them, we agree to these embargoes so we can provide facts and official pictures as soon as possible. Of course, where we report a story without manufacturer involvement - like the Ford Transit Connect scoop we brought you earlier this month -- we go it alone. We're always open to suggestions on how to handle it better, while also staying in business ;)
     
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