Security

High-performance Dodge Chargers, Challengers get new theft-thwarting tech

Existing Dodge Charger and Challenger models are getting a no-cost update designed to thwart thieves.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis
The Dodge Charger and Challenger are hot models. Not just hot as in good-looking. Hot as in stolen. In 2019, the Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat were atop the Highway Loss Data Institute's list of vehicles most likely to be stolen. The claim rates for each model's whole-vehicle theft were more than five times the average for 2016 to 2018 models. Since then, both models have continued to see robust sales.

Dodge has announced an automotive software upgrade that is designed to made the cars less desirable to theives. Using the Dodge owner's four-digit security code, a new enhanced deterrence feature limits the vehicle's engine speed to idle (675 rpm). At idle, the engines produce approximately 2.8 horsepower and 22 lb.-ft. of torque.

2020 Dodge Charger The Dodge Charger is one of the most stolen vehicles in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The no-charge update is limited to Dodge Charger and Challenger models equipped with 392-cu.-in. HEMI V8 or supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engines.

"Dodge is launching a new owner-customized 'double verification' security system," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. "When flashed into the computer of affected 2015 or newer Dodge muscle cars, the protective software will limit the engine output to less than three horsepower, foiling fast getaways and joyrides."

The software upgrade can be installed free of charge by any Dodge dealer on 2015 through 2021 model-year Dodge muscle cars. The complimentary enhancement applies second-level vehicle security encryption via Dodge's Uconnect 4C infotainment system.

"More than 150 cars are stolen every day in the United States," added Kuniskis. "For any car owner, it's terrible, it's a hassle and it's a personal violation. Though statistically rare, car thieves have targeted the high-horsepower Dodge muscle cars, and we want the Dodge 'Brotherhood' to know we're taking quick action and covering their backs."

Dodge has committed to pursuing other enhancements to vehicle-theft deterrence in order to protect owners' investments.

Dodge expects the new security feature to be available late in the second quarter of 2021.

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Biden will target 50 percent of all vehicle sales for EVs by 2030.

Ford

In the last several months, we've seen automakers from all corners of the globe commit to some degree of electrification by the end of the decade and beyond. That includes the American Big Three: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, others). Today, President Joe Biden plans to throw his weight behind these efforts by signing an executive order that sets a goal of pushing the sales of zero-emissions vehicles to half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Biden's target is not legally binding, but the industry is already jumping on board. In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis confirmed that they aim to hit an EV sales volume of 40-50 percent annually. It's worth noting that the President's 50 percent goal and the automakers' sales targets also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use a traditional gasoline engine.


Jeep PHEV The target also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use gas engines.Jeep


Auto unions and dealers are not opposed to the ambitious roadmaps laid out by the Big Three, but both have differing views on what is essential and how things will ultimately play out. While aware of the goals, the UAW is focused on wage growth and the preservation of jobs and benefits. It feels that an increase in EV production volume must happen here in the U.S. to include good-paying American union jobs.

Dealers, to a degree, are supportive of the goals but skeptical of their ultimate success. Some feel that electric vehicles do not present the earth-shattering shift in functionality and usability that other new products, such as smartphones, did in different industries. Regardless of concerns and skepticism, it appears that automakers are going all-in on the shift to electrification, so we're bound to see a wealth of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the next few years.


GM battery facility rendering Automakers are pledging billions to increase EV and PHEV production volume.GM

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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