Despite the pop culture status of the HEMI, Chrysler now has to cut production on the beefy V8 engines by 20 percent. The lagging sales have been prompted by high gas prices and consumer interest in more fuel efficient vehicles, which have hurt sales of light trucks and SUVs. For Dodge, the numbers tell the story, with a 41.1 percent drop in sales of the Durango, an 11.7 percent dip in Ram pickup sales, and a drop of 12.9 percent overall in light truck and SUV sales compared to this time in 2005.
The HEMI engine hasn't always been a problem child for Chrysler, quite the opposite, as its reintroduction in 2001 sent Ram pickup sales up to a record 450,000 units sold. It's also something of a "halo" engine, because while not everyone is opting to purchase vehicles with the HEMI, it gives the Chrysler Group's light trucks and SUVs a tougher and more desirable image.
[Source: Detroit News]