The Chrysler Group has Ford Motor Co. — and, to a lesser extent, General Motors Corp. — clearly in its sights with the creation of a performance-tuning specialty vehicle group. Ford has its long-standing Specialty Vehicle Engineering group, and GM announced last fall that it was forming an in-house, performance “tuning” operation.

While GM's effort is still forming, Chrysler is already able to pull the trigger with a trio of souped-up entries under its new Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO) banner.

There are about 200 engineers from specialty vehicles and motorsports dedicated to the new PVO business unit initially, says Wolfgang Bernhard, Chrysler Group chief operating officer. DC's PVO is bigger in scale and wider in scope than Ford's SVE team, says Chrysler.

The Dodge Ram SRT-10 takes direct aim at the 380-hp Ford SVT Lightning pickup. The Ram SRT-10 houses the Viper's 8.3L V-10 and delivers 500 hp and 500 ft.-lb. (678 Nm) torque.

SRT-10 pricing is not being released, but expect a price premium, says Bernhard. “You don't get a Viper V-10 for free.” He says demand will not be limited by engine availability.

“Compared to this, the Lightning is little more than a gentle rain,” says Richard O. Schaum, vice president, product development, quality and passenger car operations, of the Ram SRT-10 slated to go into production next year.