At the end of the following year, Dodge will stop producing its gas-powered Challenger and Charger muscle cars, signaling the end of an era for the company as it begins its shift to electric vehicles.
The Charger and Challenger, popular brands from the 1960s and 1970s, were revived in the mid- to late 2000s and have since become Dodge stalwarts and beloved cars among a new generation of gearheads.
Due to its retro-inspired appearance, the two-door Challenger notably appealed to purchasers’ sense of nostalgia, while the four-door Charger managed to surpass significant sales milestones despite consumers’ recent fad toward SUVs.
The vehicles, with beginning costs ranging from the low $30,000s to around $90,000 for its infamous Hellcat variants that create more than 700 horsepower, have also allowed Dodge to increase revenues.
“Dodge, with the Challenger and Charger, they really found a way to really get to that muscle car root. These cars definitely expressed it … and were able to hold onto that essence,” S&P Global’s Stephanie Brinley, a principal analyst, stated. “Having that clear DNA and clear expression of what they’re supposed to be is helping make the transition to electric.”
The Charger and Challenger names may be used for future electrified vehicles, including a planned electric muscle car in 2024, according to Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. He has previously stated that he thinks electrification, whether it be all-electric or hybrid cars with weaker engines, will save what he has referred to as the new “Golden Age of muscle cars.”
Kuniskis has been predicting the demise of gas-powered muscle cars for a number of years due to emissions laws. The parent company of Dodge, Stellantis, previously Fiat Chrysler, has the worst fuel economy and carbon emissions among major manufacturers in the United States.
Dodge released Hellcat models and other high-performance cars when several automakers transitioned to smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. Such vehicles increased brand awareness but did little to reduce the automaker’s carbon footprint, compelling it to purchase carbon credits from companies like Tesla.
“The days of an iron block supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 are numbered,” In an earlier interview, Kuniskis mentioned engines like those in the Hellcat. “But the performance that those vehicles generate is not numbered.”
To “celebrate” the demise of cars as we know them today, Dodge is introducing a plethora of unique automobiles and items. Among other things, Dodge’s plans include a new dealer allocation system, a commemorative “Last Call” under-hood plaque for all 2023 model-year vehicles, and seven special-edition, or “buzz,” models.
The 2023 Charger and Challenger models will be distributed to lots all at once under the new dealer approach, as opposed to orders being made accessible throughout the year. Customers can use a guide provided by Dodge to find particular models at each location.
According to Kuniskis, the procedure is designed to help consumers receive the precise vehicle they desire.
“We wanted to make sure we were celebrating these cars properly,” during a press conference for an event this week in Pontiac, Michigan, Kuniskis remarked.
In Ontario, Canada’s Brampton Assembly facility of Stellantis manufactures the Charger and Challenger. The manufacturer claims that more than 3 million Dodge vehicles, including 1.5 million Chargers and more than 726,000 Challengers sold in the United States, have been produced at the site.
Although Stellantis has not specified what vehicles will be produced at the facilities, it earlier this year revealed intentions to invest $2.8 billion in the plant and another Canadian facility.
“When we shut down Brampton it will be a 20-year run of Dodge muscle cars,” Kuniskis said. “We needed to do this right.”