DETROIT — Dodge will discontinue its gas-powered Challenger and Charger muscle vehicles on the finish of subsequent yr, marking the top of an period for the model because it begins to transition to electrical automobiles.
Since being resurrected in the mid- to late 2000s, the Charger and Challenger — names made well-liked in the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies — have been stalwarts for Dodge and well-liked automobiles for a brand new era of gearheads.
The two-door Challenger notably struck a twine of nostalgia with patrons thanks to its retro-inspired styling, whereas the four-door Charger has managed to obtain notable gross sales milestones regardless of shoppers flocking from sedans to SUVs in current years.
Dodge has additionally been in a position to juice income from the automobiles, which have beginning costs starting from the low-$30,000s to almost $90,000 for its notorious Hellcat fashions that produce greater than 700 horsepower.
2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (left) and 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock
“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,” stated Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at S&P Global. “Having that clear DNA and clear expression of what they’re supposed to be is helping make the transition to electric.”
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has alluded to the chance that the Charger and Challenger names might be used for future electrified automobiles, together with a forthcoming electrical muscle automobile in 2024. He’s beforehand stated he believes electrification — whether or not hybrid automobiles with much less highly effective engines or all-electric fashions — will save what he has referred to as the brand new “Golden Age of muscle cars.”
For a number of years, Kuniskis has warned that the top was coming for the gas-powered muscle vehicles due to emissions laws. Dodge mum or dad firm Stellantis, previously Fiat Chrysler, ranks the worst amongst main producers for U.S. company common gas economic system and carbon emissions.
As many manufacturers switched to smaller and extra fuel-efficient engines, Dodge rolled out Hellcat fashions and different high-performance automobiles. Such fashions helped generate consideration for the model however did not assist the automaker’s carbon footprint, forcing it to purchase carbon credit from automakers reminiscent of Tesla.
“The days of an iron block supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 are numbered,” Kuniskis beforehand instructed CNBC, referring to engines like these in the Hellcat. “But the performance that those vehicles generate is not numbered.”
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis speaks Aug. 13, 2021 throughout a media occasion. In the again, the Fratzog emblem was used alongside Dodge’s present emblem.
Michael Wayland / CNBC
Dodge is launching a litany of particular automobiles and merchandise to “celebrate” the top of the vehicles as they’re as we speak. Dodge’s plans embrace seven special-edition, or “buzz,” fashions; a commemorative “Last Call” under-hood plaque for all 2023 model-year automobiles; and a brand new seller allocation course of, amongst different measures.
The new seller course of will see Dodge allocate 2023 Charger and Challenger fashions to heaps abruptly, as a substitute of creating orders out there all year long. Dodge will present prospects a information to find particular fashions at every dealership.
Kuniskis stated the method is supposed to help prospects in getting the particular automobile they need.
“We wanted to make sure we were celebrating these cars properly,” Kuniskis stated throughout a media briefing for an occasion this week in Pontiac, Michigan.
The Charger and Challenger are produced at Stellantis’ Brampton Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada. The firm says it has produced greater than 3 million Dodge automobiles on the plant, together with 1.5 million Chargers and greater than 726,000 Challengers bought in the U.S.
Stellantis earlier this yr introduced plans to make investments $2.8 billion in the plant and one other Canadian facility, nevertheless it has not disclosed what automobiles will be produced on the services.
“When we shut down Brampton it will be a 20-year run of Dodge muscle cars,” Kuniskis stated. “We needed to do this right.”