The gas-powered Challenger and Charger muscle cars will no longer be produced by Dodge by the end of the next year, bringing an end to an era as the company begins its shift to electric vehicles.
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The Charger and Challenger, popular brands from the 1960s and 1970s, were revived in the mid- to late 2000s and have since become Hellcat Dodge stalwarts and beloved cars among a new generation of gear heads.
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 discovered a way to really get into the muscle car root with the Challenger and Charger. These vehicles were able to capture that spirit and convey it, according to Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at S&P Global. “The transition to electric is being facilitated by having that clear DNA and clear manifestation of what they’re supposed to be.”
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 automobiles.”
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 average 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, like those found in the Hellcat, are numbered, Kuniskis previously told CNBC. However, the performance those cars produce is unnumbered.
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.
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.