Dodge Challenger, Charger will be discontinued in 2023

2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (left) and 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock


DETROIT – Dodge will discontinue its gas-powered Challenger and Charger muscle cars at the end of next year, marking the end of an era for the brand as it begins the transition to electric vehicles.

Since being revived in the mid-2000s, the Charger and Challenger — names popularized in the 1960s and 1970s — have been giants for Dodge and popular vehicles for new generations of gearheads.

The two-door Challenger in particular struck nostalgia with buyers thanks to its retro-inspired styling, while the four-door Charger has garnered notable sales miles in recent years, despite consumers shifting from sedans to SUVs. Have succeeded in getting the stone.

Dodge has also been able to juice profits from vehicles that range in price from as low as $30,000 to nearly $90,000, thanks to its infamous Hellcat models that produce more than 700 horsepower.

“With the Dodge, Challenger and Charger, they really found a way to get up to that muscle car route. These cars definitely expressed it … and were able to capture that essence,” said S&P Global’s Lead analyst Stephanie Brinley said. “With that clear DNA and clear expression of what they’re about to happen, they’re helping to transition to electricity.”

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has pointed to the possibility that the names Charger and Challenger could be used for electrified vehicles of the future, including the electric muscle car coming in 2024. He has previously said that he believes electrification – whether hybrid vehicles with less powerful engines or all-electric models – will deliver what he calls the “golden age of muscle cars.”

For several years, Kuniskis has warned that gas-powered muscle cars are coming to an end because of emissions regulations. Dodge parent company Stelantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, ranks worst among major manufacturers for US corporate average fuel economy and carbon emissions.

As many brands moved to smaller and more fuel-efficient engines, Dodge rolled out Hellcat models and other high-performance vehicles. Such models helped garner attention for the brand, but didn’t help the automaker’s carbon footprint, forcing it to buy carbon credits from automakers like Tesla.

“The days of an iron block’s 6.2-liter V-8 supercharged are numbered,” Kuniskis previously told CNBC, referring to engines like those in the Hellcat. “But the performance numbers generated by those vehicles are not.”

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis speaks during a media event on August 13, 2021. In the back, the Fratzog logo was used alongside Dodge’s current logo.

Michael Welland / CNBC

Dodge is launching a litany of special vehicles and products to “celebrate” the end of cars as they are today. Dodge’s plans include seven special-edition, or “buzz,” models; a commemorative “Last Call” under-hood plaque for all 2023 model-year vehicles; and a new dealer allocation process among other measures.

The new dealer process will see Dodge allotting the 2023 Charger and Challenger models together in lots instead of providing orders throughout the year. Dodge will provide customers with a guide to locate specific models at each dealership.

Kuniskis said the process is meant to help customers get the specific vehicle they want.

“We wanted to make sure we were celebrating these cars properly,” Kuniskis said this week during a media briefing for an event in Pontiac, Michigan.

The Charger and Challenger are produced at Stelantis’ Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. The company says it has produced more than 3 million Dodge vehicles at the plant, including 1.5 million Chargers and more than 726,000 Challengers sold in the US.

Stelantis earlier this year announced plans to invest $2.8 billion in the plant and another Canadian facility, but has not disclosed which vehicles will be produced at the facilities.

“When we close Brampton it will be a 20-year run of Dodge muscle cars,” Kuniskis said. “We needed to do it right.”

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