Dodge Charger and Challenger Are Discontinued
As has been rumored for at least two years, it’s now official: the Dodge Charger and Challenger are discontinued.
The Charger and Challenger are part of a generation of cars with powerful engines and muscular styling made popular more than five decades ago. Along with the Ford Mustang, Pontiac GTO and the like, they’ve retained significant influence over car culture and design even as the industry has undergone waves of change. The muscle car is bound up with conceptions of American individuality and freedom, trading on ideas of ruggedness, ingenuity and luxury.
The genre is known for its girth and powerful engines, with a gift for acceleration that contrasts sharply with the four-cylinder sedans and compacts typically found motoring on American roadways. The deep rumble is central to its place in popular culture.
While many lament the end of the line for the gasoline-powered Chargers and Challengers, law enforcement officials and lawmakers probably won’t shed a tear. That’s because these cars are immensely popular at intersection takeovers and sideshows like those that forced the shut down of Los Angeles’ reopening of the newly-remodeled 6th street bridge.
Sales of muscle cars have been declining for years, as Americans have gravitated from passenger cars toward larger SUVs and pickups.
Sales of the top four muscle cars fell 43% from their last-decade peak in 2015 to 206,096 in 2021, the lowest point for the segment since 2008, according to data compiled for Axios by car-research site Edmunds.
Despite a sales decline, the Challenger and Charger have a devoted fan base. But automakers have little room left for gas-guzzling cars as they seek to please investors and regulators eager for more SUVs and electric vehicles.
Like other vehicles that have been discontinued and later revived — such as the dead-as-a-doornail Hummer SUV that GM revived as an electric SUV — the Challenger and Charger might have a future somewhere down the line.
“Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has alluded to the possibility that the Charger and Challenger names could be used for future electrified vehicles, including a forthcoming electric muscle car in 2024.
The electrified future is slowly creeping into Dodge’s ICE-ladened inventory. Its first foray into electric-powered performance vehicles started with the debut of its sporty cross-over Plug-in Hybrid back in August. Now, it seems Mopar legends will be heading to the chopping block in lieu of Dodge’s EV plans.
New cars using completely different platforms will be taking over, with a “very significant car” coming by the end of the year. Aside from this mystery model, Kuniskis promised the rest of the three planned vehicles will cater to a variety of people, including ones for the brotherhood of muscle demographic.
The Dodge CEO has been quite privy about its mysterious new lineup, but he did say Chargers and Challengers will remain in dealership inventories despite their discontinuation. While both models will no longer be produced, Dodge will celebrate its departure by introducing seven “special edition” 2023 models into the fray (via CNBC). Kuniskis said the company “wanted to make sure we were celebrating these cars properly.” The last limited-edition batch will be dispatched to various dealerships simultaneously, and customers will be given guides on where to find them.
So now that the Dodge Charger and Challenger Are Discontinued, what will their replacement look like? A few renditions have been teased, but if we were to guess, we’re going to speculate that design elements will take styling cues from the front grille and the now-famous red bar taillight setup that’s become so famous.