Dodge will discontinue the Charger and Challenger muscle cars


Dodge will stop making gas-powered Chargers and Challengers next year, marking the end of an era for a brand that helped define the muscle car, as the auto industry shifts to more fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles.

Stellantis, the auto conglomerate that owns Dodge, announced Monday that it will move the vehicles out of production in 2023 through a unique sale of seven “legacy” models, each of which will carry the words “last call” on a plaque under its hood.

“We’re celebrating the end of an era — and the start of a bright new electrified future — by staying true to our brand,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in the company’s announcement.

The Charger and Challenger are part of a generation of cars with powerful engines and muscular styling—along with the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac GTO and the like—that became popular more than five decades ago. Reintroduced in the 2000s, their retro feel and high performance held sway with car enthusiasts, even as many car buyers switched to more fuel-efficient sedans, SUVs and hatchbacks. Newer models start near $30,000 but can run as much as $200,000, while a vintage 1969 Charger recently sold at auction for a record $1.32 million, according to MotorTrend magazine.

But stricter emissions standards have forced Dodge to rethink its lineup and buy carbon credits from cleaner manufacturers. Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in a March 2021 earnings call that it used $362 million in such credits in 2020, mostly from electric car maker Tesla, according to CNBC.

The final year editions for 2023 will be allocated to dealers “all at once”, according to the company’s announcement, which is a shift from the normal practice of staggering sales throughout the year. The seven “legacy-influenced” 2023 models will share some connection with previous models, details of which will be released later this year.

The seventh and final model, which Dodge describes as “the very last of its kind,” will be revealed at the 2022 Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas in early November. The announcement did not say whether it would be a Charger, Challenger or something else.

Monday’s announcement did not detail the company’s muscle car plans for 2024 and beyond, but it did open up the possibility that both brands could return.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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