September 30, 2022

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Dodge will stop the muscle cars of the Charger and Challenger

Dodge will stop the muscle cars of the Charger and Challenger

Suspension

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 moves toward more fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles.

Stellantis, the car conglomerate that owns Dodge, announce On Monday, the vehicles will roll off their production line in 2023 with a unique sale of seven “heritage” models, each of which will bear the words “Last Call” on a plaque under the hood.

“We celebrate the end of an era – and the beginning of a bright new electric future – by staying true to our brand,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in the company announcement.

The Charger and Challenger are part of a generation of cars with powerful engines and muscular design – along with the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac GTO and the like – that have been popular for more than five decades. Reintroduced in the 2000s, its retro feel and high-performance garnered a cult following with car enthusiasts even as many car buyers were drawn to the more fuel-efficient sedans, SUVs, and hatchbacks. Newer models start near $30,000 but can go as high as $200,000, while the 1969 Charger is more recently outdated. Sold at auction for a record $1.32 million, according to MotorTrend magazine.

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

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Final year 2023 issues will be allocated to dealerships “at once,” according to the company’s announcement, a departure from its usual practice of generating impressive sales throughout the year. The seven “legacy affected” 2023 models will share some links with previous models, details of which will be released later this year.

The seventh and final model, which Dodge describes as “the last of its kind,” will be unveiled at the 2022 Special Equipment Market Association in Las Vegas in early November. The announcement did not say whether the car was a Charger, Challenger or anything else.

Monday’s announcement did not detail the company’s muscle car plans for 2024 and beyond, but it did leave open the possibility of either brand making a comeback.

This is an evolving story and will be updated.