Numerous outlets recently reported, in breathless headlines, that the Dodge Challenger is being killed, based on a recent interview with Tim Kuniskis.
However, the story is not that simple. In fact, the Dodge leader said that the Hellcat Charger and Challenger would be leaving in 2023. Most likely, that simply means that the Hellcat will be dropped at that point, and the Challenger and Charger will continue with new “electrified” versions on the upcoming STLA Large platform.
What is STLA Large? There are many conflicting stories there, but chances are it has aspects of Giorgio, which was first used by the Alfa Romeo Giulia; possibly the Maserati Quattorporte, whose front suspension lends it a lighter, sportier feel than the Dodge Charger; and the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The platform will be “electrified,” which could indicate that the Challenger will become a BEV, which is rapidly becoming necessary to compete on the quarter-mile strip. It could also mean that the Hellcat’s successor will be like the Jeep 4xe—a conventional gasoline engine with forced induction (turbocharger or supercharger) and electric motors. The motors give it a good push off the starting line and help keep fuel economy to reasonable levels, while the engine gives it range and high-end power, overcoming a problem of battery-electric cars—they guzzle electrons at high speeds (if you’ll excuse the highly inaccurate analogy).
At least one insider pointed out that the ZF transmission can be built with an integrated electric motor—and said that Brampton would keep building the large cars, in performance-hybrid form, past 2024.
Regardless, it seems highly unlikely Dodge would give up two classic muscle car names which have come to embody its entire brand image.