But wait, there’s more! Stellantis CEO claims Dodge will grow

The auto industry is going through a major time of transition, especially at Mopar, with the end of the Hemi V8s, the birth of EVs, and muscle car rivals switching to electric or hybrid variants with historic names—not to mention making crossovers with coupe names.

Dodge Charger Daytona

Dodge has been pouring out more smoke than a 1,000-car Hellcat burnout competition, and breaking hearts with the news that not only are the V8 engines going away, but also the Challenger and Charger “as we know them.” There are rumors that the ultimate American muscle SUV is moving to a truck-based STLA-Frame platform, which leaves many worrying about what is to become of the mighty Mopar.

Sedans and coupes are dying breeds, along with those musical V8 powerplants; they are being replaced by SUVs and crossovers and pickups. These are markets where Dodge is not really playing now, outside of the Durango. How does the muscle brand hope to survive in this new world? Tim Kuniskis referenced the hammerhead shark: evolution. It isn’t as cut and dried, though.

The Hornet crossover signals that Dodge is branching out into new territory though still using styles pioneered by the Chargers. The racetrack taillamps, aggressive front fascia, scooped hood, and headlamps are all evolved from the design of the Charger (and all the more impressive given that the body is Alfa Romeo’s take on the Jeep Compass).

2023 Dodge Hornet

Dodge is also digging into its history, as evidenced partly by the  GLH tag. Other names could do some cool new things, while allowing the high-performance muscle aura. That includes the Magnum, Journey, and Nitro names, along with Caravan, Dakota, and Durango. These could the Dodge’s path to success into new segments while retaining their image.

1985 Dodge GLH

That brings us back to the Durango, which rumors claim is moving to STLA Frame using Hurricane engines and an 800V BEV variant.

The Ram BEV concept showcased many ideas that could be in a big pickup-based SUV. A Durango Power Wagon could take advantage of Ram Rebel features. A Durango Ramcharger could be a king-of-the-hill all-terrain package, based as much as possible on the Ram TRX and with the attitude of a Charger—or, perhaps, a less powerful Durango Ramcharger R/T, with R/T standing for Road and Trail rather than Road and Track.

An STLA Frame Durango could match every Ram 1500 trim level; and there would be ICE, hybrid, and BEV versions to diversify the truck and help it compete in several markets.

Having Durango join Wagoneer in the body-on-frame world would leave a void in the non-Jeep Mopar lineup, where they face the Ford Explorer. Here, STLA Large shines.

The Banshee concept let us know that Dodge realizes they need to produce vehicles that do more than just go fast and offer people comfort; they need to be versatile and offer cargo capacity as well, which is why they made a huge deal about the EV acting like a UV.

Dodge Magnum

Dodge used to have a solution for people who wanted a performance sedan with some cargo space—the Dodge Magnum. The wagon was based on the Chrysler 300 sedan. Visibility wasn’t the best  and cargo space could have been improved, but it was a step in the right direction.

Dodge could re-create the Magnum to be a bit more of a blend of Charger and Durango, taking a few of the Aero cues such as the Banshee concept’s front R-Wing, the floating rear wing and Flying buttresses of the Wagoneer-S concept, the Banshee’s coke-bottle shape, the scalloped doors from the current Chargers, racetrack tail-lamps, and a few other things, and have a 5-seater, 4-door wagon that gives enthusiasts the performance of a muscle sedan with the utility of a UV. They could not do that with the original Magnum because of plant restrictions, but making the new Magnum in Windsor would solve that.

The interior concept from the Banshee would work well, as would a Direct Connection performance packs and upgrades. Models would likely include:

  • 2.0L 4xe SXT
  • Standard-output Hurricane-powered GT
  • High-output Hurricane-powered R/T
  • Cat-3 Hurricane GLH
  • Hybrid Hurricane GTX
  • 800V top of the line SRT

Stepping up from that would be a rugged, squared-off Dodge Nitro SUV with just one powertrain, the 4xe, to help with CAFE ratings. The squared off look provides more cargo space. A Nitro-X version could compete with lifestyle vehicles like the Santa Cruz and Maverick, but with far more power. The top end of this line would be the Nitro 340 R/T EV variant with a 340Kw AWD EV powertrain, adding storage where the engine no longer had to be.

2009 dodge journey

Above the Nitro would be the Dodge Journey, slotting into the spot the Durango would leave if it moved to a full frame platform. The Journey would compete more directly with the Explorer, with engine options similar to the lower-profile Magnum wagon/crossover. With an 800V tri-motor top end, it could outperform anything in its class, with the cargo/passenger space of a Grand Cherokee L. It could revive the Crossroads package as its all-terrain variant.

Next in line would be the return of the Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan. Based on the Pacifica replacement, they would have the utility of a minivan with the look of an SUV.

The 1970s Dodge B-series vans had “Street Van” packages; these would return, bringing a new lease on the minivan life. The lower center of gravity and RWD-based AWD powertrain should bring greater safety and handling, while the new platform could allow both hybrid and EV power.

Finally, we have the Ranger/Colorado/Tacoma/Ridgeline-fighting Dodge Dakota pickup (now rumored to be showing up as the Ram 1200). Tow ratings of vehicles in this class range fromm 5,000 to 7,500 pounds. This would be a unibody truck, with towing in the middle of that range. Engines would range from the 2-liter hybrid up to the Hurricane, and above that at least the 340kW EV setup.

That only covers STLA Large; they also have Medium and Small. STLA Medium could see some amazing vehicles that could be volume sellers. It sits in the center of mini crossovers like the RAV4, and can also provide compact performance. A second-generation Hornet GLH with 320hp would easily keep with the performance/practicality theme of the first generation.

Direct Connection Logo

A few Direct Connection stage packages would truly bring back the original SRT4/GLH vibes that made the brand stay awesome during the years when they lacked V8 muscle cars. The GLH and the SRT4 lineup proved that Dodge did not need V8s to have performance.

Dodge has become the brand of performance, no matter what size engine is under the hood. With this new Hurricane 3.0L putting out over 500hp, what could they do with stroked or hybrid versions? We could easily see some efficient ICE powertrains that make Hellcat type numbers all over again with insane levels of torque, smooth operation, and longevity on top of that. They’d make great powertrains for Ram 1500 and maybe even Ram 2500 6.4L replacements as well.

While to some, this may sound a bit sacrilegious, Dodge could  stand to take a look at what some of the overseas tuner brands did back in the mid to late ‘90s with their inline-six twin turbo engines, not only with performance, but with styling. I can understand Dodge wanting to ensure that their cars are tuned properly, but instead of cutting tuners out, maybe it’s time to include more of them inside. This draws enthusiasts in, despite the fact that they’re dropping V8s and adding EVs.

As long as Dodge can continue on being the cool performance brand it has become and stay relevant in this new environment, that’s really all that matters.

12 thoughts on “But wait, there’s more! Stellantis CEO claims Dodge will grow”

  1. Great article on what could be.

    The only real way to grow DODGE after they are being stripped of their performance engines and cars is to give them RAM back.

    Why is gm and ford still able to offer a v8 into the future and they can’t.

    And where is the Dakota already others are in their second gen versions already and they are still, what watching how they do. Gladiator don’t count.

    Seems to me that they want dodge to fail strip them of Ram trucks and the strip the trucks of the x bar grill except the classics.

    Why not take away Jeeps seven slot grill or Alfa Romeos v shape grill and see how they perform.

    And why the heck isn’t the 6.4 being offered in a 1500 street truck yet seems like everyone else has it except Ram.

    And why are they holding back announcing when the new turbo six will be added to the Ram 1500 or Jeep Grand Cherokee it’s obviously coming if they are axing the Hemi.

    • All great questions. While I don’t have any “official” answers, I believe Ford can continue on with the 5.0L is because it has so few V8 engines and they have be producing alot of small displacement engines and they’ve produced a handful of EVs over the past few years, as has Chevrolet/GM. Ford also only really has one performance car with a V8, the GT Supercar has moved on to the Ecoboost powertrain and their F150 sells more units with the 2.7L and 3.5L than they do with the 5.0L V8. GM is also in the process of manufacturing 6-cylinder forced induction replacements for their V8 powered pickups. With the Mopar brands, it’s more noticeable because they are known for big cubic inch displacement V8s. Truth be told, the Mopar brand has more V8 engines than anyone else in the industry right now. Even Toyota is switching to a twin-turbo V6 as replacement for it’s venerable 5.7L I-Force v8. As far as Ford and GM still having their v8’s, they aren’t very long for this world. I’m not sure if you remember the 90’s but while GM had the older LT1 5.7 and Ford had the 5.0L and 4.6L, Mopar had a twin turbo 3.0L as their mainstay high performance car engine. I say mainstay because although the Viper was around, Mopar relied on the Dodge Stealth TT (Mitsubishi 3000GT) as their mainstream performance vehicle and it competed in the same class as the Mustang Cobra, the Camaro Z28, the Supra TT and the 300ZX. As I’ve said before I feel like we’re going to have a rebirth of SRT4-type vehicles and things like that. I think it’ll be alot of fun if we get some domestic tuner cars.

  2. I have owned a 14, 16, 19, Ram 1500 and now a 21 Power Wagon.. I don’t care if my truck gets bad gas mileage. If I did I’d own a Subaru. Really you want me to purchase 3/4 ton truck with a 6 cylinder? Trucks have V8’s. Interestingly Ford and GM still offer a V8 option. Guess my next truck will come from the competition. Clearly Stellantis doesn’t know the American market.

    • Yes iv never had anything but mopars and I’m honestly excited to see what Chevy brings out for their new v8 as dodge clearly doesn’t want my business anymore

  3. Upcoming problems with twin turbo sixes. The turbos wear out and are huge money (ie BMW) so Fiat once again will waive the unreliability flag.
    People buy cars from Dodge because of performance and personality. The Hornet will be a huge flop. Once everything is electric who cares? Won’t have great styling because of aerodynamic requirements for maximum mileage so why buy? Sad days ahead for the automobile enthusiasts.

    • I fully agree the “we will grow” thing is a laugh. Ford just released a new v8 Chevy is in the process dodge wants their walking papers so they didn’t come out with a new engine

  4. You guys r being like 1970s ford and gm executives. Your not listening to your customers. They left for honda in the 70s bc they listened to what people wanted and detroit never recouped. Mopar legacy is the hemi v8. When mopar was about to go bust the hemi v8, the muscle cars and the ram 1500 v8 brought mopar back from the dead. If u steer away from this legacy you will be no different than 1970s ford and gm executives. Mopar will go bust bc you arent giving the customers what they want. The go greeners dont buy mopar… the rent in big cities use uber/ lyft and scooters / walk everywhere they want to go. They dont support mopar so why are u trying to support them. Give support yo the modern day hot rodder and working guy looking for a hemi ram 1500. These are the guys that will buy from mopar and keep it alive. The go greeners wont support mopar bc they use mass transit and the above means. They dont buy cars and trucks and if they do… their intrests are with telsa and rivan.
    Stick with what mopar does best. Staying a legacy with the hemi v8. If u steer away from that path… history will repeat itself and mopar will go bankrupt. The go greeners wont support you… but the hot rodder and the yrucker will. Give them.what they want
    Hemi v8. And muscle. Use common sense mopar…. research and look how these go greeners spend money and the kind of transport means they use
    … its certainly not mopar thats for sure.
    Listen to your customers… seriously. Mopar future is sitting in its past. Muscle cars and trucks powered by hemis….. thats what u r known for so stick by it. It will keep u in bussiness. Offer both ev and gas v8 hemis if u need to keep a happy medium with current state of affairs.
    Long live the hemi v8.

    • You’re comments truly make sense. The ’70’s were a rough time for Detroit and it truly hasn’t recovered fully since. American car manufactures were very slow to adapt to the changing market place which was genuinely why the American auto industry took such a hard hit and has been struggling ever since the ’70’s to get back to it’s “Glory Days.” This is just like the ’70’s all over again where the world is facing government mandates on emissions, ridiculously high gas prices and an influx of new style vehicles that are threating the end of muscle cars for the second time around. This time, sticking with the Hemi v8, history will repeat itself and Mopar WILL go bankrupt. Right now, what Dodge is doing is showing the rest of the world that they are going to make ridiculous amounts of noise and horsepower, no matter what is under the hood of their vehicles and they’re going to attack every single market in true Dodge style just like they’ve always done. In the EV world, they’re going straight for the Tesla Plaid market to claim the EV drag racing crown and become the quarter mile EV king once again. The Dodge brand is positioning themselves to not have a repeat of the ’70’s and to provide vehicles that will keep potential buyers from once again jumping ship and jumping into the seats of Japanese, Korean and European vehicles both in the U.S and abroad. The brand is doing it’s best to keep itself alive and prosperous. Similar to what it did when it launched GLH in the ’80’s and SRT in the early 2000s. The brand is not only flexing intellectual muscle but also actual muscle as well. Let’s face it, a sub 450hp v8 with almost 6-liters of displacement is honestly a disgrace now days when there are engines with 3-liters or less than can out power and out tow them. There is only one thing a 5.7L V8 has over these is sound. Hemi’s are still plagued with valvetrain issues and although they’ve improved, when compared to the smaller displacement forced induction engines, the margin of advantages is quite miniscule. Not saying that these new engines won’t have their inherent issues but the 345ci V8 is lacking in alot of areas and it isn’t that impressive in the Challenger/Charger either. Let’s be real for a second, performance wise from the factory, the 5.7L Hemi is no match for any V6 performance car out there, even getting outperformed by a Kia. With 370hp, the 5.7L is only 20hp stronger than a 2.3L Ecoboost Mustang, which is alot lighter and in a much smaller vehicle. As much as I despise the blue oval brand and know their engines aren’t that great, they kick butt with their small displacement engines. Even their 3.0L Explorer ST can out perform a Durango R/T and while Dodge overall makes a better 1500-series truck, the Ecoboost Ford F150s can out perform everything except a TRX. As bad as they are plagued, the facts still remain, they sell. It seems the Stellantis (Mopar) brand has done quite a bit of research on which demographics flock to particular types of vehicles, and the “go-greeners” definitely do not flock to Mopar, which means they’re missing out on that market completely, which is quickly becoming a large market (much larger than the market of us hot-rodders, that’s for sure). That’s alot of money left on the table, money that can be used to continue building those high horsepower hot rods we love so much. Dodge as a whole, needs to stay relevant across the board or it will get axed. Plain and simple. If they are the Brand that is the “brotherhood of muscle” then they need to extend that family and mindset across alot of different markets, including the market the “go-greeners” (aka money) occupy. A lot of those people actually do buy Mopars but most of them buy vehicles like the Jeep Compass or Cherokee and they love little quirky vehicles that they can zip around in and park in the limited spaces they live in. Dodge needs to live in that space as well. You were also right on another aspect that Dodge’s future is sitting in it’s past. But not quite so much in the way you were thinking. The 70’s brought about alot of other vehicles for the Mopar brand such as the Street Van, the Ramcharger, the warlock, the Little Red Express, the Dodge Aspen, the Dodge Demon, and the Dodge Magnum. While they used V8s, they were mostly small displacement but still offered performance, styling and general fun that was a bit different from the 60’s but a step in a positive direction. The little red express truck was a rebellious showing of Dodge finding loopholes in the emissions system and still being able to offer a “hot rod” in spite of what was going on. The Dodge Demon was another rebellious vehicle that offered a lot of performance in an inexpensive small-displacement package. While the Dart Demon wasn’t one of the 426 Hemi cars or big-block Mopars the time had come to love, it offered what it could while being “compliant” with small displacement engines. Dodge is doing it’s best to reinstate that kind of magic with the Hurricane-6. Also, the Hemi name expanded beyond the V8 engine, the name was also used for several high performance inline-6 engines from Chrysler, Australia that competed with both Ford and GM V8 and were very successful in the ’70’s. The new 3.0L Hurricane I-6 twin turbo could be the gateway to bringing back the Hemi-215 (3.5L), the Hemi-245 (4.0L) and the Hemi-265 (4.5L) which would allow the brand to continue having 700hp+ ICE vehicles (seeing that the 3.0L can produce over 500hp) and they would still have the largest displacement engines since most 6-cylinders now days don’t go above 3.5L-3.8L of displacement. While the Hemi name is great, it’s over used. The Hemi was reserved for a top performing, NASCAR type V8 race engine, something the modern 5.7L 345ci V8 is NOT! While the Hemi & Hurricane names are cool, Renaming the new engines Magnum & Commando would definitely be nostalgic and better fitting. The new I-6 Twin Turbo powertrains could also give a true rebirth to the SRT brand. The SRT brand started with the Neon in 2003 and the SRT4 Neon had a huge following. While the Dodge brand definitely makes wonderful v8 engines, the brand has proved over and over they don’t need v8s to make more power than everyone else. Even before the SRT4 neon, the GLH vehicles in the 80’s were designed to compete and outpower the import-4 cylinder cars they faced. Not only that, the Mopar brand also already has an Inline-6 that stomps out v8s in it’s class. The Cummins-sourced 6.7L Turbo diesel in the Ram HD trucks. The brand even had a crazy following for the Slant-6 because of it’s simplicity and let’s not forget how many Jeep enthusiasts are still in love with the 4.0L I-6 or people who love the 5.9L I-6 Turbo Diesel engine (Hint to Mopar, this is one that should be brought back for the Ram 1500 as another engine offering along with the Inline-6 twin turbo gas engines!) Gasoline powered performance will inevitably live on. As I’ve said before, these new I-6 Twin turbo powertrains may actually bring the brand back to the roots of the SRT brand where they produced small displacement engines with raw power and a racy feel with factory backed performance upgrades and alot of the stuff that blue-collar hot rodders actual miss. Electric cars have their place and Stellantis wants a piece of that action as well. Would it be wrong for the brand to alienate their customers and switch over to being a completely EV company? Absolutely 100%. But the brand does need to be smart and realize that this could be a complete repeat of the ’70’s again and if they don’t act fast and switch it up, this hit could end them permanently as well as anything that comes from Detroit? They absolutely do. If American vehicles are going to survive this war, they need to beat the competition at it’s own game. As unfortunate as that may be, as it stands, that’s not something that even a Hemi V8 can beat. The new Dodge performance vehicles can’t be all muscle, nor can they be all mind over muscle, they have to be equal mind and muscle. GM knows it, Ford knows it and so does Mopar. The brand’s future definitely does sit in it’s glorious past, Direct Connection, GLH, PVO and SRT can truly save the brand and the “everyday man’s” performance hot rods and produce amazing Mopar vehicles like a next gen prowler, a new Charger, a real Dodge Dart and Dart Demon and all kinds of other things. The rebirth of the “Magnum” engine names and even some other cool names and themes from years long ago. Street Vans, Warlocks, “Li’l Red Express” trucks, and even an actual Ramcharger SUV (not the little robot that chargers EV Ram pickups) to do battle with the new Ford Bronco. Dodge is more than the Hemi v8 and has done more than the Hemi v8. If the brand is to genuinely survive (along with American performance vehicles) then the brand and its customers have to learn to adapt in any environment they’re put it. Not to mention, in doing so, the brand could also give a new lease on life to aftermarket companies like Holley (and all of the performance brands under the Holley umbrella), Edelbrock and other manufacturers that could become suppliers for SRT/GLH/Direct Connection performance products. While continuing with V8 engines would lead to a tragic and inevitable downfall for the Mopar brand, I.C.E vehicles and performance are 100% still key to the brand’s future. If they can figure out how to strike a balance between survival under these new rules and regulations, staying true to the brand, keeping their current customers happy WITHOUT V8s, gaining new customers, expanding into new markets and being profitable all at the same time, then that’s a huge win for the brand!


    • You are spot on. Nobody I know will by an Electric Vehicle including me. I had MOPARS since I was a kid. I have MOPARS today. My 2021 Big Horn 1500 V8 HEMI is my last MOPAR. Done with the brand. I wanted a 2023 Dodge Challenger in Sublime 392 Hemi none to be found. No where. I remember the 70’s MOPAR and than up to 1989 when MOPAR almost went bankrupt. The 80’s were bad for MOPAR. The Electric Vehicles will be the death of MOPAR.

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