Something smells in Stellantis…
Change is in the air when it comes to Dodge and Stellantis isn’t exactly hiding that fact. After all, we know the Hellcats are history next year about the time this super-secret and supposedly totally-awesome yet incredibly-affordable all-electric muscle car will be revealed. There also are good indications the Hemi V8 engines will be entirely dropped from the Dodge product lineup. However, other changes have been subtle with Dodge and Stellantis saying nothing about them.
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The latest example is the subtle deletion of the manual transmission as an option when configuring a 2022 Dodge Challenger Hellcat online. It used to be you could order a six-speed manual, but now the only option is the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission.
Instead of issuing a press release or making some other official announcement, Dodge just made the change sometime in late 2021. More and more people have been taking note, plenty of them not happy at all with the switch.
Several news outlets say they spoke with Dodge and were told the situation is “temporary.” Supposedly a “revised calibration” is necessary before the company can start selling stick shifts again. I’d reach out to Dodge for an official comment, but the last time I got that the only reply I received was one from Stellantis corporate that sounded like it was written by a team of stuffy attorneys. I don’t think they appreciated my following up on the much-promised and long-delayed security update. Or maybe it was that I pointed out the inconvenient details of the e-Muscle car teaser video?
Whatever it was, I’m not losing any sleep because Stellantis is mismanaging Dodge and what’s coming isn’t going to be pretty. Tell me I need to adjust my tinfoil hat if you will, but lately so-called “conspiracy theorists” have an enviable batting average. And next year we’ll start to get a picture of just how bad the Dodge transition is going to be.
It’s possible, and I’m emphasizing I don’t have any solid evidence to back this up so it’s pure conjecture, that the restriction of the manual transmission for the Challenger Hellcats is to help soften up the image of the muscle car. Sure, that sounds lame and petty, but try looking up Dodge’s electric muscle car teaser video – you can’t find it because Dodge took it down. Something weird is going on with the company.
Alternatively, it could be a problem with a supplier. We’ve seen enough problems in that area in the past two years. But if it were so simple, why wouldn’t Dodge just admit it and say a solution is forthcoming? Again, something doesn’t add up.
Also, why didn’t Dodge just say something when it had to shelve the 6-speed manual transmission for the Hellcats? If there’s a temporary problem, customers and especially enthusiasts appreciate just being talked to like adults. All this sneaking around and hoping nobody will notice doesn’t bode well.
Next year the future of Dodge will become more apparent. For now, I’m afraid it’s going to be either choose a V6 “muscle car” or pay some steep price for an all-electric pipe dream. In the meantime, it looks like buying a Hellcat with a stick shift isn’t going to happen.