The Challenger and Charger are also supposed to live on…
Dodge, you sly dog you, there you had all of us believing the rumors that the Hemi V8 was a goner as the current Charger and Challenger rode off into the sunset next year. Supposedly, it would be replaced by six-cylinder engines and the upcoming “eMuscle” car to be revealed soon. Then MotorTrend cites unnamed “sources” to contradict what everyone thought they knew while also claiming the Charger and Challenger won’t be set out to pasture.
I really want to believe what MotorTrend says, but I’ve also lived long enough to see all kinds of claims like this not age well. Understandably, people who work for an automaker and aren’t supposed to be speaking to the media about certain topics only do so on the condition they remain anonymous. But anonymous sources have been a thing many in the media, including in the automotive field, have abused mercilessly in recent years. Taking this report with a grain of salt would be wise.
Maybe Dodge saw how many people are lining up to get a Charger or Challenger plus fielded tons of angry complaints from fans, using that as leverage to get Stellantis to back down on the original plan to phase out Hemis? That sort of thing happened before, like when Mustang owners learned the Foxbody would be replaced by a front-wheel-drive, turbocharged Mazda. The democratic power in capitalist markets is real.
Obviously, the people love modern Mopar muscle cars. Sales of the Challenger and Charger have totaled over 2 million and counting, with quite a few of those sold since the Hellcats debuted for 2015. This is why I thought Stellantis had zero business sense killing off such a vibrant cash cow.
Even if the Challenger and Charger continue on as claimed and so does the Hemi, all might not be well. There are a thousand ways Stellantis and/or Dodge could screw this up. One of the worst would be to make the Hemi models so incredibly expensive they’re no longer a means for non-wealthy individuals to access gobs of power. After all, affordability is one of the hallmarks of American muscle cars. Government regulation, with all the fleet fuel economy standards not to mention ever-tighten pollution targets, works against such a goal.
If the Hemi lives on, why wouldn’t the Hellcats? Again, I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but if this turns out to be true that means the future might not be so bleak after all.
The fact it’s been leaked the next-gen Mustang will still be packing Coyote V8 power might have something to do with this. Abandoning the whole market segment to the Blue Oval not only comes with financial losses but also plenty of embarrassment.
It’s still possible this is pure rumor and we’ll be disappointed to learn not only is the Hemi V8 doomed but the Challenger and Charger won’t live on. But I sure hope my prediction I made earlier this year is proven wrong.