Pontiac — It’s official: Dodge will end production of the Challenger and Charger in their current form in December 2023, ahead of the launch of its all-electric muscle car in 2024.
To assist customers who want one of the gas-powered vehicles with a “Last Call” plate under the hood, the Stellantis NV performance brand will post on its website in October the details of where vehicles will be allocated for the last year of production and how many each dealer receives for the remainder of the run. The inventory of unsold vehicles will be updated weekly, said Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. Prices for the 2023 model year are yet to be shared.
The confirmation is part of the first of a three-day series of announcements and will be unveiled at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac during what Dodge has dubbed “Speed Week” between last weekend’s Roadkill Nights street drag race event and the Woodward Dream Cruise on Saturday.
As the latest installment, Dodge will unveil seven 2023 special edition muscle car models in the coming weeks that will go to top dealers like a “sneaker drop,” Kuniskis said. The performance brand is also bringing back the Durango Hellcat for 2023, introducing a slew of new Direct Connection parts and partnering with a custom shop for customers to get a Challenger convertible.
“Day one is all of our current cars, all about how much more we can get in and out of our current cars before they go out of production,” Kuniskis said. “We want to make sure we celebrate these cars in the right way.”
Six of the special edition vehicles for the outgoing muscle cars will pay tribute to Dodge vehicles of the past, and a seventh will be the final special edition shown at the 2022 SEMA Show November 1-4 in Las Vegas . The license plate, “1FAST29,” is a hint, Kuniskis said.
“It makes history,” he said. “And that’s the one that’s going to make Brampton really proud,” added Kuniskis, referring to the Ontario plant where the Challenger and Charger are built.
Customers cannot order these versions. Dodge will manufacture and deliver the vehicles to dealers as additional inventory, which will also be updated on Dodge’s website.
Tracking the details of prices, inventory and builds is a lot, Kuniskis said, but it’s an effort to be transparent: “That way every customer knows, ‘I know where to go to get a car. an order.’ You’ll have to move fast, because we’re going to count down. This guy gets 15, then he gets 10, then he gets zero.”
The effort comes amid a series of supply chain disruptions in the automotive industry, most notably a shortage of semiconductors that could last through 2024. The Dodge team says it is working to ensure it has confidence in its microchip facility to deliver the vehicles it says it will allocate to its dealers.
The regular Durango will continue to be produced after 2023 at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Kuniskis said. The Brampton assembly plant outside of Toronto has built more than three million Challengers and Chargers since 2005, totaling about 1 billion horsepower, the company said. Last year, the Challenger was the best-selling muscle car in the United States.
“I’m amazed they last so long,” said Sam Abuelsamid, chief e-mobility analyst at market research firm Guidehouse Inc., noting that the vehicle platform’s origins date back to the days of DaimlerChrysler. “It tells you how good a platform is to start with. Dodge has done a remarkable job of keeping them fresh and attractive. If you look at where the market is going, there is no future for those vehicles. With fuel economy and emissions standards the Hellcat always lived on borrowed time.”
Dodge’s efforts are a careful rendition not often seen in the industry, said Stephanie Brinley, chief auto analyst for S&P Global Mobility: “When a vehicle goes out of production, it’s usually because it’s no longer popular. It’s something.” what you don’t do’ I want to celebrate.
“In this case, change is happening and the brand is moving in a different direction. You have a legendary muscle car with enthusiasts, people who are passionate about it.”
Stellantis has already said it will convert Brampton to an electrified platform from 2024, with production to resume in 2025 as part of a $2.8 billion investment in its Ontario operations. Stellantis has not said where the electric muscle car will be built, although industry forecasters predict it could head to the Belvidere assembly plant in Illinois, where the Jeep Cherokee crossover is currently being built.
The Last Call commemorations will indicate that the vehicles were designed in Auburn Hills and made in Brampton.
The 2023 lineup also includes the 717 horsepower two-door Challenger and four-door Charger SRT Jailbreak models and the return of the Durango SRT Hellcat. Dodge previously offered the limited-production 710-horsepower V8-powered SUV for model year 2021, due to the platform’s evaporative emissions limitation. Micky Bly, head of global propulsion systems for Stellantis, says an engine calibration adjustment has solved the problem, allowing the automaker to bring the offering back by popular demand from September.
“One good thing that came out of COVID, if there was something good,” Kuniskis said, “is that the supply chain disruption gave some people more time to get creative and think about things.”
Dodge is also partnering with Drop Top Customs to offer a Challenger convertible for $25,999. The company will ship the vehicle from Bampton to the Florida-based customization store and work with dealers to deliver it to buyers. Orders open Tuesday.
For those more interested in building their own drag car, Dodge also offers an $89,999 Challenger Mopar Drag Pak Rolling Chassis without an engine or transmission through the Direct Connection program. Customers can also purchase a Challenger body-in-white kit for $7,995.
Direct Connection also partnered with Wisconsin’s SpeedKore Performance Group for carbon fiber body panels on the modern Challenger. Future carbon fiber bodies licensed directly through Finale Speed will include the 1970 Dodge Charger, as well as the Plymouth Barracuda and Road Runner.
Tuner kits and Scat Pak transmissions will also be available. Customers can order Direct Connection parts through Dodge Power Brokers dealers and online. More details on the offer will come on SEMA.
For 2023, Dodge will also make the historic exterior colors B5 Blue, Plum Crazy purple and Sublime green available, as well as the modern Destroyer Grey.