The Dodge Challenger and Charger are old school cars, both figuratively and literally. Sitting on a platform dating back to 2008, there were once rumors that the brand was planning to move the cars to the platform that underlies the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Now Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has explained why the move was never made.
Speaking on Autoline After Hours, the CEO explained that while Alfa Romeo’s “Giorgio” platform is great – and reviews of the Giulia tend to agree with that assessment – it just didn’t make sense for Dodge to spend all that money to build it. more like its closest competition.
The decision, Kuniskis said, came in 2014, when FCA (as it was then known) had an investor presentation and had to commit to a direction for the future. The company had been experimenting with both updating the cars’ current platform and moving it to Giorgio.
Why only build a better car to compete with the Camaro and Mustang?
“On the Giorgio platform, we would have ended up with a car that, frankly, would have been lighter, driven better, it would have done a lot of the things that people said we were sort of a laggard. “But we looked at it and said, ‘We can do that, but if we do that, we’re going to be fighting the Mustang and the Camaro.’ And frankly, those are great cars. They are fantastic cars. Why would we want to fight them? their sandbox?” he added. “Let’s stay in our sandbox and be completely different from them, go left when they go right and try to own this space.”
The company therefore decided not to work with Giorgio. According to former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, speaking in 2018, it was then decided to make a “significant upgrade of the current architecture”.
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At the same time that decision was made, the cars received visual updates. However, those changes were not distributed evenly. While the updated Challenger was broadly similar to the model it replaced, the Charger was significantly improved by comparison.
“It’s really hard — I mean, it’s really hard — to change the Challenger silhouette and come up with something better,” Kuniskis said. “So yeah, we did some modifications, we went from a ’70 to a ’71, and we changed some hoods, and we changed some wheels, and we did the wide body, and we did those things , but for the silhouette of the car, we would have spent money to spend the money.”
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However, for the Charger, Kuniskis said there was more leeway to update the car and keep its silhouette.
“If you look at the 2014 and the 2015, they’re actually quite a bit different,” he explained. “If you put them side by side, the 15 looks significantly lighter, significantly smaller. It’s not, but it looks tighter, smaller, a little more athletic.”
But even with those changes, he described both updates as evolutionary rather than revolutionary. That wasn’t the only direction being considered, however, and the company had been experimenting with bolder designs.
“We had one that was revolutionary and we actually showed it to dealers, and in the end we didn’t move forward with it because, again, it would take money to spend the money,” he said. “It wouldn’t move the needle.”
Now, after more than a decade in action, the Charger and Challenger will finally give up the ghost in their current form, but not before being celebrated. Dodge has announced that six of its seven special editions are saying goodbye to the popular muscle cars. However, the company promises that their spirit will live on in the electric age. That future was preceded by the Charger Daytona SRT EV concept.