Why Dodge is discontinuing its best-selling Challenger and Charger Muscle Cars?

Red Challenger and White Charger

Is the American automaker really killing its V8-powered cars at their peak?

By the time 2023 comes to an end, cleverness will have officially dropped the gas-powered Challenger and Charger from its lineup. Dodge made the announcement at a critical time in the industry as automakers begin producing more models powered by electrified powertrains.

What enthusiasts are now grappling with is a possible reality where Dodge — a brand long synonymous with American (and traditionally ICE-powered) muscle cars — could transition its lineup to a hybrid and electric powertrain model. With the Dodge Challenger overtaking the Ford Mustang as the best-selling muscle car in the U.S. in 2021, many want to know why Dodge is canceling its muscle cars at the peak of their potential.

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Why is Dodge stopping the Challenger and Charger?

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis hinted at the end of the brand’s internal combustion back in December 2021 during an interview with the Motor Authority. Shortly thereafter, the American automaker integrated its Street & Racing Technology (SRT) division into its global engineering team. This caused panic among the company’s fans, with many fearing the end of Dodge’s performance line.

Not long after, Kuniskis tried to allay fans’ concerns in an interview with Autoweek. He insisted that Stellantis, Dodge’s parent company, dissolved SRT. not. In addition, he supported the idea that an electric Dodge future was fast approaching.

Finally, Dodge confirmed 2023 would see the last Challenger and Charger models in their current ICE-powered iterations. Appropriately, the automaker bids farewell to the beloved muscle cars with a fitting tribute: “Last Call” plates under the hoods.

This series of events has raised many questions among enthusiasts. Why is Dodge getting rid of the Challenger and Charger? Why does it move away from internal combustion? The reason becomes clearer when we look at Greenpeace East Asia’s November 2021 report.

According to her analysis Greenpac ranked Stellantis second to last (after Toyota) in its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Even before that report, Stellantis indicated it would erect the ship by July 2021 with eight battery electric vehicles coming and an aggressive push toward advancements in solid-state batteries.

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What will replace the Dodge Challenger and charger?

Last year, Dodge teased its first all-electric muscle car at Stellantis’ EV Day. Just over a year later, Dodge officially unveiled its forthcoming concept — dubbed the Charger Daytona SRT — to give a preview of its ostensibly V8-less future. In an effort to retain loyal fans, the Charger Daytona SRT will inherit some of the traits that make American muscle cars so appealing. There’s an aerodynamic front wing (dubbed the “R-Wing”) that pays tribute to the original Charger Daytona and an industry-first BEV exhaust to rival the SRT Hellcat.

While the concept offers a path the automaker could take to fill the void left by the Challenger and Charger, Dodge has yet to confirm whether they will get the right successors. What we do know for sure is that the 2023 Dodge Challenger and 2023 Dodge Charger models are the last chance for enthusiasts to own these beloved muscle cars.