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The End of the Dodge Challenger is Near

At Detroit Auto Show Dodge Declares the Challenger’s Run Soon Over

Dodge has plans in place to end the Challenger’s production run in 2014 and replace their pony car with a smaller, more CAFE friendly Barracuda.

If Dodge has one thing at their disposal it’s a cadre of legendary Chrysler nameplates at their disposal, and the name Baracuda is just another one of them. The Dodge Challenger, while beautiful and impressive (and very able to hold its own, performance-wise, especially in SRT8 form) is heavy. Very heavy, in fact, and that weight has hurt the Challenger’s sales as well as its market image.

This weight issue has made the current Challenger an uncommon sight at track days around the nation where its closest competitors–the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro–can be found in droves, and it’s this weight issue that will ultimately lead to the Challenger’s demise.

CAFE restrictions have become rough, and Dodge as a brand is having trouble keeping its numbers where they need to be in relation to CAFE averages and standards. The weighty Challenger, and its weighty brother the Charger, don’t help with this either. For this reason, the move to a lighter–and, as result, more fuel friendly–alternative seemed like a given.

Thus enters the Dodge Barracuda. Thus far, little is known about the Barracuda. What Dodge has said is that the vehicle will not be built on the Challenger’s LY Platform, and, according to rumors will be constructed on the same rear-wheel drive platform as the Hyundai Genesis coupe. This platform, whether it or another one is used, will guaranteed be shorter, thinner, and much lighter than the Challenger LY one.

These moves should ultimately take the Challenger, through means of downsizing, from a Grand-Touring Coupe as it is currently built to a more legitimate, light-weight and high-performing sports car–the likes of which, outside of the Viper, Dodge hasn’t produced in decades. Also, this move makes sense in conjunction with the Alfa Romeo co-ownership of Dodge now, as either purchasing the rights to the Genesis platform or producing an entirely new one would provide Alfa Romeo with an affordable, lightweight, RWD platform that could be utilized for a more entry-level sports vehicle in their very successful European market–maybe something to battle with the BMW 1M and other vehicles of that nature?

Ultimately, Dodge has this new Barracuda slated for release in the 2014 model year–which means that we should begin seeing concept versions of it in the upcoming months. This 2014 date would mean that the entire life-span of the Challenger, launched in this iteration in 2008, would be just over five years. The 2014 date also puts the Barracuda in line to compete with the revamped 50th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang set for release that same year, and the next generation Chevrolet Camaro that’s scheduled for release in the 2015 model year.

24 Comments

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  1. Bullshit and blatant lies.

    1. Wish it were so, but I’m not the only one reporting on it. Motor Trend, Motor Authority, Jalopnik, and MSN Autos have all reported the same news in the last week. It’s a sad day, for certain, and I can understand getting upset about it.

  2. The wight hurt Challenger sales? I own a R/T and the weight doesn’t seem to hurt the performance. Unless you don’t actually own one and that was just your theory.

    Actual reason for suffering Challenger sales. Mustang and Camaro are being whored out big time. You can get either with 0% APR or even cash back. Plus their after market is considerably cheaper.

    You have better color selections (slightly) with the ‘Stang and Camaro. As well as an available convertible version.

    You don’t have a convertible Chally yet. (nor will we ever from the factory…)

    Plus, you have to be awesome to own a V8 Challenger. While you only have to be a girly girl to own a Mustang and a have a massive receding hairline to own the Camaro.

    1. You’re right about the Mustang and Camaro being whored out, but that’s also result of their higher sales numbers. As for the weight changing performance on the Challenger, trust me, I love the vehicle and I hate to say it, but it does. The car needs to lose some weight, and it’s evident when looking at track times in comparison to its competition. It has as much HP and continually posts lower times.
      It’s a better car, that’s better built and has a nicer interior–and definitely looks a LOT better than the Mustang and Camaro–but it’s also a bit of a fatty, and has track times that suffer by comparison as result of that.

      1. And yes, I do own a 2010 Challenger SRT8. I’d never own a different muscle car, the thing’s just too damn beautiful.

        Also, the lack of a convertible is definitely a factor here as well, but not the only reason. The Camaro sold astronomically well before the introduction of the convertible.

  3. All this talk about the weight making it not competitive… how many people only bought the Challenger to track it? How many people bought it simply because it looked hot and has tons of power? I can’t imagine that more than 50% of the demograph that bought the Challenger is doing quarter miles and stock racing with it. Those who are doing it have the option to get the drag pack. Pay to play though… get the right tool for the job, and it’s 1000 pounds lighter FOR RACING.

    This “the car is too heavy” is bullshit. I get 24 mpg with my 2010 R/T and it’s not being raced. When I do want the power, I have over 400 hp (a few mods, I’ll admit) and it leaves little to desire.

    There’s something charming about it being out of the reach of the rat-rods and 20 year olds that are into the ricer/mod scene that gives it a pristege and sense of being proud to own it. It’s fairly unique. And I’m damn proud to own one.

  4. This sucks!!!!!!!, I just bought one of these things as soon as they cease production on the Challenger its resale value is going to go straight to hell. I love my car I really do but now Im dreading the fire sale that will go on and ultimately make my RT worthless on the marketplace. Yes the challenger is to heavy and far to big to be a true sports car but I bought mine because its essentially an american grand tourer with great styling and performance to match. Going to a smaller platform makes sense to give the chrysler group a true sports car to better compete in this segment but it still sucks for me as a consumer. Its far more exclusive than a camaro or mustang but I have to say them ending production on this car in only 1 more year will is a slap in the face to anyone who bought one because they are now officially worthless on the resale market……

    1. While you’re right to a degree that value will drop immediately, if you’re worried about resale and can hold on to your Challenger for a few years post production ending, you’ll actually see your value hold better as result of the exclusivity of the vehicle based on lower production numbers. We’ve seen it time and time again in the market, and I expect it to be true with a car as gorgeous and as coveted as the Challenger again, that desire to own won’t go down and a lot of people will ultimately rather pay a premium on the older model to be able to have one as opposed to a smaller, more general-purpose new one.

    2. the resale value is not going down. this car is a classic in it’s own right.

  5. I am glad to see people passionate about the Challenger. I must admit I was upset to learn that the 2012 Challenger I just bought might be obsolete in a couple of years. I have said it before out of the three reborn muscle cars only the Challenger looks like the modern day version of the original.

    We may all belong to a small select club of proud Challenger owners. Got to be honest…I like it that way 🙂

    1. Yeah, and I think that same degree of exclusivity the Challenger has will only be bolstered by the end of its production run. I imagine there will be a bit of a push in the years that follow the model’s end of consumers looking to purchase one and prepared to pay a bit of a premium on it as result of the smaller number of available models. I also fully expect this iteration of the Challenger to be a true collector’s vehicle a couple decades from now.

      1. absoutely. buy another one now and store it away like you wished you had done with the original Challenger.

  6. If 2014 is the last production year. Does anyone think that they would put an 8 speed in the last year V6? I spoke to someone (as close to the source as you can get) and he said they are not putting it in the 2013. He said they are instead putting it in the vehicles that need it most. One would think since they were able to mate that motor and transmission in the Charger that they would do it to the Challenger. Is it a space thing? He mentioned the trunk space but I couldnt figure out for the life of me how that would matter.

    It looks like no major tweaks for the 2013 I just dont see why they would do anything in the 2014 if it were the last year. Point is I would totally wait till 2014 if they would as here in Cali gas just went up 50cents in the last month.

    1. It’s possible they’d mate the 2014 V6 with the 8-Speed, but, I can’t say for certain one way or the other. It seems possible–they have the work and mating in place already and are bringing it to some Challenger models–but also, considering it will be the vehicle’s last year, maybe unlikely they’d do large changes of that nature?

      1. well, it’s 2013 and the 8 speed ain’t here. I thought long and hard about the 6 sp. manual RT vs. the pentastar v6 and the v6 won out. it’s plenty fast enough for me. that and the budget numbers considering insurance costs were just too much in it’s favor. I was able to drive the charger with the 8 speed and it is a better driving transmission.

  7. I’m stoked. Of course, in the short term the values will drop. . .and by drop I mean you won’t be able to give em away and anyone trying to trade / sell a used one over the next few years will lose big time. However, history dictates that in the future, these cars will be highly desirable. Now, if yours is a daily driver, this isn’t really applicable to you . . .just drive and enjoy .. . you don’t see 70 Challengers going through Mecum or BarettJackson with 150,000 miles and faded paint. But . . . If you’re the type that babies your car and the miles stay resonable, I would imagine that there will come a day that the car will be worth a pretty penny. regardless, most people realize that buying a car as a true investment is just plain stupid. You would always make out better in the long run investing. However, as long as you keep things in perspective, it’s nice to have one in the garage. Fast cars . .especially the Chally makes for one of hell of a grin . . .ear to ear!

    1. Yeah, for the collector type who keeps their vehicle at showcar quality, this means great things for the vehicle’s value down the line–especially those with 392 SRT-8s. And you’re absolutely right, regardless of your stance as a collector or just a fan, don’t let the news get you down because you’ve still got a Challenger and there are few things on this planet as grin-inducing.

  8. I visited a Dodge dealer ( Ed Thomko ) in the Cleveland, Ohio area last week. The sales person told me that 2012 is the last model year for the Challenger. He indicated that, at this point, no special customer orders could be taken, and that they had a final dealer order in for (50) Challangers.

  9. YES flushing the current model challenger would create a mind blowing demand for this current retro model
    since the resale value would stay high and the new 2014 CUDA shoull follow the same strategy and be a big hit especially if they make a convertible option!

  10. Well, that dealer was wrong, I bought a 2013 a week ago. They may disappear, but are an American Icon and think the value will hold up.

  11. i bought a 2013 challenger and i sooooo hope they don’t have a 2014 coming out! we who own the challengers for the 5 years or so while produced will in some time see these beautiful (even if they are bigger) well built performance beauties go up – not down in value. just like with vintage vehicles now, if there wasn’t a mass produced then the rarer they will be in the not too distant future. i’m keeping mine and wish that 2013 is the last year for them as we know now!

  12. I own a 2009 srt8. Absolutely love it and will not part. If production stops and with much smaller production runs than Stang and Camaro will value of challenger go up? Dream car

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