Stellantis plans a profitable farewell to combustion muscle cars

Dodge will offer seven “legacy-influenced” low-volume versions of the Charger and Challenger at select dealerships – previewing them undercover at events starting Monday in a throwback to marketing tactics that were old when current executives of the brand were beginning their careers.

The final set of current Dodge muscle cars will be awarded to dealers all at once, chief brand officer Tim Kuniskis told reporters. Customers will be able to see which dealerships will get the car they want.

With their retro styling and six- and eight-cylinder gasoline engines, the Challenger and Charger are throwbacks to the Detroit muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s. And like their ancestors, today’s Dodge muscle cars are being driven off the road by regulations to reduce pollution.

Stellantis ranked last among major U.S. automakers in company average fuel economy in 2021, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Earlier this year, US regulators announced they would increase penalties for failing to meet CO2 emissions targets, a move that could cost Stellantis up to $572 million.

Dodge brand executives are betting that customers will see the last of today’s Chargers and Challengers as collectible vehicles worth buying.

“What I don’t want is for a customer who wants one to order ten,” Kuniskis said.

Stellantis said that starting in 2024, it will spend $2.8 billion to refit Brampton, Ontario. factory that builds the Charger and Challenger to assemble vehicles that “support the company’s electrification plans.”

(Reporting by Joe White; Editing by Josie Kao)

By Joseph White

Kevin A. Perras