Dodge’s Gasoline-Powered Muscle Cars Are Truly Dead
For a fleeting moment, it seemed that Dodge’s Hemi-powered coupe and sedan might live on through the beginning of the “eMuscle” era after all. A story published late last week by Motor Trend cited anonymous sources claiming that Dodge planned to deliver a next-generation Charger and Challenger on a new internal-combustion, rear-wheel-drive platform with space for a V8, perhaps after the existing models rode into the sunset in 2024. That isn’t happening, and we know because Dodge just said so.
Whatever follows Dodge’s current enthusiast offerings will be exclusively battery-electric, one of the company’s spokespeople has confirmed to Motor1:
“The [Motor Trend] story is incorrect,” said the spokesperson. “The Hemi in that platform, as well as that platform, are going away. The next generation will be BEV.”
In this case, the “platform” the spokesperson is referring to is actually two: the LD for the Charger and LA for the Challenger. Both are heavily derived from the Bush-administration LX, introduced in 2006 alongside the Charger, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum. (Oh, the Magnum. Never forget the wagon they took from us.)
Anyway, Dodge’s rejection of that too-good-to-be-true report certainly tracks, because brand CEO Tim Kuniskis already told Motor Trend last November that “these cars that you know today will go out of production by the time we get to 2024.” Kuniskis related this without any mention of an ICE successor to the existing duo, powered by either V8s or Stellantis’ new Hurricane turbocharged inline six. It was pretty clear that Dodge’s first all-electric muscle car, also planned for 2024, will inherit all of the attention that previously belonged to the Charger and Challenger.
Speaking of, where is that mythical EV, exactly? In that November interview, Kuniskis told Motor Trend that we’d get to see a fully operational prototype of the vehicle no later than the second quarter of 2022. We’re now in the third. Something held it back — something “outside [the] industry” — and the CEO admitted that in April to Muscle Cars & Trucks:
“TBD… we argue about (the reveal timeline of the electric Dodge muscle car concept) a lot,” said Kuniskis. “I’m pushing really really hard to get this thing out and into public view, and show you what we’re doing and how we’re doing it different as fast as I can. It drives me crazy that other people are way out in front of their headlights and I’m not.”
Tim also hinted that there’s another component to the vehicle’s reveal that needs to get in sync, but didn’t fully elaborate what that was.
“There’s one really important piece that goes with (the reveal) that’s outside of my control, and it’s outside our industry quite frankly, that I want the two to be together when I show you this car. And I don’t want to do it disjointed,” he said. “When that pieces comes together we’ll decide when we’re gonna show it. It will be sooner rather than later. My hope is that you’ll see this car well before we get to that Speed Week, so well before we get to August is my hope.”
Speed Week is a string of Dodge-themed events in Pontiac, Michigan. The brand has scheduled three days of reveals between Monday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 17. One of those is sure to be the new Hornet crossover, based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Another — a nameless “future muscle car” — sounds a lot like that long-awaited Charger/Challenger sequel. Whatever you’re expecting, just don’t expect a Hemi.