Dodge will end production of Charger and Challenger in 2023
- Dodge will end current production of the Charger and Challenger at the end of 2023, the final model year for both cars.
- Dodge will release seven special editions to honor its two beloved muscle machines, which will be revealed later.
- A Challenger convertible – available this year and next – will be built by Drop Top Customs, adding $25,999 to the price.
The Dodge Charger and Challenger have flexed their modern muscles through the years of DaimlerChrysler, Cerberus, Fiat and, now, Stellantis, but the party is coming to an end. Dodge will cease production of the two popular muscle cars at the end of 2023, but not without a proper dispatch. Special packages are set to celebrate what these cars mean to a sea of power-loving fans, and Dodge’s Direct Connection team will be joining a long list of supporting spares.
Their departures were widely expected, but not because of tank sales. Among the big American muscle cars, the Charger was No. 1 in sales in the first six months, with a more than respectable number of 38,459 deliveries, followed by the Ford Mustang (26,244), the Challenger (25,682) and the Chevrolet Camaro (11,255), according to data from Wards Intelligence. But the segment as a whole is down about 20% from the same time last year, and gas-guzzling sports cars are struggling to find their footing in a future paved with electrification. The departure would leave only the Durango SUV in the Dodge stable, until the arrival of a battery-electric muscle car, scheduled for 2024.
While the latest edition Challengers and Chargers have yet to be revealed, Dodge says seven of them will hit dealer lots. Six of these starter models will pay homage to previous Dodges, with the seventh model apparently the “last of its kind” according to Dodge and making its public debut at this year’s SEMA show. All of these special models will be shipped to Dodge dealerships and easily purchased by potential customers through a Dodge website.
These special editions get the most attention from Dodge, but the company isn’t ignoring the standard production models. Every Charger and Challenger that rolls out of Brampton, Ont., will leave with a ceremonial “Last Call” plaque under the hood. This plaque will feature the vehicle’s silhouette alongside “Designed in Auburn Hills” and “Built in Brampton.” This aluminum tag may seem silly now, but could add value at high-level auctions decades from now.
Dodge is also opening up its Jailbreak program even further, which has given Challenger and Charger customers more leeway when ordering their muscle machine and allowed them to mix and match features and options that might not be generally available. Jailbreak was limited to Hellcat Redeye Widebody variants only, but Dodge is making the program available for more affordable Hellcat models for 2023.
But there’s more to Dodge’s phasing out of its most popular nameplates. The Dodge and Direct Connection team roams the Challenger body shop making bodies in white available to customers. Targeting racing enthusiasts, this Challenger body can be molded into just about anything your heart or wallet desires, for a surprisingly affordable $7,995. If you want a more serious hull, Dodge also offers its rolling Drag Pak chassis. Equipped with an NHRA-certified 7.5-second roll cage, this Drag Pak chassis is a powertrain far from a drag strip killer. Considering the hardware fitted, its price of $89,999 is considerably more expensive than the bare shell.
Dodge is also working with SpeedKore to offer carbon fiber parts through the Direct Connection catalog. These parts are designed to meet Dodge’s requirements for fit and finish while reducing weight. The Direct Connection catalog will see more performance parts targeting the soon-to-be-gone Challenger and Charger.
To complete the shipments, Dodge is ultimately offering a convertible Challenger. Although the company does not manufacture the convertible in-house, the automaker is partnering with the Florida-based company Open roof customs to do the job. But the buying process won’t change: customers will place an order, the car will go to Drop Top Customs for conversion, and then the car will show up at the dealership. Now that conversion adds $25,999 to the price, but Dodge notes that the final price is actually dealer-driven. These convertible Challengers are actually available for 2022 and 2023 models, meaning you can nab one before the Challenger’s final call.
Dodge’s first muscle machines seem to be going away with a celebration of car heritage. Adding a convertible to the mix and including a fleet of specially curated Final Editions is a fitting nod to the company’s past and a smart move to embrace the performance heritage of the company. ‘company. We’re still curious to see what will replace those two Dodge staples. Considering Dodge’s battery-electric muscle car is slated for 2024, there might not be too big of a gap between internal-combustion muscle and a battery-electric murderer.
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