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The Dodge Challenger's Days May Be Numbered: Report


When it comes to the current crop of pony cars, the Dodge Challenger is the largest of the three.

In fact, the current Challenger is so big that it’s an uncommon sight at high performance track days, unlike both the current Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro.

While the Challenger was always the biggest of the three, the current car’s size may prove to be its undoing.

Automakers will soon need to pay careful attention to fleet fuel economy, and offering both the plus-size Dodge Charger and the XXL Dodge Challenger may have too much of a negative impact on the brand’s CAFE average.

Motor Trend
is reporting that the Challenger may be on its way out, to be replaced by a new car called the Barracuda. The new Barracuda (again re-using a legendary Chrysler nameplate, previously from Plymouth) is said to be significantly smaller and lighter than the current Challenger, and won’t be built on the Charger’s LY platform.

As speculative as the report is, it makes sense that Chrysler would look to downsize the current Challenger and turn it from a grand-touring coupe into a legitimate sports car. Such a move would benefit Alfa Romeo, too, giving it a mid-size, rear-drive platform to work with.

If the rumors are correct, the new Barracuda would hit dealer showrooms for the 2014 model year. That’s also about when the next (50th anniversary) Mustang is due, and about when the next Camaro should makes its debut as well.

We like the Challenger well enough (especially in SRT8 trim), but would also welcome a legitimate, affordable sports coupe, slotted into Dodge's lineup below the new Viper. We’ll be sure to keep you posted if we get any updates on this particular rumor.
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Comments (17)
  1. well i didn't see that coming, it was a chunky car but it looks pretty good to me. i thought Dodge would at lease keep it alive and slim it down to compete against the Mustang n Camaro.
     
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  2. @Enzo, since the Challenger is built on a much larger platform than the Mustang or Camaro, scaling it down would require a major redesign. If you're starting with a blank sheet of paper, sometimes it's easier to start with a new (but familiar) name.
     
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  3. what about using the next generation of the Challenger as the opportunity to downsize it (or for want of a better saying) tighten it up; im sure that the designers can do that. And even if the platform is "x" in size it doesnt take much to modify the tooling to appply to a slightly smaller modified platofrm of the same style. The track can remain the same it is merely takign a foot in legnth off the wheelbase?
     
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  4. @WizardsLore, if I understand correctly the platform used by the Charger and Challenger dates back to Chrysler's Daimler days. In dog years, it would be dead.
     
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  5. @ Kurt, the plaform is only old if the mechanicals associated with it are also. if they have been upgraded with the times the platform can still be a winner and applied for future models
     
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  6. @WizardsLore, that's true only if the dies are updated to address wear. At the end of the third-generation Camaro's production run, worn dies led to inferior stampings and build quality issues. Even new cars often had more squeaks and rattles than a day-care center.
     
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  7. then Dodge arent doing their due diligence. quality control shoudl be there when releasing a new car. maybe its just the mentality of those buyers lookign for such a car that they dont car about whats going on in those plaxces that they cant see. But these days people want more. if Dodge can only deliver an inferior product then why arent they being questioned?
    oh and the day care comment hahaha
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  8. then Dodge arent doing their due diligence. quality control shoudl be there when releasing a new car. maybe its just the mentality of those buyers lookign for such a car that they dont car about whats going on in those plaxces that they cant see. But these days people want more. if Dodge can only deliver an inferior product then why arent they being questioned?
    oh and the day care comment hahaha
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  9. The pony car wars were fine and good back when handling was not a concern. Now that the Europeans have shown us how a proper sports car should handle with more responsive smaller higher revving engines is there really a market for a crude big block dropped in a cheaply built car? Just seems we could be doing more than the same old and up the ante since it's not 1969 anymore.
     
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  10. @Chuck, there's a place for both. I like carrying speed into a corner as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just get the urge to lay down a righteous burnout.

    Besides, have you driven a Mustang Boss 302 with the Laguna Seca package? It handles better than anything with a live axle should.
     
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  11. @ Kurt, that same set up on the Mustang is carried over from the Australian designed Falcon sedan. one of the easiest big cars you can drive here in Australia. They recently got govt funding to the tune of $200 mil to continue building them locally meaning the Taurus thank goodness isnt coming !
     
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  12. @ Kurt, that same set up on the Mustang is carried over from the Australian designed Falcon sedan. one of the easiest big cars you can drive here in Australia. They recently got govt funding to the tune of $200 mil to continue building them locally meaning the Taurus thank goodness isnt coming !
     
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  13. @WizardsLore, the new Taurus isn't a bad car, but it certainly wouldn't offer the same entertainment value (even in SHO trim) as your Falcon.
     
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  14. exactly. Which still makes me wonder why it is never imported by Ford HQ and sold in the states. you guys are screaming out for a big family car that is still fuun to drive and the Falcon in its many guises is actually quite enjoyable to dirve. Me personally i prefer Toyotas for my every day drives but the Commodore and Falcon should be sold in the US (next gen at least) and you will see the sales continue !
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  15. exactly. Which still makes me wonder why it is never imported by Ford HQ and sold in the states. you guys are screaming out for a big family car that is still fuun to drive and the Falcon in its many guises is actually quite enjoyable to dirve. Me personally i prefer Toyotas for my every day drives but the Commodore and Falcon should be sold in the US (next gen at least) and you will see the sales continue !
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  16. You know what? I understand. I love the Challenger, love the way it looks...I think it successfully captures the original vibe and pairs it with what we want for today's drivers. However, it is huge and heavy. I wouldn't want Dodge to do away with the 300. Would love to see a Barracuda, but not if it's going to look like the new Dart. Can't they continue to bring the retro look and feel to a smaller platform without making it look like a European sports car? If buyers want a European sports car, that's what they should buy. Designers and engineers hopefully can create a happy cross section of American muscle styling and European science to produce a vehicle that will satisfy.
     
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  17. @GoldenGirl, I'm with you on this. I'd hate to see the big sedans go away, but also want a legitimate, rear-drive sports car (more attainable than the Viper) from Chrysler.

    I think that's the long-term plan for Alfa Romeo, but it will be a few years before they have product to offer.
     
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