Dodge Challenger concept set for Detroit Auto Show
Posted Jul 20, 2005, 3:00 PM ET by John Neff
Related entries: Concept Cars, Coupes, Sports/GTs
A related post on the CHALLENGER Artwork —> Eye Candy for us Mopar fans
The August issue of Road & Track has a tiny blurb about the possibility of Chrysler resurrecting the Challenger using the LX platform currently dedicated to the 300/Magnum/Charger trio. A concept is reportedly currently in the works for a debut at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show. The coupe would theoretically be easy to design and build and could be, if priced correctly, the first real competition for Ford’s new Mustang. R&T does point out, however, that the plant building the current crop of LX cars is at full production, so adding another model to the assembly line might be difficult.
I wasn’t too sure about the copyright laws concerning the artist’s rendering of the Challenger in R&T, so rather than reproduce it here and get sued I pulled a photoshop job by Doug Schramm off of Autospies instead. I actually like this rendering better than R&T’s, even though it’s oozing retro from every orifice.
What Edmunds.com Says: Dodge, no doubt taken aback by the overwhelming success of the 2006 Ford Mustang, apparently sees fit to repeat history and resurrect the Challenger nameplate to once again pursue its arch rival.
What We Know: The Dodge Challenger will once again see the light of day some 35 years after it initially went out of production. The Challenger was originally built in 1970-’74 in order to compete with the highly successful Ford Mustang. Now that Ford’s sport coupe has once again slipped into the limelight thanks to an invigorating redesign, Dodge will be calling upon the Challenger a second time to siphon market share away from the Mustang. Much like the original version of the vehicle, the 2009 Dodge Challenger will remain a two-door sport coupe and will most likely feature a Hemi V8 in at least some configurations. The car will share the LX platform with other recent Chrysler Group stalwarts such as the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum and Dodge Charger. Given its similarities to these models, the 2009 Challenger will likely be built alongside them at the Chrysler Group plant in Brampton, Ontario, in quantities of roughly 60-70,000 vehicles a year.
New Dodge Challenger
By G. Chambers Williams III
Special to the Star-Telegram
Everyone in the auto industry looks with awe at Chrysler these days, thanks to big hits the U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler group has scored with cars during the past half-decade – all while maintaining a strong presence in the truck market.
It started, of course, with the PT Cruiser in 2000, that retro-styled mini-SUV/wagon that was the first of Chrysler’s gotta-have cars.
More recently we got the Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon, and now the new Dodge Charger – a sedan version of the Magnum and a sister to the 300 – is available at dealerships.
But that’s not all. This company that at least twice in the past three decades was almost given up for dead has more surprises on the way, not only in the Chrysler and Dodge lineups, but also in its Jeep brand.
As an adjunct to the release of the revived Charger, Chrysler also plans to bring out a new Dodge Challenger, the industry weekly Automotive News and other industry sources have reported.
“Watch out, Ford Mustang. Dodge is preparing a challenger,” read the lead of the Automotive News article. “In fact, it’s likely to be called Challenger.”
There has been no official – or unofficial – announcement from Chrysler, but Automotive News usually gets these things right.
Chrysler spokesman Scott Brown gave the standard answer from automakers when queried about plans for a vehicle not yet acknowledged by the company:
“Our official comment, of course, is that we don’t comment about future products,” he said.
I told him I just had to ask, even though I knew what his answer would be. Likewise, other Chrysler executives and spokesmen also declined to discuss the plans, if any, for a new Challenger.
But with the arrival of the new Charger, this is a good time to talk about a Challenger, one of the most revered names from the Charger muscle-car era of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
At the recent national Dodge Charger meet in South Texas, I discussed Chrysler’s plans for a new Challenger with the folks who had dozens of the original Chargers and Challengers in their home garages, and on display at the event.
While these folks as a group are disappointed that the new Charger is a modern four-door sedan rather than a coupe (like the original) with retro styling (like the new Mustangs), most said they would be interested in a new Challenger coupe.
The new Challenger apparently will be a two-door model in the same vein as the ones from the ‘70s. The car was built from 1970-74, and was similar in concept to the Mustang.
“Chrysler plans to resurrect a respected name from the pony car era for a rear-wheel-drive Mustang fighter, industry sources say,” the Automotive News story read. “The car is expected in 2009 on the LX platform, the basis of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum and Charger.”
The timetable seems to stretch the project out a bit longer than I would have expected. To capitalize on the current excitement over the 300, Magnum and ‘06 Charger, I would have expected to see this new Challenger within a year, maybe two at the most.
But since the LX platform that holds the 300, Magnum and Challenger already has been out for a couple of years, and Chrysler already is working on a major update for it, the company will wait until the next generation of these cars debuts for 2009 to bring out the new Challenger. Product cycles for cars are about five years these days.
It would be nice to have the Challenger sooner, but then Chrysler would have to update it for 2009, and that would not be cost-efficient.
It does make sense to expand use of the LX platform, especially with yet another retro-type car, even if the new vehicle is retro in name only, like the Charger. Retro sells these days as baby boomers look to recapture some of their lost youth – just look at the runaway success of the all-new Mustang for 2005, which looks a lot like the late ‘60s models.
And the new Challenger just might silence the critics of the four-door configuration of the Charger. They’ll get their two-door model; it just won’t be a Charger, it will be a Challenger.
“It is a two-door, essentially a competitor for the Mustang,” Catherine Madden, a production analyst for industry research group Global Insight, told Automotive News. “They are really excited about it.”
She added, “The enthusiasm for that product is very big.”
Chrysler hopes to sell 60,000 to 70,000 of the cars a year, Madden told the magazine, which said that an assembly site has not yet been identified. Chrysler builds the 300, Magnum and Charger at its Brampton, Ontario, plant, and unless the company expands production of those cars to other plants, one would assume the Challenger would be built there if the plant has sufficient capacity.
The sales goals aren’t quite Mustang-high. Ford will sell nearly 200,000 of its new Mustangs this year. Dealers report that they have waiting lists for the most-popular models and that customers are paying sticker prices. No discounts or rebates are needed yet.