Dodge Challenger concept set for Detroit Auto Show

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 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.


29 Responses to “Dodge Challenger concept set for Detroit Auto Show”

  1. Brian Flanagan Says:

    Now thats how a modern version of the challenger should look like. They should have done that with the charger. The challenger even has the right number of doors!

  2. webmaster Says:

    I agree 100%, wish my SRT-4 was a 2 door!

  3. Rick Says:

    Challenger is good. HEMI CUDA is better.Even with Plymouth retired. HEMI CUDA could totally stand on its own.Chrysler Dodge Whatever.

  4. D.G. Rodkey Says:

    I waited for three years for the new Charger, I was expecting th one chrysler had been showing NOT the Magnum sedan they are marketing as a Charger. I bought the Magnum. Now I am in line for the Challenger IF it is built as the picture/rendition currently shows. I want a 2door Hemi car that actually RESEMBLES it’s namesake !!! If it is a FLOP like the Charger I might stoop low enough to buy the Mustang, atleast Ford will have done it RIGHT ! They need to remember that “baby boomers” were into the REAL MUCSCLE cars in the 60’s and 70’s ! Not the Japanese or European copied crap ! We are AMERICAN’S and need to “follow” NO one !!!

  5. Gary Miller Says:

    Please please please Chrysler .build it JUST like the concept and the mustang will indeed feel the pressure from the “Challenger”.you guys made it clear that you could once again build a four cylinder that wooped butt ,just like the classic 2.2 turbo,s and now do it again with this car !!!

  6. Bob Klowak Says:

    Once I saw that Challenger Concept, it will be in my plans. My 2003 SX R/T will need to be replaced and I couldn’d thick of a better way. It would fit in very nicely with my wifes 05 Dodge Ram Daytona. We too almost did the Mustang thing but opted for the Daytona. That is one awesome truck.
    A hemi power Challenger, Bring it on Dodge.


  7. Snake Eyes Says:

    I’d love to see one of these two ofered as a turn key race car. I know the Mustang is ofered in this way. If the Challenger is turely going to be a Mustang killer then it should be ofered in the same models. Oh, and an indepedent rear end (oh say, like the viper) would be a real stand out update.

  8. nick upchurch Says:

    how about one better, why doesnt chrysler just start making replicas of chargers,roadrunners, and cudas. think they would sell, you bet your but they would. then i wouldnt have so much trouble finding parts to restore my 70 road runner. hey chevy is getting ready to do it with 69 camaros, it only makes sense to me.

  9. nick upchurch Says:

    oh yes and by the way, the new charger is but ugly!!

  10. Brittny Says:

    This is a respectable replica of the Challenger. What Dodge did with the Charger, however, was unforgivable. I think Dodge should have teamed with Chrysler for the Charger’s design. In my opinion, if you’re gonna bring back a classic, keep some of those classic elements. The Challenger would be a car I would be proud to own (just like my 2005 standard Pontiac GTO).

  11. Cobrajetjoe Says:

    I have a 2005 Mustang GT and would trade it in for the Challenger if it looked like the picture. I LOVE THE WAY THE CHALLENGER LOOKS. PLEASE COME OUT WITH THIS CAR. PEOPLE OF ALL AGES WOULD LOVE THIS CAR.

  12. Patrick Rundle Says:

    I am all too happy to see that the dodge brothers are finally waking up and smelling more than just coffee. I was initially disappointed with the design and proportions of the new Charger, though it has grown on me, I think they should have used a more appropriate name like Coronet or Monaco or even Polara and give the Charger name to a vehicle (a 2 door vehicle) that would be deserving of such an iconic name. I mean really, it’s about as bad as the Warren brothers painting a Cadillac Sedan De Ville to look like the General Lee and racing a General Lee and losing. It seems that Ford has awakened a sleeping giant. Mustang beware there will be a new Challenger, I hope. Dodge, instead of just smelling the coffee try drinking some of it and build US a REAL CHARGER with 2 doors!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Joe Levi Says:

    I consider myself to be a hugh MoPar fan, I do like the new Challenger concept, but it look like a 71 Cuda, not a Challenger. I know they’re both e bodies, but I think it should look like a Challenger. It is a shame that Plymouth is gone, but this is a Dodge. Also, for those of you that don’t the new Charger, should get out a of your GENERAL LEE World and open your eyes. The classic Charger lines are there, your just blinded because you see 4 doors and start running your mouth. The car represents everything a Charger did back in the 60’s and 70’s, a luxerious car with power, and HEMI power just to make point! Hey Luke Duke, did you like the Charger from 73 and up, because those Chargers will fall way short of the Charger standards. I dare you to race the two! If you want a 69 Charger buy one, and stop trying to compare the two, because they are different. If Dodge never drop the name and this was the to come and replace the late model, no one would be complaining.

  14. Victor Ayala Says:

    I hope the 2009 Challenger has a lot of horsepower.It’s hot from the outside and it better be from the inside too.

  15. Victor Ayala Says:

    Destroyed the legenary pony and all the super sports.

  16. Mike From Scrborough Says:

    Bring it on Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Ryan Says:

    First off…yes awful idea to make a 4 door muscle car…who’s dumb idea that’s making millions
    of dollars a year put that into production…anyone could have told them 2-doors…could you
    picture the new mustang with four doors? no because no one would buy it…and the charger
    shouldn’t be either…second off…this muscle car craze that’s being brought back to life is
    the best idea these companies have ever come up with…look at all the crap their making now…
    like chevy cavaliers…people want horses and torque…and I guarentee they are willing to pay…\
    the thing about the muscle car era was that they were unique in so many ways…all the toilets
    nowadays should be scrapped…what dodge needs to do is come up with a car…like the challenger
    and make it with some different options..such as wheel package…grill..hood…and lights…
    if they could do it back in the 70’s then sure hell they can do it now considering all the
    new technology…jesus christ…we’ve been waiting…so give it to us!

  18. gene knight Says:

    please bring back the challenger as the picture shows and maybe a cuda also a dart and roadrunner and maybe a superbee then tat way the airheads who built the so-called charger will get their heads screwed on right and make a charger the way it was meant to be

  19. jason Says:

    sorry fellas but this picture is of the new challenger this picture is of the cuda

  20. JoeDirt Says:

    The Cuda & Challenger look great!
    I am a buyer if the Hemi Cuda is built
    I love the AAR looking Cuda!
    These 2 cars if built would be very hot sellers!!!!

  21. DARLENE Says:

    awesome awesome awesome
    i want it
    build it please
    finally a real muscle car again

  22. Scutlass1 Says:

    Whether it looks like a CUDA (which I agree it does look more like a
    Cuda than the challenger)or a challenger, Just be DAMN sure to put
    at least a V8 in it. Who’s the clown that suggested a 2.2 shoot him.

  23. High Octane Says:

    To see the actual working concept picture, read the post
    Dodge Rises to New Challenge(r)
    everyone keeps commenting on this picture, when its an artists drawing.
    check out the actual concept.

  24. Jake Says:

    i would like to see the old cuda style come back in too the world, they where a beautaful car,
    i own one my self and i love it..and i would love to see you guys build this car…

  25. Jake Says:

    o yea i hate the way you made the new dodge charger you guys took something great and killed it the charger was a great car and you guys screwed up…. Jake

  26. rob Says:

    i would just like to beg chrysler, dodge, and plymouth officials to pleeeeeeease come out wit this
    concept. dodge and chrysler need to get there heads out of there asses and look at the success
    that ford had with the throwback mustang.

  27. Chris Says:

    If you build it, we will cum.

  28. Ben Says:

    I realy like the way this car looks because i am a major fan of the 1971 Hemi Cuda. I Know this is a challenger but it reminds me so much of the Cuda. this car has many of the features of old muscle cars the angular styling the huge tires and just its mean look it makes me glad to see the oldschool car styles making a comeback in the Mustang and the new Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept car, soon to be camaros and Firebird/Trans am. and yes the Charger. yes at first I was a little disapointed at its more modern look. 4 doored and rounded styling. but if you can’t see the similarities you can’t be a charger fan. you can see the old carger in its slick back that slides back and its nose where it shows you it means buisness. if you look carfully at her you can see the old charger. it has for doors so what thats easily forgotten. THE AMERICAN CLASSIC CARS ARE BACK AND THIS TIME THEY’RE HERE TO STAY. I love american muscle cars.

  29. Diane Anderson Says:

    Have to say the challanger coupe is long over due. Which they would have built a charger coupe rather than the current 4 door model. For me it is to late, I have gone ford and went Mustang. Just don’t want to wait for chrysler to get it’s act together and build a new coupe.
    May have to trade the mustang in for a camero if they get them built before 08… Dodge, behind the times and to slow to react…

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