Dodge's badass 700 horsepower recipe has really paid off.
Automakers that want to attract consumers have to offer multiple crossovers and SUVs. Which is why General Motors has killed off six sedan models across three brands and Ford has discontinued all non-SUV models except for the Mustang. While the American sedan is on its knees, no one seems to have told Dodge.
FCA killed off its smaller Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart models back in 2016, though it continues to sell the full-size Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger (as well as the two-door Challenger) with great success. In fact, in an interview with Bloomberg, Tim Kuniskis, former head of Dodge and current head of Jeep, said FCA has no plans to stop building awesome cars like the Challenger and Charger.
“What’s dying is the commoditized, four-door nothingburger, no-personality cars,” said Kuniskis. Unlike boring, front-wheel-drive sedans, muscle cars "have a really well-defined personality and positioning.” Muscle cars are also more profitable than the average sedan. In fact, the average transaction price for a Dodge Challenger is $36,000.
The Challenger is a very unique car because a base V6 model starts at an affordable $27,595, while a well-optioned Hellcat model can most more than twice as much. Although it may not be as profitable as a truck, the investment on the Challenger, which has remained on the same platform since 2008, has long since been paid off.
Dodge expects to sell 65,000 Challengers this year, which is around the same as last year and just below the record sales of 66,000 units back in 2015. Interestingly, the more practical Charger's sales dropped 11% this year. We wouldn't expect any huge growth for either model but it is far from the massive declines seen by mainstream sedans. Clearly, people just can't seem to get enough of the Challenger and its many variants.
We've seen Chevy fail to successfully compete with its own full-size car, the SS, while Ford hasn't even attempted to build a rear-wheel-drive muscle sedan. If Ford were smart and wanted to challenge Dodge, it would hurry up with that rumored Mustang sedan and give it a cool, iconic name like Falcon.