Where’s the Charger?

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It was supposed to be here by now.

Now being six-months-plus (almost) into 2024. Yet there is still no sign of the “electrified” 2024 Dodge Charger – which was supposed to have been a 2024 model that we were told would be coming in 2024. Well, here are – and the 2025 models are beginning to come out as I type this. There are only about three months left in the calendar year before the remaining inventory of ’24 models become (effectively) last year’s models.

Meanwhile, Dodge currently has only two models available to attract potential buyers, having cancelled the two engined models – Charger and Challenger – that did attract buyers. They’ve been gone since last year, which was the “last call” for them both. The two remaining models – Hornet and Durango – are not much to carry an entire brand. But it could be worse. Chrysler – the luxury division of what used to be the Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler triad – is down to just one model.

And that one’s a minivan.

It is difficult to see how Chrysler survives as a brand when it has just one vehicle to sell – and that vehicle is a type of vehicle most people don’t want to buy anymore. And it is difficult to imagine much of a future for Dodge – which will likely be down to just one model (the Hornet) that isn’t a battery-powered device by the end of the calendar year, because it is a near certainty that 2025 will be the Durango SUVs last year.

2024 is the last year you can get a Durango with a V8. It is the very last of the V8-available Dodges. Next year, it will only be available with a six – Dodge’s new replacement for displacement.

Then there’s the Hornet – a small crossover related to Fiat/Alfa models that Dodge has tried to generate enthusiasm for by giving it the strongest standard engine in the class and by offering an even stronger one, along with a roster of performance-themed features that are meant to evoke the enthusiasm people felt (and still do) for the dearly departed Charger and Challenger – and to hold the line until the replacement for those two, the “electrified” Charger – becomes available.

Whenever that happens.

The problem here is that while the Hornet is less boring to drive and to look at than a Honda CR-V or a Toyota RAV4 and other small crossover appliances like that, it is nowhere near as exciting to drive or look at as the dearly departed Challenger and Charger. More fundamentally, it is a completely different kind of vehicle. More finely, it is the opposite of the kinds of vehicles that heretofore defined the Dodge brand. It is a small (and small-engined) FWD/AWD crossover.

In other words, the kind of vehicle every other brand sells.

Dodge used to sell the kinds of vehicles no one else sold. That’s what you call brand identity and it is the thing that keeps a a brand afloat. The reason why there’s no longer a Plymouth is because “Plymouth” lost the meaning it once had, as a brand. It ended up re-selling the same things Dodge was selling, such as the Neon – which was so much the same it was sold using the same name by both brands. Not much reason to keep Plymouth around – and that’s why it no longer is.

Dodge and Chrysler enjoyed a resurgence of their brands during the early 2000s, on the enthusiasm of buyers for the return of traditionally American rollers no other brand was selling by that time. Especially the Charger and its upmarket iteration, the Chrysler 300. The latter was everything you could no longer get – i.e., rear-drive and V8 available – in an affordable, American-brand sedan – by the early 2000s. And so was the Charger, for less money – and with more balls.

These cars were the Dodge and Chrysler brands – and now they’re both gone. Six-months-plus is a long time to leave buyers hanging for their replacements, but that’s only a compounding problem. The very-possibly-fatal problem that’s not quite here yet is the 2024 Charger itself.

Whenever it finally gets here.

It looks good – in the sense that it looks like the kinds of cars that have sustained the Dodge and Chrysler brands up to now. It is big and brash and looks very American. The problem lies in what’s under those looks.

Instead of a Hemi V8, a pack of batteries – which is what every other brand is already selling. The decision was made to replace the Charger and Challenger (and 300) with a performance EV, on the theory that what sold all of the latter three was performance and the looks that came along for the ride.

That is half-right.

Looks do matter. GM’s failed attempt to reboot the Pontiac GTO back in the early 2000s being a case in point. The last GTO was the most powerful and fastest GTO ever made but it sold poorly and that was very likely due to the fact that it didn’t have the looks to go with the goods.

It looked boring, even though it wasn’t boring to drive.

The whenever-it-gets-here device named Charger will have the looks, based on what we’ve seen so far. But will it be fun to drive?

As distinct from fast to drive?

The difference matters. It may be determinative. No doubt, the electric Charger will be extremely fast; but so are the devices already on the market. Nothing new here, in other words.

Recently ex-Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis spent the last year trying to summon enthusiasm for what’s coming (whenever it gets here) but now he’s gone, too – along with the V8 and the V8-powered Charger/Challenger. Will Dodge be able to sell what’s no longer there to people who want what used to be there?

Maybe. But maybe not.

More finely, not enough.

The problem being that the ’24 Charger will be competing with other performance vehicles from other brands that are also powerful and fast but also not all-that-different. Unlike the no-longer-available Charger, Challenger and 300 – which were unlike anything else.

Last year, Dodge didn’t have to compete with Tesla – or any other performance vehicle brand, EV or otherwise. But – having cancelled the models it used to sell that no one else did – Dodge will have to find a way to steal-away sales from those other brands. No easy task, that. It is akin to McDonald’s trying to sell people sushi. Maybe.

But is it likely?

Soon, we’ll see. Eventually.

Whenever the new Charger finally shows up.

. . .

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45 COMMENTS

  1. You have to wonder if the lack of consumer interest in EVs is causing them to reevaluate and re-prioritize releasing the EV version first vs the ICE and/or hybrid versions.

  2. my guess is they are scrambling to add in the new I6TT Hurricane engine to it NOW, for sale alongside the EV version.
    It was reported that the frame was setup for it already.

      • and then the question becomes will anyone buy a I6TT in a challenger/charger?
        Good question(s).
        Some will, but how many bought them BECAUSE it was a traditional V8-RWD layout.
        The part I don’t understand is that tons of people bought the regular V6 units, and that they canceled this offering as well seems, well….. very stupid.
        We will find out eventually.

    • “Can’t believe there are people out there who would do these things.”

      Pharma has no problem with that. Vioxx to the rescue! Go Merck!

      Now onto a pandemic of lies and distortion, Covid can do that. Let’s go, Brandon or is it let’s go Brandon. Everybody is Joe Biden! har

      Each and every Cyberfruck needs to be ‘vaccined’ with a clear message so everybody knows the Cyberfruck is dead, which it is. A flash in the pan, a splash in the water and it’s all over.

      Vandals vaccinating Cyberfrucks is the cure, the medicine needed.

      Cyber Schmyber, stick a fork in it, it’s done.

      Obvious they aren’t selling, so sayonara.

      Good luck to ya.

  3. I look upon what’s happened to Chrysler with bemusement and sadness. The wheel has made a full turn. To explain myself, in the mid 1980s Renault was looking to get out of their partnership with AMC. Chrysler stepped in bought out AMC. They kept Jeep and the Renault 25 based Dodge Monaco and Eagle Medallion, which would provide the starting point for the Chrysler LH sedans of the 1990s. The rest just disappeared.

    I think Stellantis bought Chrysler for Jeep and Ram (face it, the Euros have no idea how to build pickups) and will let Chrysler disappear, and probably Dodge too. It’s sad to see a longtime company disappear but I don’t think either Chrysler or Dodge is long for this world.

  4. Nash, Packard, Studebaker, AMC, there they were, gone.

    Dodge? Chrysler? Bring back the DeSoto!

    FW Woolworth, K-Mart, Sears, waxed, then waned. World’s Largest Store, WLS radio station in Chicago was launched by Sears.

    “You want nice clothes? Well, you can’t have them,” words I read one time many moons ago. A woman activist/protester was yelling at textile workers in Boston, turn of the century.

    You want nice ice cars?

    Well, you can’t have any of them.

    And it’s a high holiday on the 21st of June
    And it’s country music in the park and everybody’s ruined
    – A Nickel For The Fiddler by Guy Clark

    • FW Woolworth still exists as Foot Locker. Same company with a different name and without the general merchandise. Just sneakers.

  5. Wife and I are searching for a new daily driver. We’ve been renting a 23, four door Charger for the last week. Before that, we rented a mustang convertible, a Jeep, and a Nissan, usually for about a week at a time. The Charger wins hands down against all of them, especially on road trips of 4 hours or more.

    The Charger is a super comfortable, fairly roomy, very smooth ride. Something about the seats in the mustang didn’t agree with my boney ass. Also, its a little harder getting in and out of the mustang. Never imagined that would be an issue. The Chargers extra power is nice to have on the freeway. It ends most arguments with left lane clovers in a hurry, even more so than my T-Bird. Sorry I didn’t listen to you and buy one 8 or 9 years ago.

    Really hate giving up on our MKX, probably the most enjoyable ride we ever owned. It was great for 12 years and 120k miles, now problem after problem, sun roof, back up cam, touch screen, main control module, electric seat. One thing after another the last few years and parts are getting harder to find. Funny how all the crap that breaks is the least important to me, yet most important to her. So, if I’m stuck with a rolling spyware mobile, it might as well come with ludicrous speed.

  6. It’s a colossal mistake to discontinue the Hemi.

    Dodge and Chrysler are not going to last much longer without massive investment, in vehicles people want. Unfortunately not the few (electric) they have coming.

    The Hornet would sell, if it was cheaper. A lot cheaper. It’s just too expensive for what it is. That’s the problem with all small cars, and the main reason why they don’t sell. Small cars should start UNDER ten thousand and not cost more than twenty.

  7. Corporate Seppuku.

    Don’t worry though, all the “leaders” will be just fine with their golden parachutes and lucrative retirement packages.

    The day to day workers keeping things afloat, well, there’s unemployment benefits to be had.

  8. Where are the electrified Chargers?

    Last minute panic to add more fake sounds etc….to at least get one car ordered….

    The only people who might buy these abortions are muscle car people that bought the V8 Chargers…but they hate this EV abortion…so there will be close to zero sales…a complete flop….

  9. The oligarchs have decided the auto industry is to be (further) consolidated. Competition is inefficient. Those running the brands like Dodge will be set for life, well rewarded, for putting their brands to rest. Choice is to be further reduced and eventually eliminated. Think of how much more money the “owners” will make by firing workers when further consolidations are made.

    • ‘Choice is to be further reduced and eventually eliminated.’ — Brandonjin

      One crossover, one pickup, one SUV.

      Sort of like one bourbon, one scotch and one beer.

      Ask me about my frontal lobotomy. — bumper sticker seen on car yesterday

  10. Plenty of ICE Dodge Chargers for sale with only a few miles and essentially brand new. 25,000 USD for one at Autotrader dot com. Dodge has to know the score then.

    Where are the electrified Chargers?

    Can’t build them if there are no orders.

    It is a foolish pursuit to build anything if it won’t sell.

  11. I read an article saying that the Dodge Hornet moved up from the slowest selling to the second slowest selling car in America! I went onto the Dodge site a moment ago and it looks like they’re still selling 2023 Chargers. I build out one, starting at the scat pak trim and added a bunch of cool shit until it got to about $62K and change. Looks like a fully loaded Charger could get into the 70s ($70K+) easily.

  12. I have no sympathy for any manufacturer that casts their lot with the government-climate-ev cult. Let them sink. Screw ‘em.

  13. All the US car makers have entered into a death spiral suicide pact by diving head first into the dry swimming pool, or cesspool, of FedGov regulation. Most people simply cannot afford a new car anymore, of any kind. That’s the way FedGov wants it. And if the makers hold hands with FedGov, the Psychopaths In Charge will get their way.

  14. I think it’s going to be hard for any one to get exited about an EV Charger. Use the power and that Charger will become the Chargee spending hours waiting to be charged. phony engine sounds won’t make things any better.

  15. In a muscle car 60% of the experience is the sound…..fake sound won’t work…..and the vibration…feel it, hear it, smell it….an EV is dead….no emotion….useless…

    feel it, hear it, smell it…lose all those…no sales….

    take the ice V8 engine out…rip the heart out…..replace it with a washing machine motor..

    the only thing they can push is zero to 60….but there is lot more to it then that…..fakeness doesn’t sell…..

    • They used to be able to sell crap with huge amounts of money spent on marketing….in the case of EV’s it isn’t working….people don’t want these pieces of crap….

      Better spend a few more billions of $$$$ on marketing….brainwashing the buyers….

  16. What — Dodge still makes the Durango? Those tubby things used to be ubiquitous. Now I can’t remember the last time I saw one. Or maybe I just didn’t notice it, in a vast sea of generic lookalikes.

    As for the Charger, Dodge’s website states ‘2DR Daytona R/T and *Scat Pack: Available late 2024. 4DR Daytona R/T and *Scat Pack: Available early 2025.’

    *Whatever that is. Sounds like a sack of shit to me.

    Evidently, ‘THE WORLD’S ONLY ELECTRIC MUSCLE CAR (based on latest available competitive information and available Muscle Car powertrains in production)’ will debut as a 2025 model.

    https://www.dodge.com/next-gen-charger.html

    We’ve got a problem here, right off the bat. Eric is not going to tolerate a freaking electric skate being styled a ‘muscle car.’ Nor am I. Dodge’s PR flacks had better hunker down for incoming fire. Cuz it’s gonna get real ugly, real fast.

    What the rest of Eric’s essay describes is slow-motion brand suicide. Dodge is deliberately throwing the game, just as the DemonRat party is doing by renominating VP Kamala Harris, who would be certain to step in next year (if not sooner) for the mentally incapacitated ‘Biden’ entity.

    As an aside, upon awakening this morning I opened up the New York Slimes site and got a burning eyeful of the horrid witch Gretchen Whitmer, leaning into the camera with psycho-killer eye blinks, to tout her candidacy in 2028. Quick, somebody, hand me a barf bag! I’m gonna heave breakfast.

      • So things are bad? Well then, let them get even worse, proposes J H Kunstler:

        ‘There’s a fair chance [in the debate next week] that, despite the Adderall lighting up what’s left in his brain-pan, “Joe Biden” will quickly melt down altogether into a pathetic, gibbering zombie, spouting inanities about his Uncle Brosey amongst the cannibals, his victory over the arch-villain Corn Pop, his conquest of Mt. Everest side by side with Xi Jinping, his growing-up Latinx and Jewish in Scranton, PA, his rescuing Martin Luther King from a mob of Ku Kluxers and … well … the nabobs of the Democratic Party will finally have what they’re longing for: the excuse to dump this perfect ass of a fake president and throw the window wide open for Hillary Clinton to fly in on her leathery wings (Caw! Caw!) and lead the dwindling number of her deranged admirers to another humiliating election loss.’

        https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/a-door-closes-a-window-opens/

  17. Maybe it has run its course. The Dodge brothers started building cars back in 1914. One-hundred ten years ago. Chrysler turns one-hundred a year from now. That’s an awfully long time to keep going, especially in a stock market that demands constant growth and will dump your stock in milliseconds.

    Mighty Kodak is basically a niche player, compared to what they once were, in motion picture film stock, industrial printing and chemistry. But they’re still doing better than the once-favorite of Wall Street Polaroid corp, now just a name badge for Junk Chinese electronics sold at drug stores. Edwin Land’s hell.

    How do you get a company to last beyond 100 years? Even Colt Firearms, which is nearly 200 years on, is only a name for a Czech manufacturer. They’re hip deep in government work, so that’s one way I guess.

    I find it very hard to believe any modern company will last 100 years. Apple perhaps, but the early reviews and sales estimates of the Apple Vision Pro Ski Goggles say that they’re out of ideas, and without a monopoly (backed up with government legislation) the minor refinements road they’re on won’t keep them in the game forever. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way I’d short AAPL, and some of what they do to tie all their products together is fantastic, but without a mass market game changer every decade or so a company is eventually just going to rely on past reputation. And miss the next big thing.

    • I agree with you. It is staggeringly difficult for a company to keep things rolling that long. But that’s probably a good thing.

      Creative destruction is terribly important for maintaining a healthy economy. Only when government started fucking around with things did it stop being a force. Can you imagine how much better things would be if there were no such things as bailouts?

    • As I remember it, Kodak discounted digital photography, which lead to its downfall.

      That’s not a lesson about ignoring new tech, it is one on ignoring customer demand and a changing market.

      Tread lightly American auto makers.

  18. The car companies are learning the hard way what happens when you sell yourself out to a bunch of crackpots who unfortunately are running the government. They may get a pat on the head and invitations to the swanky parties rubbing elbows with the power people and very well may find themselves out of business. But at least they were “enlightened”!

    • I think it’s more than that. The auto industry is a source of national pride, and considered essential for a fully developed economy. Britain in the 1950s made automakers one of the key industries to rebuild after the war. Then in the 1970s made sure to keep British Leyland alive even though it was clear they shouldn’t have been. The people running car companies know they have privileged status, and like a mob of POC at the Target, they just do whatever they want knowing they’ll get bailed out.

  19. Wasn’t Stellantis supposed to reopen the Belvedere plant to build the EV Carger?

    When we drove by the plant in November of last year, the buildings looked like they were in decent shape but the activity level was zero.

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