This post is inspired by this article in Automotive News. They wonder if it is already time to put the Challenger out to pasture… after only 4 years. How sad.
I should have titled this post, When Will The Challenger Pass?” With its poor sales numbers it has little chance of lasting. It has two major flaws:
- It is too big and heavy. This takes its toll on all aspects of performance. The V-6 Mustang can beat the standard Hemi Challenger to 60, and gets a good deal better gas mileage. Unfortunately, since this is built on a shared platform that is big and heavy there is nothing Chrysler can do about it.
- The interior is a parts bin job. Why didn’t they design a retro looking dash. I know I saw one in some of the early concept cars. The Camaro has a retro styled interior. It is not practical… with four gauges at the end of the console where you can’t see them at a glance. But it looks cool, and today’s cars are so much more reliable than the sixties and seventies cars these cars take their styling from… who cares how easily you can read the gauges. They work and look cool. The Challenger could do this if they wanted.
So, with a car that is slower and gets worse mileage… and has an interior your grandmother would like, but your friends won’t… it is only time before sales continue to drop.
There are only a handful of diehard Mopar fans out there willing to drop nearly $40K for a car with a cramped back seat and no style on the inside to match the styling on the outside.
If you want to save the Challenger you need to act quickly… which they can’t. Do a quick redesign on the interior… mostly with the dash. Also, offer a stripped down V-8 version. Give it a catch name from the past… like a Rallye Edition. Strip it of power windows, sound deadening, and fancy stereo/nav equipment. Put in a plain jane stereo is a standard DIN opening, with room for a double DIN stereo. Let the aftermarket play with the car.
And sell this stripped down V-8 Rallye Edition for $23K. And don’t let dealers mark it up. It will sell like hot cakes. Too bad no one at Chrysler can think outside the box.
If you are a Mopar fan at least they are bringing back the stripped V-8 pickup with the new Express. You get a 390 hp Hemi V-8 in a RAM 1500 EXPRESS for $22,830. A Challenger like this will bring back the Muscle car days. Too bad we won’t see it.