Challenger Nameplate Not Making A Return To Dodge Lineup

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, Says They "Don't Know What They Will Do With" Challenger Name...

In a surprising move that left many modern Mopar fans scratching their heads, Dodge has decided to shelve the iconic Challenger nameplate from its new muscle car lineup. This decision marks the end of an era for one of the most beloved muscle cars in recent history.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 in B5 Blue.

The Dodge Challenger has been a cornerstone of Dodge’s performance success for the past 16 years, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts with its blend of power, performance, and nostalgia. From the roaring engines to the unmistakable design, the Challenger has carved out its place in automotive history.

But with the unveiling of the next-gen Dodge Charger, which now encompasses both two-door and four-door variants of Dodge’s muscle car lineup, many wondered about the fate of the Challenger name.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 Inaugural Edition in HEMI Orange.

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis shed some light on the situation, stating, “We own the Challenger nameplate. We own a whole bunch of nameplates we got in the drawer. So, I don’t know what we’ll do with it if we ever do anything with it, but [we are] not using that on this car.”

For now, Dodge will keep the Challenger name tucked away, leaving enthusiasts to ponder its future. With no current plans to resurrect the nameplate, it’s uncertain when or if we’ll ever see a new Challenger hit the streets.

2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 in IndiGo Blue. 

The outgoing Dodge Challenger lineup boasted an impressive array of models, catering to a wide range of performance enthusiasts. From the award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 in the SXT and GT models to the fire-breathing supercharged HEMI V8 engines in the SRT HELLCAT and SRT HELLCAT Redeye models, there was a Challenger for every taste and need.

One notable loss with the shelving of the Challenger nameplate is the end of the manual transmission era for Dodge muscle cars. The 2023 models marked the last hurrah for manual enthusiasts, with the R/T, R/T Scat Pack, and SRT HELLCAT models featuring the Tremec 6-speed manual transmission.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT HELLCAT 6-speed manual shifter.

So, if you’re in the market for a Challenger, now is the time to act. Snag one of the leftover 2023 models still available on dealer lots and savor the thrill of driving one of the last manual V8 muscle cars from Dodge.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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The world of 2024 is much different than 2004. Charger, Durango and Hornet, one might call that a full line for Dodge. If there is room for a smaller, real enthusiast sportscar, perhaps that would be good use for Challenger. Right now any such vehicle is pure fantasy.

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I suspect they have an idea for a replacement Challenger, whether or not that sees the light of day or not remains to be seen. Sad really.

I’ve yet to own a new Challenger but do have my Sublime ‘70

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The British have a phrase, “too clever by a half”, which means you are overthinking something and making it worse. Changing the name of the two door version of the next muscle car to Charger instead of Challenger is a great example. I couldn’t imagine Honda making a new four door family sedan and not calling it the Accord or Toyota changing the name of their small sedan from Corolla. They are iconic and have value in a customer’s mind as something they want. Dodge made a huge mistake not calling the new 2-door version Challenger, and leaving the 4-door as the Charger. In addition, the 4-door model version is really poorly designed. It appears that someone in design said that we need a 4-door version and they just decided to slap an extra 2-doors on the coupe. The roofline slopes down way too much compared to the outgoing model. Stellantis had better start focusing on hybrids and ICE only vehicles if they want to survive.

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Stellantis had better start focusing on hybrids and ICE only vehicles if they want to survive.

ICE only is no longer an option. ICE only vehicles will become very rare in the marketplace in the near future. Even Toyota is saying EVs will be 30% of the market in the US. If the government and other circumstances forces a company to market EVs, that company should at least build an EV people would want.

The new 2-door Charger is as different from the outgoing Challenger, as the 1978 Challenger was as different from the 1970-74 E-body Challenger.

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Why wouldn’t you use the Challenger name for the new Dodge muscle car? It would only make sense to carry on with the Challenger body style and look into a new transformation into the electric boondoggle.
I guess it will now leave the Challenger owners with something to call their own anyways. Long Live Challenger!

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