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Could The Next-Generation Dodge Charger & Challenger Be Built In America?

American Muscle, Could Be Just That In 2024...

While the Dodge brand prides itself as America’s performance brand, the truth is that its two popular muscle car offerings – the Dodge Charger and Challenger are built in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s been that way since Dodge and Chrysler launched the first of their rear-wheel-drive L-Series cars (the Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300 Series) in 2004. But that could soon change, according to a report from Automotive News Canada.

Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario. (Stellantis).

The report indicates that Stellantis would switch the muscle car duo to a different production facility in the United States sometime next year. However, it seems unlikely since both the Dodge Charger and Challenger will be replaced in the 2024 model year, so we think it would be closer to late-2023. The beloved but forgotten Chrysler 300 Series will end production in 2023, right about the same time as the current generation Dodge Charger (LD) and Challenger (LA) stop coming off the assembly line.

Belvidere Assembly Plant. (Stellantis).

Although a specific plant was not identified in the article, there is only one former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) plant located in the United States that could produce the cars currently – the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois. That plant is currently home to only one product, the slow-selling Jeep® Cherokee (KL), and has been recently updated with much of the equipment from the former 200 Series line at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan (which is now home to the Ram 1500) and the best parts of the former Toledo North Assembly Complex (which manufactured the current Cherokee until it was moved to Belvidere to make way for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler (JL).

The floor of the assembly line at FCA’s Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant as it sat idle during COVID-19 lockdown. (Stellantis).

The Belvidere plant is near twice the size of the Brampton facility at 5 million square feet of floor space. Just like Brampton, the Belvidere plant has its own stamping facility and would be a perfect place to showcase the new STLA Large platform-based Dodge Charger (codenamed LF) and Challenger (codenamed LB) and their fully battery-electric vehicle (BEV) variants that are planned for release in 2024. 

Dodge eMuscle Car teaser. (Stellantis).

With the Belvidere plant being underutilized it makes sense, as rumors have also stated that Dodge will introduce a new two-row mid-sized rear-wheel-drive based UV to slot in where the Journey left off in the lineup. The vehicle itself would be more than likely based on the STLA Large architecture and would share much of the new muscle cars’ components.

2021 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk. (Jeep).

As for the Jeep Cherokee, the current model is on the way out. Thanks to a similarly sized Jeep Compass, the Cherokee has become irrelevant in the current Jeep lineup. The next-generation Cherokee (codenamed KM) will more than likely be slightly bigger than the current model. We expect it to be more focused on the North American market, as Jeep is building a new Compass-based Commander (Meridian in India) three-row model to fill global demand.

Stellantis STLA BEV Platforms. (Stellantis).

The next-generation Cherokee (KM) could continue to be manufactured at the Belvidere plant alongside the Charger and Challenger if need be since all three should be on the STLA Large architecture. But if the move from Brampton happens for the muscle car duo as the Automotive News Canada article says, we expect that Brampton will receive a massive update to the plant to build more future electrified SUVs or even trucks for the core Chrysler Group brands. 

The Belvidere plant has been on life support during the 2021 model year, due to constant semiconductor shortages and slow Cherokee sales across the globe.

A Dodge Challenger SRT HELLCAT Redeye at the Brampton Assembly Plant. (Stellantis).

We originally heard from our sources in January 2020, that Dodge product managers were looking at running production of the current Dodge Challenger alongside the next-generation Challenger for a few months. This would help iron out issues on the next-generation cars and continue strong sales of the nameplate while the new model would find its way into showrooms. If a transfer to another plant happens, we wouldn’t be surprised if both current and new were run for a bit, similar to vehicles like the Dodge Grand Caravan and Ram 1500 Classic have worked out.

An updated contract with the Canadian labor union, Unifor, places the L-series cars at Brampton until 2024.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only a Co-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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So with what was disclosed in this article implying that the future of the Compass when they are preparing to roll out the new 2022 Compass? I always believed that the Compass was too close in size, purpose and price with the Cherokee.

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So with what was disclosed in this article implying that the future of the Compass when they are preparing to roll out the new 2022 Compass? I always believed that the Compass was too close in size, purpose and price with the Cherokee.

There was nothing implied about the Compass. The Compass has cannibalized some of the Cherokee's sales that is all that was said.

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If these rumors prove accurate it will be a sort of personal vindication for my often repeated thoughts on Cherokee, the Journey replacement and the Challenger and Charger. This articles thinking just makes too much sense and covers too much product to be pure speculation. Do I be so bold as to think someone was paying attention to the rambling discourse of old Mopar Willy? Oh give this Mopar loyalist some comfort in his fixations, of course they were. I guess they missed the part about keeping the Chrysler 300, maybe not, you never know. How about adding a Chrysler SUV off the new Cherokee?
Seriously, these plans make sense. I think the current Cherokee is a good product, but as an owner, I saw the very same conflict with Compass and all the potential for a clearer definition and capability in going a bit larger and RWD. Building the Journey replacement off this platform with a performance personality is just perfect and cost effective. Throw in the next generation Challenger and Charger and the fabled 300 and a three row SUV for Chrysler and we hit the “Mopar Willy Jackpot”!

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Don't count out Jefferson North. As the new Grand Cherokee comes on line at the new Mack Assembly and the Durango is phased out (possibly going BOF to Warren), then that leave JNAP with no product. The plant is already set up for large car RWD. Transitioning the L cars there makes more sense logistically than Belvidere.

Just an opinion, but Belvidere should be converted into another BOF assembly for Ram trucks to take the place of the defunct Saint Louis truck plant. If RAM is trying to chase GM/Ford volume then that might be a good start.

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Don't count out Jefferson North. As the new Grand Cherokee comes on line at the new Mack Assembly and the Durango is phased out (possibly going BOF to Warren), then that leave JNAP with no product. The plant is already set up for large car RWD. Transitioning the L cars there makes more sense logistically than Belvidere.

Just an opinion, but Belvidere should be converted into another BOF assembly for Ram trucks to take the place of the defunct Saint Louis truck plant. If RAM is trying to chase GM/Ford volume then that might be a good start.

JNAP will be getting the WL74 two-row Grand Cherokee. For years the WK2 has been having issues with producing enough vehicles because of the Durango. This should open it up. WL75 and the WL74 PHEV will go to Mack

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