The Internal Combustion-only Dodge Challenger’s Days Are Numbered, Manley Says
Speaking to The Detroit News, Manley said the Challenger, despite enjoying a lasting popularity that’s rare in the industry — at least for a car model, must change with the times if it has any hope of long-term survival.
“The reality is those platforms and that technology we used does need to move on. They can’t exist as you get into the middle-2020s,” Manley said of the Challenger’s aging LX architecture and trio of V8s. “New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of the powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles.”
It’s not like no one saw this coming. There’s a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler in the works, and FCA’s 2019 revamp of its lucrative Ram 1500 line saw the debut of “eTorque” mild-hybrid variants of its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Dodge’s Challenger and Charger makes good use of these displacements and, with some weight shaved from a modified LX platform and a lightweighted body, the Wrangler’s turbocharged Hurricane four-cylinder could become a new addition to the engine lineup.
FCA’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant should begin producing next-generation Chargers and Challengers in 2021, minus the Italian platform originally slated for the models. Late FCA boss Sergio Marchionne admitted last June that platforms sourced from Alfa Romeo or Maserati wouldn’t be able to handle the excessive torque of hi-po Mopar applications.
While a Hurricane four mated to an eTorque system is one low-end powertrain possibility mentioned in our piece, Manley suggests the company’s unsullied 6.4-liter and supercharged 6.2-liter V8s will have to give way to electrified alternatives in the coming decade.