Based on years of shrinking sales, the muscle car segment is in trouble. And unfortunately, there’s no single reason as to why. Rising prices, supply shortages, and demand and growth of the off-road performance truck and SUV segment are likely all contributing factors. But if we were to distill the ethos of the muscle car down to its essence, we’re left with something that looks like the Dodge Challenger. Big, brash, powerful, provocative, and really doesn’t care who you are or what you think of it. It just wants you to have fun.
That brings us to the major story here: while the four-door Dodge Charger continues to top the charts in muscle car sales, the Dodge Challenger also outsold the Ford Mustang for the first time last year, derailing Ford’s 6-year streak of being the top two-door in the segment.
Tim Kuniskis On Dodge Challenger, Charger Taking The Top Spots
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reveals that beating Mustang wasn’t really part of the plan, in fact, it’s just icing on the cake because it’s not what they live everyday trying to do. Despite external factors, featuring everything from political pressure, to chip shortages, to vehicle thefts, Dodge has found a winning formula, and for the near term, they’re sticking to it.
Per an Automotive News article Kuniskis says that the focus of the Challenger was never to outsell the Mustang. Which, yes they did, but it’s considered a byproduct of the work they are doing at Dodge. Kuniskis mentions that Dodge is not following anybody else, and that it comes down to a core foundation when looking for something to attribute their success to. That core foundation is the ability to market to enthusiasts who are captivated by American muscle cars and the ultimate sense of community that comes with it. Hence the “Never Lift” campaign and reinvigoration of Direct Connection.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis also attributes the success of the Challenger sales to the abilities of nationwide dealerships and how effective they were in altering their business models to cope with production woes like the chip shortage. Kuniskis also believes that the Challenger is unique in a lot of ways which has helped it keep its place in the market.
Mike Harrington, General Manager for the top selling Dodge dealer in the nation, based out of Southern California, says the V6 GT iteration of the Challenger was most popular, however the Scat Pack was selling the quickest. A total of 54,314 Dodge Challengers were sold last year. The dealer GM believes that it wouldn’t be surprising to see a surge of buyers soon, now that Dodge has announced its plans to phase the platform out in favor of electrification. A strategy that continues to puzzle everybody.
The company is expected to reveal a plug-in hybrid vehicle this year and is expected to provide an all-electric muscle car by 2024 presumably a Dodge Charger EV.