Automotive

Dodge Charger and Challenger to continue, but no new Viper coming


BALOCCO, Italy — As FCA’s latest five-year plan was presented last week, most of the day was focused on four brands — Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. That left a lot of people wondering about the future of the Chrysler, Fiat and Dodge nameplates. At the last five-year event, Dodge was one of the main features. We heard plans for an expanded lineup that included refreshed versions of the Viper, Challenger and Charger, the last two riding on the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform. Times sure have changed.

Dodge isn’t going away, but the brand will be narrowed and focused. Performance is the name of the game, but don’t look for a new Viper anytime soon. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne simply said it’s “not in the plan.” Marchionne thought it was a great idea but that it couldn’t live on as a standalone product. If it does eventually return, expect it to share parts with other FCA products, possibly with one of the upcoming Maseratis.

On the other hand, Marchionne confirmed that both the Dodge Challenger and Charger will continue to live on. In the last five-year plan, FCA said that the pair would share underpinnings with future Alfa Romeos. That was promising news for those hoping for smaller, lighter versions of each model that would be better suited to fight models like the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro.

It seems the Alfa Romeo platform is off the table. Marchionne said the current LX platform would indeed live on, though it would be “unrecognizable” compared to what we have today. The LX architecture is ancient, and, although it’s been continuously updated, its basic bones date back to the DaimlerChrysler days. Marchionne said that the Alfa platform just doesn’t have the character American shoppers are looking for in those vehicles.

It’s unclear when the next iteration of the Charger and Challenger will arrive, but expect another refresh sometime before 2022. Look for an updated version of the tried-and-true Hemi V8. Rumors continue to swirl about a larger and more powerful 7.0-liter variant dubbed the Banshee, but we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

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