- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Dodge will discontinue its Charger and Challenger muscle cars by the end of 2023 as the brand shifts its focus to producing more electric vehicles.

The models have been popular — and profitable — since being reintroduced in the mid-to-late 2000s, but the company’s lagging emissions profile has made them necessary cuts, according to CNBC.

The outlet reported that Dodge’s parent company Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, ranks the worst among major manufacturers for U.S. corporate average fuel economy and carbon emissions.

For example, in 2015 when Dodge released its souped-up Challenger model — the nearly $90,000, 700-horsepower Hellcat — other brands were already making the transition to more environmentally friendly models.

CNBC reported that it was a good move for Dodge’s bottom line, but it forced the automaker to buy carbon credits from competitors such as Tesla to account for its carbon footprint.

It’s not all bad news. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis hinted at an electric revival for the muscle cars in 2024 and beyond.

Mr. Kuniskis has been a vocal supporter of muscle cars for years, and how much they stand out compared to the “four-door nothingburger, no-personality” sedans, he said in a 2018 interview with Bloomberg News.

Whether those muscle cars will provide the same experience as gas-powered ones is up for debate.

As Muscle Cars and Trucks reported in 2019, electric vehicles add further complexity and weight to the car, would make an already expensive vehicle more expensive and could remove the engine sounds that distinguish muscle cars.

But Mr. Kuniskis has been adamant that electrification can preserve the “Golden Age of muscle cars,” he said in a 2021 interview with CNBC.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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