Dodge was planning some pretty big changes by the end of the decade. Things like building the Challenger and Charger on FCA’s new Giorgio platform, and underpinning the Journey with the same platform as the Chrysler 200 were all on the table. However, these have been pushed forward for now as Dodge rethinks its long-term strategy. Of course, not everything has changed. The Dart will be discontinued later this month, with no successor in sight, and Dodge is still unwilling to accommodate the Viper with the necessary safety features (side curtain airbags), so it’s still on the chopping block as well.
Now that the plans for the Journey to share the Chrysler 200s platform have trashed, claims that it will be produced with its current DNA until 2018. The Journey isn’t going anywhere, except for Italy, where it will be built when it is switched over to the Giorgio platform. And then there is the Charger and the Challenger. As far as the Charger goes it was going to be redesigned for the Giorgio platform, but that has been delayed until at least 2018. On the positive side of things, however, it’s said that the next-gen model will drop more than 400 pounds.
Arguably, the most important news is that Dodge is going to introduce a V-6 Challenger with all-wheel drive. The model will be called the Challenger GT AWD and will ultimately be followed by a wide-bodied, Hellcat-powered Challenger for 2017. When Dodge switches the Challenger over to the Giorgio platform, it is expected to drop at least 500 pounds – now that will be a nice drop in weight.
Why it Matters
The one thing that really irritates me about Dodge is that they are unwilling to redesign the Viper to accommodate the necessary safety equipment. Sure it didn’t bring in wild amounts of money, but it was an American classic that has now been killed off while things like the Dodge Grand Caravan live on, albeit as a fleet vehicle, for some reason. Then again, at least the Challenger and Charger are living on, and if is to be believed, the Barracuda will make its debut on the Giorgio platform in 2021. Now, that’s one model I’m looking forward to seeing.
The biggest issue here is that Dodge may be hurting itself in the long run. The Journey is already pretty dated, and now it will run on unchanged until 2018, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want a V-6 Challenger except for the fact that it will be all-wheel drive. At this point, I’m wondering if the Charger, Challenger, and Durango should carry on under a different badge while Dodge meets the same fate as brands like Pontiac, Mercury, and Plymouth.