At the same time ‘badge engineered’ models, like the similar Fiat Freemont are also less likely to occur going forward.
One of the future options being considered for the Dodge brand here includes the large four-door Charger and the mechanically similar Challenger coupe. Both models have been on sale in the United States for a number of years, meaning that the clock is ticking for the current generation vehicles.
“We’d like to be up front for the next generation… We had some serious conversations about taking the business case forwards on the current models. The investment required is heavy. So, you want to be competitive when you come to market.” Mr Dougherty said, speaking with TMR.
Current model cars feature V6 and V8 engines with rear wheel drive putting them in an ideal position to take up where current large car offerings, Commodore and Falcon, will leave a gap when local production ends in 2017.
“I think there’s definitely an opportunity there. This market is very keen on performance, V8 engines. Vehicles that are affordable, fun, performance-driving vehicles, and we’d like to be there.” Mr. Dougherty indicated.
Another current model not yet available to right hand drive markets, but under consideration, is the small Dart sedan.
“We weren’t involved in the up-front engineering of the last model [Dart]. The company is always open to creating RHD” Mr. Dougherty went on, “So as we get closer to making the decision on the renewal or the next generation of those products, we’re very much in the conversation of ‘we want to be a part of that’.”
Previous international announcements from Fiat Chrysler see the Dodge brand moving to a performance oriented position. Fiat Chrysler Australia’s goal is to ensure an even representation across market segments allowing each of its brands a unique opportunity in the crowded Australian market.
Less likely to join the Australian range is the low-volume V10 powered Viper coupe, but potential high-performance SRT and Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger should still offer significant enthusuast appeal.
If the Challenger does arrive in Australia it will most likely wear a different name. The Challenger trademark is held by Mitsubishi here, and applied to the brand’s Triton-based SUV.
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