Dodge Challenger photo hinting at 2023 for next-gen model?
The sketchy odometer divination meshes with previous rumors.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may have dropped an ultra-subtle hint at when to expect the next-generation Dodge Challenger and Charger.
Muscle Cars and Trucks and Mopar Insiders have apparently took an extremely close look at press photos for the 2020 lineup, which includes a Challenger with 2023 miles on the odometer.
To be fair, dust on the steering wheel suggests the image shows an actual car with 2023 miles, rather than a photo-realistic rendering that would be much simpler to edit if someone in the multimedia team wanted to leave a bread crumb.
In any case, the detail has stirred fresh speculation regarding FCA's plans for its successful muscle cars. The duo is underpinned by a platform that is now more than a decade old and originally borrowed its suspension design from Mercedes-Benz sedans that have been out of production for 20 years or longer.
Unconfirmed reports suggest FCA has been indecisive over the years. Not long ago, the company was expected to use the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform for the next Challenger and Charger, however the late Sergio Marchionne last year admitted that it was too "European" in terms of performance and not a good fit for Dodge's "American Heritage."
The 717-horsepower supercharged Hellcat engine has been credited with pushing the Challenger to the top of the podium in terms of sales for the third quarter, edging ahead of the Ford Mustang and crushing the Chevrolet Camaro -- both less than five years into their latest generations. Current FCA chief Mike Manley is apparently not as devoted to the traditional American Muscle formula as his predecessor, however, recently warning that 700-horsepower V8s "can't exist" as the industry moves forward into the mid-2020s.
Supercar brands are slowly warming to electrification as key to keeping alive their massive engines that are deeply tied to their brand identities, helping reduce emissions without forcing an immediate shift to downsized powerplants that require fake exhaust noise to be piped through the speakers. It may not be a coincidence that the old Challenger began its rise to the throne by doubling down on raw power as the Mustang and Camaro both added turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
For now, FCA is presumably planning to keep pulling from its tried-and-true playbook by adding more special editions ahead of a larger redesign. The latest rumors point to a Challenger ACR, stripping down the Hellcat Widebody to give the notoriously heavy car a bit more credibility on the track.