- Dodge’s Challenger killed the competition
- Dodge says not following the pack created a cult car following
- The Chevrolet Camro simply can’t keep up with the Challenger and others
Thirteen years. It’s been thirteen years since Dodge re-entered the muscle car battle. Back in 2008, the Dodge Challenger was kind of the odd one out. It lost a lot of magazine comparison tests and you really didn’t see a whole lot of them on the road. The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro were on the top of their game then. Now, the turntables have turned, as a certain office manager would say.
The Dodge Challenger is the best-selling new muscle car
For the first time in its 13-year production run, the Challenger has managed to outsell the rest of the pony car competition. If only just. Last year, per Jalopnik, Dodge manged to sell 54,134 Challengers. Ford? They sold 52,414 Mustangs. The Chevy Camaro was the worst-selling of the bunch with 21,893. At least where I live that’s a pretty direct representation of what kind of muscle cars are on the road these days.
I see (and hear) far more Challengers than I do Mustangs or Camaros. According to Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, that’s because the brand is “not trying to follow anybody else.” Frankly, Kuniskis is right. The Dodge Challenger just has some sauce that the other two pony cars simply don’t have. They’ve built a muscle car cult following in the age of 6-figure, 500 hp BMW M3s and million-dollar Bugattis.
How a 13-year-old muscle car manages to outsell the Mustang and Camaro
Part of that, we suspect, is down to the sheer number of flavors you can have your Challenger in. Well, you can have one. As long as the pool noodle splitter guards come off. Regardless of whether you leave the noodles on or off, there’s a Challenger for everyone. That’s something all three brands manage to do well, but Dodge’s offering of an AWD Challenger certainly helps muscle car sales in colder climates.
Then there’s, and this is hard to put a finger on, the vibe of the Challenger. A Ford Mustang and Camaro are a cross between a muscle car and a sports car, depending on which one you buy. The top-tier Shelby GT500 and Camaro ZL1 are track monsters. But Dodge? The Demon is a 700+ hp muscle car that’s built to go a-thataway as quickly and as loudly as possible. Simply put, it’s just different from the competition. And Dodge is being rewarded for it.
Is buying a Dodge Challenger worth it?
That’s also the deciding factor in whether a Dodge Challenger is worth it. Do you want a straight up and down muscle car? Or do you want a blend from the likes of Ford and Chevy? Clearly, buyers in that segment want to feel like they’re driving a 1969 Challenger built today. Dodge provides, and in spades. Well done to Dodge.