As far back as May of 2014, Sergio Marchionne released one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year plans. In it, there was a sports coupe that was slotted to come in smaller than the Challenger. Rumors started flying that the new Dodge offering would inherit the old Plymouth Barracuda nameplate from muscle cars of years gone by. Despite its history under the Plymouth brand, the Barracuda just might resurface as a Dodge. But a lot has changed since then, and the rumors have implied that the project is on again, and then off again. Or, is it back on again? So, what is the latest on the Dodge Barracuda coming back?
An argument against a new Barracuda muscle car’s return
A lot has changed since 2014. For example, Sergio Marchionne has passed away, and a new head of FCA is facing a merger with Peugeot-Citroen early next year. So, FCA will soon become Stellantis and be forced to deal with a lot of redundant models. Also, the consumer in the United States has shown in subsequent years a voracious appetite for all things, cross-over, SUV, or pickup truck, not a smaller muscle car sports coupe.
The original speculation placed the new Barracuda as being built upon the Alfa Romeo Guilia platform. But, that new platform has been around for a couple of years now and will likely go into a revision cycle soon. Also, it is not that much smaller than the current Challenger muscle car.
An argument supporting the new Barracuda muscle car’s return
So, many people were thinking that FCA was going to let the sleeping dogs lay. But, our friends at HotCars.com have recently made a post that seems to put weight again on speculation of a Dodge Barracuda return. As far as they can tell, the Barracuda name will return as early as the 2021 model year. It is also speculated to replace the Challenger muscle car instead of run alongside it in the Dodge product portfolio. Lastly, the new coupe will allegedly have an independent rear suspension accompanied by magnetic dampening.
Speculation on top of speculation
It is important to stress here that a lot of the HotCar article is speculation based on unnamed sources in forums. So, the validity of this information has to be taken with a grain of salt. However, it is not unusual to have an auto manufacturer play with a project idea for a few years in the conceptual stage. Things can inadvertently leak out to the forums in that timeframe. But, keep in mind that a concept stage idea and having a business case for a concept’s profitability are two different things. One can lead to the other, but not always.
More questions about the new Barracuda muscle car
Having said all that, a Dodge Challenger has been around a long time in one variation or another. Even though it is still loved by the consumer, as sales show it outselling the Camaro, the time may be nearing to pass the baton to Challenger’s successor. Will it be a Giulia based coupe, or smaller, like the old Eclipse, Laser, and Talon? Too much is unknown at this point. It would be great to see the name of the Barracuda return, and even greater to see a limited edition ‘Cuda version. But, why would an automaker kill off a nameplate that is doing well in the horsepower wars at this time? Why not just bring out the new model and continue the Challenger name? So many questions and, sadly, very little verifiable information.