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Why Are the Dodge Challenger & Chrysler 300 Being Discontinued?

The automobile industry introduces new cars every year. In most cases, these are next-generation models of existing vehicles. Sometimes, a new concept arrives with a new name, look, equipment, and technology. And unfortunately, each year, we also see cars leave the manufacturing scene, usually due to poor sales. That’s the nature of the auto industry.

But that begs the question of why, after the 2023 production year, Dodge will cease production of the Challenger and Charger, and Chrysler plans to discontinue the 300 sedan. These vehicles have been staples of their respective lines, achieving notable sales milestones as well as an almost cult-like following. However, several factors have led to the ultimate demise of these cars.

Lower Carbon Footprint

As the electric vehicle (EV) segment continues to surge with new cars, powerful engines, and long ranges, the internal combustion engine (ICE) appears threatened with extinction. In Europe, strict regulations govern the auto industry. Failing to adhere to these rules can incur costly fines. However, manufacturers can avoid penalties by purchasing carbon credits from EV manufacturers. Stellantis, the parent company of Dodge and Chrysler, paid over $350 million for carbon credits last year alone.

There’s no denying that the Charger and Challenger vehicles have gas-guzzling engines. In some models, the supercharged V-8 power puts out over 700 horsepower. Charger and Challenger vehicles have captured the love and affection of classic muscle car enthusiasts for their power and classic design. And the Chrysler 300 is no slouch, either.

Rise in EV Popularity

The global shift to EVs has made the ICE engine less desirable to drivers now that manufacturers continue significantly advancing charging and battery technology. As a result, these EVs can travel farther than ever on a single charge and recharge faster. Service and maintenance are simpler too.

EVs began as an option for drivers who wanted to go green, but the technology was new and the market small. As a result, the first EVs cost more to build. So to make them more economical, automakers didn’t install premium features.

The economic fit and finish, combined with limited battery capacity and driving range, hampered the segment until recent years. However, today’s advancements allow for a less costly build and much longer ranges. As a result, EV automakers have improved their exterior style and interior comfort features to appeal to everyone.

And the EV powertrain now has performance capabilities that rival and surpass ICE engines from leading brands like Dodge. It isn’t uncommon for a dual-motor EV to sprint to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. And they do it quietly, with zero tailpipe emissions.

What’s Next for Dodge?

The days of roaring supercharged V-8 engines may be leaving us, but the Dodge Challenger and Charger names will likely live on, according to Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. Dodge plans to launch an EV in 2024 that could have the Challenger or Charger name on it. It won’t be powered by a V-8, but insiders believe it will perform regardless.

The instantly recognizable features of these cars will carry on too. The Dodge brand has captured old-school gearheads and modern muscle-car enthusiasts, so Dodge will likely retain the famous facades’ character. Most industry experts believe they’ll have some modern tweaks but remain unmistakably a Dodge.

In addition, Dodge kept its Street and Racing Technology (SRT) division, integrating it into its global engineering department. Last year, Dodge unveiled its Charger Daytona SRT, an all-electric muscle car, at the Stellantis EV Day, teasing the market with the future of Dodge power. EVs, by nature, are mostly silent, but Dodge promises a first-of-its-kind exhaust system that rivals the gas-powered SRT Hellcat’s roar.

Dodge has managed the discontinuation with a solid plan that includes celebrating the two vehicles’ heritage. They’ve created seven special edition cars that pay homage to the most popular generations. And they’ve tagged every 2023 model with a “Last Call” plaque installed under the hood.

Dodge even went so far as to institute a new dealer allocation process. Instead of making orders available throughout the year, Dodge will simultaneously release the 2023 Charger and Challenger vehicles to dealerships. This new allocation process will help buyers find and get their desired car.

Dodge manufactures the Charger and Challenger vehicles from its Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. When the 2023 model year production ends, it will end a 20-year run of muscle cars out of Brampton. Stellantis has yet to reveal what they plan to make in its Brampton facility next. But they did announce plans to invest $2.5 billion in the plant and another nearby facility.

What’s Next for Chrysler?

Chrysler’s iconic 300 sedan is also retiring after the 2023 model year. After the initial announcement, many Chrysler fans hoped to see the final run of the 300 powered by the Stellantis Hellcat engine. Sadly, that dream didn’t come true.

However, Chrysler isn’t letting it go quietly. The limited edition 300C has a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine with an impressive 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. Early estimates have it racing to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and boasting a top speed of 160 mph.

Chrysler made several upgrades to support that additional power, including Brembo brakes, an adaptive damping system, a limited-slip rear differential, an active exhaust system, and 20-inch alloy wheels. Exterior flourishes include special badging and a rear spoiler.

The interior of the 300C gets premium leather seats, carbon-fiber trim, heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and an 8.4-inch touch screen.

It’s unsurprising to hear that Chrysler is discontinuing the 300. Reports have indicated Chrysler was working on an electric sedan for at least a year with the intention of replacing the 300. Industry insiders say the replacement for the Chrysler 300 will be made in partnership with an upcoming electric sedan from Dodge.

The replacement will be the second Chrysler EV after the all-electric Chrysler Airflow crossover, which is slated for a 2025 arrival. Chrysler plans for their upcoming EVs to use an 800-volt architecture and have up to 442 horsepower from three available electric motors. The estimated range is in the ballpark of 500 miles.

Explore These Legendary Cars Before They’re Gone

At Marion Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, we know how important the Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Charger have been to customers over the years. That’s why we’re both sad to say farewell but happy to celebrate their impressive histories. If you want to get one of the last vehicles made with these nameplates, we invite you to browse our inventory online.

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