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Muscle-car sales to decide Dodge Challenger arrival

Dodge this: The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are both available to Aussies with V8 powertrains, but the Dodge Challenger outguns both thanks to its 362kW/644Nm 6.4-litre motor.

FCA Australia watching Mustang, Camaro as it studies Dodge Challenger intro

4 Sep 2018

FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia is keeping a close eye on the local sales of the recently refreshed Ford Mustang and imminent Chevrolet Camaro muscle cars before it makes a decision to resurrect its Dodge brand with the introduction of the Challenger and Charger performance cars.
FCA Australia president and chief executive Steve Zanlunghi told GoAuto in an exclusive interview that the company would closely monitor interest in the rival muscle-car pair before forming a business plan to bring the Challenger and Charger Down Under.
“We are looking very closely at what’s going on with (Ford) Mustang, as well as what will happen with (Chevrolet) Camaro, because both of those vehicles sit on opposite sides of the spectrum,” he said.
“In other markets they sit together. They’ve taken two totally different strategies (in Australia). One is to play in the mainstream, which is the Mustang, and the one is the Camaro that (will) play at the high end.”
Although both Mustang and Camaro are powered by naturally aspirated V8 engines that send drive to the rear wheels, Ford’s factory right-hand-drive offering kicks off from $62,990 while the Camaro is expected to be priced from around $90,000 due to local right-hook conversion work.
Powering the Mustang is a 5.0-litre Coyote V8 that produces 339kW/556NM, while the 6.2-litre bent-eight in the Camaro outputs an identical power figure but lifts torque to 617Nm.
Meanwhile, the closest rival available in Dodge’s stable is the Challenger coupe that uses a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 – the same engine under the bonnet of SRT grades of the local Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 – developing 362kW/644Nm in American-spec form.
A flagship supercharged 6.2-litre Hellcat is also available that produces 527kW/881Nm, but expect outputs to be revised down locally due to lower fuel grades.
Dodge’s current third-generation Challenger has been on sale in the US since 2008, while the mechanically related Charger that is available with the same engines has been around since 2011, meaning a model refresh is imminent.
When asked if FCA Australia had enough influence to call for a factory RHD Challenger and Charger, Mr Zanlunghi said it would depend on the strength of the business case.
“We’re a major OEM and if we can make the business case with the volumes and the demand is there, we can bring any of our vehicles to this market,” he said.
“I think it’s worth seeing which business model (works) and how it plays out here, and then we can make some decisions on whether it’s worth the trip or not.”
In early June, FCA announced that it was still committed to the Dodge brand in North America, with its product focus shifting to sportscars and performance models.

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