As much as driving enthusiasts like to talk about the latest performance numbers and technical features, we have to remember that our favorite cars have to sell in sufficient numbers in order to stay on the market. And not just sell in their first model year, or their third, but their fifth.
To illustrate this market necessity, and because there hasn’t been much new to say recently about the Challenger, we present the Chrysler sales numbers from August which were just announced. Here is the Challenger, introduced in 2008, in its sixth year, setting a sales record for the month of August and winning a recognition award from their owners.
Chrysler Press Release follows. Challenger news highlighted in red.
Chrysler Group LLC Reports August 2012 U.S. Sales Increased 14 Percent; Best August Sales in Five Years
- Best August sales since 2007
- 29th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains
- Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands each post sales increases in August compared with same month a year ago
- FIAT brand sets all-time sales record with 34 percent increase
- FIAT brand introduces the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo, the fourth model in U.S. product lineup
- Chrysler brand sales up 25 percent; best August sales since 2007
- Chrysler 300 flagship sedan records 65 percent increase; best August sales since 2007
- Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan sets sales record for month of August
- Chrysler Town & Country posts 30 percent sales increase; best August since 2006
- Ram Truck brand sales up 18 percent compared with same month last year
- Ram pickup truck sales up 19 percent in August as Light Duty, Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab models post sales gains
- Best Ram pickup truck August sales since 2007
- Dodge brand sales up 13 percent; best August sales since 2005
- Sales of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart up 294 percent compared with previous month as production ramp up continues in the Belvidere, Ill. assembly plant
- Dodge Journey full-size crossover sets an all-time sales record
- Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan and Dodge Challenger muscle car set sales records for month of August
- Dodge Grand Caravan sales up 35 percent; best August sales since 2005
- Jeep brand sales increase 5 percent in August; best August since 2003
- Jeep Wrangler sets sales record for month of August
- Jeep Grand Cherokee sales up 13 percent compared with same month a year ago; best August sales since 2006
- Chrysler Group’s revamped product lineup and extensive quality investments make it the most improved automaker in Strategic Vision’s 2012 Total Quality Index study
- Dodge Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Fiat 500 win Strategic Vision 2012 Total Quality Awards
- Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger win AutoPacific’s 2012 Ideal Vehicle Awards based on owners’ ratings of their 2012 cars and trucks
The Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat brands each recorded year-over- year sales gains in August compared with the same month a year ago. The Fiat brand’s 34 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand for the month. August marked Chrysler Group’s 29th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.
The Dodge brand produced three record-setting models while registering the largest sales volume of any Chrysler Group brand in August. The Dodge Journey full-size crossover, the most versatile and affordable crossover in America, set an all-time sales record while the sporty Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan and Dodge Challenger muscle car each set a sales record for the month of August.
The FIAT, Chrysler and Jeep brands also produced record-setting models in August. The Fiat 500 set an all-time sales record with its 34 percent sales gain while the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan and the Jeep Wrangler established sales records for the month of August.
“Our Iron Man streak continued last month as we posted our 29th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales. “Our hard work over the past few years is starting to pay some dividends in our sales growth, quality awards and profitability. Not to mention, an incredibly resilient U.S. new vehicle sales industry doesn’t hurt either.”
Chrysler Group’s 14 percent increase in August was driven in part by sales of the all-new Dodge Dart compact sedan (3,045 units). Dart sales were up 294 percent in August compared with the previous month of July, as the Belvidere, Ill. assembly plant continues to ramp up Dart production.
The Chrysler 300 flagship sedan, with its substantial 65 percent increase, contributed to Chrysler Group’s August increase, as did the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, each posting double-digit percentage gains for the month. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a 13 percent hike, had its best August in six years while the Ram pickup truck extended its lengthy streak of consecutive year-over-year sales gains with a 19 percent increase in August.
Chrysler Group finished the month with a 66-days supply of inventory (362,407 units). U.S. industry sales figures for August are projected at an estimated 14.6 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).
FIAT brand sales, up 34 percent compared with the same month a year ago, were an all-time sales record in August. Sales of the Fiat 500 Cabrio were up 37 percent versus the same month last year, while the Fiat 500 Abarth, the ultimate high-performance small car, recorded a 22 percent increase compared with sales during the previous month of July. The Fiat 500 was one of three Chrysler Group models to rank highest in their segment in Strategic Vision’s 2012 Total Quality Index in August. The Fiat 500 was ranked first in the Small Car segment.
The FIAT Brand introduced the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo in August, the fourth model in the expanding FIAT brand product lineup and one of the most affordable turbo-charged vehicles in America. The Fiat 500 Turbo features a 135-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine, sport-tuned suspension, track-proven brakes, dynamic exterior design and sport-styled interior. The new Fiat 500 Turbo answers the call for enthusiasts who are drawn to the Italian style of the Fiat 500 but want more power and performance for their daily drive.
Chrysler brand sales were up 25 percent, the brand’s best August sales in five years and its 14th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. Sales of the Chrysler 300 flagship sedan were up 65 percent, the full-size sedan’s best August sales in five years. The Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan contributed to the brand’s sales gain by setting a sales record for the month of August. The Chrysler Town & Country minivan, which offers families versatility, luxury, and convenience at a value, logged a double-digit sales increase, its best August sales in six years and second best sales month this year.
The Ram pickup truck extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 28-consecutive months in August. Sales of the Ram pickup truck, Chrysler Group’s volume leader, were up 19 percent in August compared with the same month a year ago. It was the pickup truck’s best August sales performance since 2007. Of the Ram 1500 sales, the regular cab pickups posted the largest percentage sales increase in August, while the crew cab trucks led in volume. The Ram Light Duty, Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab pickup trucks posted year-over-year sales increases in August. The Ram Cargo Van posted a 53 percent sales increase compared with the previous month of July.
The Ram Truck brand, which recorded its best August sales in four years, introduced its new 2013 Ram 1500 to the automotive media in August underscoring the model’s best-in-class fuel economy, state-of-the-art technology, and class-exclusive features. Production of the Ram begins this month and is expected to arrive in dealer showrooms in October.
Dodge brand sales increased 13 percent, the brand’s best August sales since 2005 and its second best sales month this year. Dodge brand sales of 47,348 units represented the largest sales volume of any Chrysler Group brand in August. Sales of the all-new Dodge Dart compact sedan soared 294 percent in its third month of sales. As Dart production continues to ramp up in the Belvidere, Ill. assembly plant, a full, multifaceted marketing campaign will launch this month, following the 90-second “How to Change Cars Forever” commercial that debuted in July.
As sales of the new Dart heat up, three Dodge models set sales records in August. The Dodge Journey, the most versatile and affordable crossover in America, set an all-time sales record with its hefty 58 percent increase in August. The sporty Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan and Dodge Challenger muscle car each set sales records for month of August. Not to be outdone by the passenger cars, the Dodge Grand Caravan had its best August in seven years. In fact, the Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans each logged double-digit sales increases in August.
The Dodge Charger took home a Strategic Vision 2012 Total Quality Award in the Large Car segment, complementing its 30 percent sales increase in August, while the Dodge brand was cited as the most improved brand in the industry.Jeep® Brand Jeep brand sales were up 5 percent, the brand’s best August sales in nine years and its 28th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The Jeep Wrangler, the brand’s volume leader in August, set a sales record for the month of August. Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the most awarded SUV ever, were up 13 percent, its best August sales in six years. Sales of the Jeep Liberty were up 15 percent in August compared with the same month last year. It was the Liberty’s best August since 2006.
The Grand Cherokee won a Total Quality Award in the Medium SUV segment from Strategic Vision in August. Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Index reflects all aspects of buying, owning and driving a vehicle as a holistic measure, and encompasses positive and negative experiences including reliability, driving excitement, emotional attachment and overall sales and service satisfaction.
We haven’t seen much in the way of forward movement from Dodge on the Challenger since it came out a couple of years ago… but that is about to change in an incremental way. Thanks to OntarioStreetCar.com, we have some leaked materials from the recent Chrysler dealer meetings (which also saw a 2013 Viper development mule revealed – on an Alfa Romeo platform!).
The severely out-dated V-6 engine is replaced with a 305-HP version of their new Pentastar V-6. Absolutely state-of-the-art, right down to direct injection (take that, Ford!). The base Hemi in manual transmission form goes to 379 HP and 410 torque. The SRT-8 version (now “SRT-392″) goes to 475 HP and 460 torque.
And while Dodge fanboys might be celebrating… they still have a car that is 400-600 pounds heavier than the equivalent Mustangs and 200 pounds and more heavier than the Camaro. That can’t be overcome without an entirely new generation of the platform… but then all the various versions of this car are for cruising anyway, not track events.
We are big fans of the handsome Challenger… it’s the best retro design of the big three musclecars. But unfortunately it is also too big and too heavy to be a serious driver’s car.
Nevertheless, good work, Chrysler.
Engineering image. Note the slightly taller manifold and very large shorty headers. And note that the ugly engine cover is finally gone!
Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, and Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Dodge introduced the “Mopar ’10” this morning, a special edition 2010 Dodge Challenger. Only 500 will be built, all in black, with accents in Mopar Blue, Red, or Silver. A new cold air intake provides additional power, and a new handling pack with front and rear shock tower braces contribute to handling precision. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be available. The engine is the standard 5.7 R/T Hemi, not the SRT engine. Price is $38,000 for the automatic, $39,000 for the manual.
Our take on this announcement: it’s about time. As we blogged a couple of weeks ago, there has been no Challenger news for enthusiasts in several months. This announcement and availability in August show that there is some passion for the car left inside the new Chrysler. And while we know the 2011 Challenger gets a new V-6, it’s a competitive engine in a non-competitive and far too heavy chassis that does not have the dynamics of the Mustang or Camaro. The 2011 Hemi 5.7 liter engine is essentially unchanged – although perhaps (it wasn’t said) that car will get the cold air option from this special edition.
So news like this is timely and will be appreciated by Mopar fans. Dodge video and press image follow.
Note the special “Mopar” logo in the video – this may be the start of a branding campaign much like BMW’s “M” or Ford’s “SVT”. There are also numerous small details that make this Challenger very special.
References on DrivingEnthusiast.net:
- Challenger Image Gallery: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?page_id=7180
- Website section: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-challenger/index.html (very high res images available)
- Challenger Blog: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?cat=59
- Challenger RSS feed: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?feed=rss2&cat=59
Disappointing… but an important publicity move for Chrysler and there will be a certain element who sees this as a plus for the Challenger.
The Challenger has comparatively just about zero press coverage when compared to the Camaro and the King-of-the-press-hill Mustang. Worse yet, the Challenger looses every single comparison against the Camaro and even the slower 2010 Mustang, much less the 2011 Mustang. There will be some news of a better V-6 in the next year (which will still be 25 horses down) and a larger V-8 for the SRT, but the car will still loose comparison tests. Challenger buyers will have to be attracted by what it is – which is image and sheer largeness. It’s hard to see where a new and smaller platform with less weight (or development funds) could come from. Bad news… just like the original Challenger. And too bad, it’s a great looking car.
Dodge introduced an interesting new video and set of images today to honor the soccer match between the United States and England. It features a trio of Challengers being led in battle against England in the War of Independence in 1776… led by a very determined George Washington.
Dodge Press Release follows:
The Dodge Brand Debuts New 60-Second Spot in Honor of 2010 FIFA World Cup Match Between USA and England
June 11, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich.
The Dodge Brand debuts their latest commercial featuring the 2010 Dodge Challenger. The new commercial, titled “Freedom,” was created in honor of the match between USA and England at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The 60-second spot airs Friday, June 11.
Dodge is a full line of cars, SUVs and MPVs that are agile, daring, sensible and inventive. The product line includes the Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Journey, Dodge Nitro and Dodge Viper SRT10®.
Dodge introduced two new vehicles for the 2009 model year: the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey, the brand’s first crossover vehicle and the 2009 Dodge Challenger, a modern-day American muscle car. Dodge also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the minivan during the 2009 model year. With more than 65 minivan-firsts introduced since 1983 and more than 12 million Dodge and Chrysler minivans sold, Chrysler Group LLC has solidified its leadership in the segment. J.D. Power and Associates further acknowledged this leadership by naming the Dodge Grand Caravan the Most Dependable Van for 2009. The 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan continues to set the mark in the minivan segment with unsurpassed fuel economy of 17 city / 25 highway mpg and minivan-first innovations including the segment’s only Stow ‘n Go® and Swivel ‘n Go® seating and storage systems. The 2010 Dodge Journey and 2010 Dodge Avenger (with ESC) also earned the 2009 Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS.
Edmunds INSIDE LINE http://www.insideline.com/dodge/challenger/2010/2010-dodge-challenger-srt-8-vs-1970-dodge-challenger.html tests a highly modified 1970 Challenger against the new Challenger SRT-8. So this isn’t the comparison test you might like to see, but it does show what heavy modifications can do for some older cars.
We haven’t heard much positive news about the Challenger recently – it gets regularly trounced in the tests against the Camaro and (2010 or 2011) Mustang. Despite a new and even larger engine coming in the future, it doesn’t look like any major improvement in it’s ratings will be possible on the current and very heavy chassis.
Dodge sponsored a Challenger get-together at the iconic Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank California on the 18th. One attendee was Jay Leno – world’s biggest car fan and nicest guy. See the site: http://www.engineblockparty.com/ Lots of Challengers in attendance, as well as some classic Fords.
Autoblog has the ultimate Challenger enthusiast’s blog posting – a tour of Hurst’s facility showing in detail how the Hemi Dodge Challenger is built. 26 high-res images from start to finish. Very good reading: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/how-its-made-hurst-hemi-dodge-challenger/2082871/
Sad – but we’ve seen several of these dealers ourselves and they don’t appear to be major movers and shakers. The worst thing is that Chrysler has an incredibly enormous supply of cars out on the lots and in the pipeline – along with a bunch sitting half-assembled in the shutdown plants.
Setting aside how Chrysler ever got this bad… how could it ever get fixed? Clearly the bankruptcy court is doing the right thing… despite the jackals at the union and certain creditors this company is going to be reborn in the right size – unless the dealers manage to sue and hold up the process for more than a few months. If Chrysler doesn’t exit bankruptcy in a very short period of time, it cannot restart.
More on MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30743464/
This new video illustrates an important point we’ve made on this blog about how future performance vehicles *must* change technologies – but *can* still increase performance and improve dynamics. The future is not at all dark for driving enthusiasts!
The video has the 1st-gen prototype of a Chrysler Corp electric vehicle, against an old-school and very traditional performance car. In a drag race held by the Los Angeles Times, the EV won.
The Challenger weighs well over 4000 pounds, and the EV is closer to a thousand less. The EV is a pre-production mule based on an adapted Lotus gasoline-engine product that isn’t sold in this country. The 1st-gen Chrysler electronics will certainly improve before production and are ultimately limited by battery technology as with other electric vehicles. Battery technology is certainly the #1 investment area in automotive research these days.
Chrysler’s strategy to show off it’s three electric vehicles at this point in time is interesting. Whether it’s to appeal to Nissan (a potential suitor, who itself hasn’t shown much in the electric field – yet) or to the Government for bailout purposes, it’s a smart move at this point in time.