Canadian Dodge dealers — who have gone without new product for years and were living in uncertainty after FCA became Stellantis — are breathing a little easier after introductions of the new 2023 Hornet compact crossover as well as a performance electric halo concept vehicle.
Retailers had been eager to learn more about Stellantis’ electrification strategy that was announced early this year, said Mike McManes, dealer principal at South Trail Chrysler in Calgary.
“With Stellantis, there was a lot of unknowns for so long with where they were going to be. And all of the sudden, they did make some announcements, so it’s like, you know what, I think we’re in pretty good hands.
“Knowing that they are going to be in the mix, because that’s what the market thinks they want, it’s nice to know that we do have [EV] technology within the corporation.”
On Aug. 17, Dodge unveiled the battery-electric Charger Daytona SRT Concept as a potential future muscle car for the brand. The company had previously said production of the current gasoline-powered Challenger and Charger will end when the plant in Brampton, Ont., retools for new product in 2024.
The EV concept was unveiled a day after the Hornet, which will be available as a plug-in hybrid. It will also be the first electrified Dodge performance model.
While the fate of the current Charger and Challenger appears to be sealed, “We’re looking at the next-generation Charger and Challenger moving to Windsor [Assembly],” Sam Fiorani of U.S.-based AutoForecast Solutions said in a Sept. 9 Automotive News Canada Podcast. With a new battery plant being built nearby, electrification of the two cars “makes the most sense,” he said. “Charger and Challenger are just part of the package.”