Dodge has one of the industry's most engaged customer bases. That passion is a source of inspiration when it comes to the Charger sedan, an aging nameplate that Dodge has tried to keep fresh through the years with engine options, styling tweaks and special editions on a platform with roots dating to 2004.
The Charger's vocal fans have kept Dodge busy as it tries to cater to their wish lists, said Tim Kuniskis, FCA's head of passenger cars in North America.
The vehicle is assembled in Brampton, Ont., where about 3,400 people work.
These consumers have driven the progression of Dodge's muscle cars. Kuniskis said Dodge gave them the Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger because they wanted more horsepower.
In its latest nod to enthusiasts, Dodge is releasing the Charger Widebody in early 2020. It's not a redesign, but the car has new front and rear fascias with integrated fender flares, adding 3.5 inches over the wider wheels and tires. It follows in the footsteps of the Challenger, which also has received the Widebody treatment.
In the United States, Dodge set pricing for the Charger Scat Pack Widebody at US$47,490. The SRT Hellcat Widebody is US$71,140. All prices include shipping.
In Canada, the same vehicles, including shipping, cost C$61,840 and C$85,390, respectively.
"We just keep responding to what they're looking for in the marketplace, which is not a bad business model, right?" Kuniskis told Automotive News after unveiling the Charger Widebody in June. "If a customer is asking for it and we build it, they're going to buy it. We give the customers credit for coming up with all of this stuff, and they have no shortage of ideas."
As Dodge continues to field ideas from consumers, the question is how much longer it can tout the Charger in its current form before the car grows stale and sales suffer. For now, it continues to tick with a personality that stands apart from most other sedans.
In the United States — the biggest market for the vehicle — sales have been on an upswing for several months, with deliveries estimated as doubling in August from a year earlier after jumping at least 35 per cent in May and June. Sales were estimated to have increased at least 35 per cent in July, too. The vehicle is getting a boost from the Power Dollars promotion that offers a cash rebate worth US$10 for each unit of rated horsepower on Charger, Challenger and Durango models. That's US$7,070 on the 707-hp Charger SRT Hellcat, for example.
In Canada, the Power Dollars promotion is worth C$15 per unit of horsepower for total discount of C$10,065. Sales haven’t been up quite as much in Canada, but they have increased an estimated six per cent to 3,943 units through August.
Ken Thomas, operating partner of Northland Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in suburban Detroit, sold out of his Charger and Challenger Hellcats soon after the Power Dollars incentives began in August.