Dodge recently warned that emissions regulations are killing the V8 engine. It reaffirmed this grim message, it clearly stated the V8 is on its way out, but it stressed electrification will make its breed of muscle cars more exciting.
“There hasn’t been a date drawn in the sand saying you’ll no longer be able to buy an iron block Hemi anymore, but everybody knows it’s coming and they want to enjoy [the engine] while they can,” stated Matt McAlear, Dodge’s head of sales operations, in an interview with Muscle Cars & Trucks. Not all is lost. “The replacements are going to be so much more exciting,” he added, without providing details about what his team has in store for the future.
Rumors about how the Charger and the Challenger (introduced in 2008) will evolve during the 2020s are rampant. One of the unverified reports claims the next-generation Challenger will be smaller and correspondingly lighter than its predecessor. In 2019, then-Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) boss Mike Manley announced some degree of electrification is inevitable. Tellingly, he also stated “what it isn’t going to be is a V8, supercharged, 700-horsepower engine” when asked about what would power the Challenger’s successor. Nothing suggests the recent merger with PSA to form Stellantis derailed those plans; if anything, it accelerates the FCA side’s drive to electrify.
In the meantime, Dodge will do what it can to satisfy the enthusiast community’s appetite for V8 engines.
“Everybody knows electrification is coming, we’ll reinvent the muscle car as far as Dodge is concerned. I’m extremely excited about where the future is going, but right now everybody is enjoying the bachelor party. This is the last hurrah,” McAlear summed up. In other words: If you want a new Hemi-powered car, buy one while you still can.
Luckily, Dodge isn’t quite ready to stuff the V8 into the darkest locker of automotive history. Documents published in late 2020 by Canadian trade union Unifor confirm the Challenger will remain in production until at least 2023. The Brampton Assembly factory located on the outskirts of Toronto that builds the Challenger and the Charger will benefit from a $1.58 billion Canadian (around $1.31 billion U.S.) investment that will partly be used to build three new variants of both cars. Dodge’s definition of a new variant isn’t clear, and it could range from an option package to a facelift.