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The Ancient Dodge Challenger Now Sells More Than Twice What It Did When It Was New

Illustration for article titled The Ancient Dodge Challenger Now Sells More Than Twice What It Did When It Was New
Photo: Alanis King

The Dodge Challenger is a muscle car that’s been around in its current form since 2008, and has roots in 1990s Mercedes-Benz architecture. But Dodge sold more than twice the number of Challengers in the U.S. market in 2019 as it did in 2009, when the car still qualified as “new.” That makes the Dodge Challenger a modern marketing marvel, both for its sheer sales numbers and for making us all perpetually forget how old it is.

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Fiat Chrysler announced its Q4 and annual sales results on Friday, which listed Challenger sales at 14,298 quarterly and 60,997 annually. That’s roughly where sales were in 2018 as well, but the more important comparisons come when you look toward the beginning of the decade, around the time when the Challenger returned to the market for the 2008 model year.

Back then, when the car was actually “new” to the U.S. market, sales were less than half of what they are now. Here’s how Challenger sales have trended over the years, which can be easily summarized as “up”:

Data: FCA sales reports (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)
Data: FCA sales reports (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)
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Sales of the also-old Charger have risen, too, but not as much. The company sold 60,651 of them during the 2009 calendar year, compared to 96,935 in 2019.

The Challenger came to the U.S. market at a hard time for gas-guzzling fun cars, because it was just around the Great Recession. But the fact that it’s managed to not just stay relevant for more than a decade, but more than double its U.S. sales numbers, is a testament to just how obsessed we all are with wasteful, old, no-care muscle cars so long as Dodge keeps tossing more special editions and drag-strip monsters toward us. As of the first quarter of 2019, Challenger sales were ahead of the Chevy Camaro but behind the Ford Mustang, and the average buyer age for the car was 51.

No matter which crowds or age groups are buying the Challenger, though, it’s still being bought—by a whole lot of people. That’s a wild statistic for a vehicle so similar to the one that was on the market more than a decade ago, especially when the modern car industry claims to be all about “future technology” and “mobility.”

Staff writer, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

Why mess with success? It’s a comfortable car that can be had with a variety of HP flavors. It doesn’t always have to be about “riding on rails” handling. We’re undoubtedly heading towards an electric self driving future, so enjoy these types of cars while you can. 

I did my part in purchasing a 2019 Scat Pack in F8 green (for a summer toy). It’s a blast with the 6.4 Hemi, 6-speed manual and 3.90 gears. Handling is competent and it eats up the highway. Not Hellcat levels of craziness, but still plenty of power to get you into trouble.