Dodge Challenger Soldiers On As Retro-Styled Cars Are Still In Demand

Like with fashion, design trends in the automotive industry tend to be cyclical, as proven by all the retro-themed cars on sale in the last 20 years.

Despite many iconic nameplates built around retro designs, few have proven to be as popular as the third-generation Dodge Challenger, launched in 2008 and still putting up very strong numbers, while undergoing only minor cosmetic changes along the way.

The automaker quickly realized that the Challenger’s timeless looks, recurrent special editions, frequent color changes and constant horsepower add-ons make for a terrific recipe. As it stands, Autonews reports that the Challenger has even managed to outsell its two muscle car rivals from Ford and Chevrolet for the month of October.

Going forward, it could very well end the year with an all-time sales record, thanks in part to ultra-popular versions like the SRT Hellcat and Demon.

Model Year Renaissance

To be fair, the Challenger is far from being the only retro-styled car that’s proven successful in the U.S. these past couple of decades.

In fact, here’s a list of nameplates that fit that mold, although some performed a lot better than others: 2001-05 Ford Thunderbird (64,377 units), 2000-03 BMW Z8 (2,382 units), 2005-Present Ford Mustang (1,383,665 units), 1997-2019 VW Beetle (768,261 units), 1999-2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser (1,050,281 units), 1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler (10,741 units), 2010-present Fiat 500 (189,430 units), 2003-06 Chevrolet SSR (23,479 units), 2005-11 Chevrolet HHR (526,813 units), 2001-Present Mini Cooper (663,162 units), 2009-Present Chevrolet Camaro (744,186 units), 2016-Present Fiat 124 Spider (10,087 units), 2005-14 Toyota FJ Cruiser (222,254 units), 2011-2015 Mercedes SLS AMG (2,734 units).

As you can see, very few of these models can hang with the Challenger as far as U.S. buyers are concerned. By moving approximately 518,677 units since 2008, the Challenger has proven that it is clearly among the most beloved retro-themed cars available today, and if you exclude the Mini, you could also argue that the Dodge is also the most retro-looking among all these nameplates.

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  • Kagan

    They could do some smaller design changes and it will go for another 10 years.

    Hire me!

    • Bash

      I really hope not, I’ve had it with this design.

      • Kagan

        That is what I say, just smaller design changes by my means doesn’t just mean new colour or new emblem, it means a bit more. Of course you are fed up because you have dozenzs of them overthere but with small changes it could look a bit more tasty.

        • Andrewthecarguy

          Good points. I’d say make a convertible now and it will sustain the demand.

      • SetNick

        It is time for a change and won’t come anytime soon till they figure out how to make that gem of an Alfa chassis something they can use across the entire line. That’s my “inside” cents.😁

        • Bash

          That is the sad truth.

  • Blade t

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. .Look what happened to the Camaro. .

  • RysterARCEE

    If only they could improve the crash test rating. It rates poor in a few very important IIHS tests.

    • Kagan

      Never because new plattform needed. That is the price you pay to have it cheap! That goes for mustang to even if it is new.

  • ErnieB

    I think it still looks great! Just make the barracuda and make that a transitional model with a slightly newer design.. or not..

  • FordMopar

    Timeless classic….. Still makes me turn my head to check out anywhere I go.

  • Craig

    The Challenger is arguably one of the best looking cars made. it should be changed? Why? To make it NOT one of the best looking cars made?

  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    It’s what Chrysler typically do; release a car that everyone likes and keep it in production for a decade where it is no longer competitive. I suppose they simply don’t have the money to redo it on the guilia platform.

  • Bob

    This looks cooler than the Mustang and Camaro. That said, they shouldn’t rest on their laurels. An evolutionary upgrade, one that respects what people like about this, is recommended. What about something along the lines of that ‘Cuda?

    • goodtoberight1

      The Challenger looks like a bus when parked next to a Mustang.

  • MarketAndChurch

    Dodge needs a smaller retro muscle car alongside the Challenger, and than, a retro roadster.

  • Kagan

    mercedes sls was not retro!

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