Introduced in 2008, the current Dodge Challenger is one of the oldest new cars on the American market. It’s not ready to retire, and documents published by Canadian union Unifor confirm it will remain in production until at least 2023. Better yet, the company announced it will release several new versions of the car in the coming years.
Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) narrowly avoided a costly strike by signing a new three-year agreement with Unifor, the union that represents most of its Canadian workers. It pledged to inject $1.58 billion Canadian (about $1.2 billion U.S.) into its local operations while creating 2,000 new jobs in the nation. Some of that money will be allocated to the Brampton Assembly factory located on the outskirts of Toronto, where it will be used to build three new variants of Dodge’s Charger and Challenger models.
Details about what the company has in store weren’t included in the release, but Dodge has shown it’s capable of mustering an unusually high level of creativity when it comes to keeping the Challenger and the Charger fresh. Hellcat, Demon, T/A 392, and Super Stock models have joined the range in recent years, and its efforts have paid off, as 60,997 units of the Challenger were sold in the United States in 2019. It even outsold the Camaro and the Mustang during the third quarter of the year. Annual Charger sales jumped by 21% to 96,935 units in 2019.
With that said, Dodge’s definition of a new variant is murky. It could be alluding to a trim level, an option package, a limited-edition model, or a face-lifted version. Regardless, we’re betting they’ll be exceptionally powerful.
Chrysler will continue to build the 300 in Brampton through 2023, too, but there’s no word on what the future has in store for the sedan. It’s also relatively old, but it’s not faring nearly as well as its Dodge-badged siblings. Sales fell to 29,213 units in 2019, a 37% drop compared to 2018, and the lineup was pared down for 2021.
Moving west, the Windsor factory will be retooled to build plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and it will be assigned at least one new model, but FCA didn’t reveal what it will be, or when we’ll see it. Industry whisperings claim that’s where the production version of the CES-friendly Chrysler Portal concept will be built.
If everything goes according to plan, the Dodge Challenger will be over 15 years old when it retires, so someone born the year it was released in will be able to legally drive a new example, depending on the learner’s permit laws where they live. Reaching 15 isn’t unheard of: Jeep’s original Wagoneer was built in various forms from 1962 to 1991, the Citroën 2CV lasted from 1948 to 1990, East Germany’s Trabant P601 puttered along from 1964 to 1990, and the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle was seemingly eternal. Old automotive age is rare in the 21st century, however.
One of the oldest vehicles sold new in America is the Nissan Frontier, which entered production in 2004 and remains available new in 2020. It hasn’t changed much since, at least not visually, and its replacement is right around the corner. Other veterans include the Toyota Tundra (2006), the Nissan 370Z (2008), and the Toyota Land Cruiser (2007), though the latter is allegedly on its way out for good. Globally, the Lada Niva feels like it’s from a past geological epoch. Sales started in 1977, and it’s still sold in 2020; it was even recently updated.