Many see the US of A as home to the rear-wheel, V8 powered muscle car. While that is very true, on the other side of the globe, America has a formidable challenger. And they’ve been building RWD V8 super saloons while we sleep.
Australia has a nearly unmatched love affair with a V8 powered everything. Utes, sport wagons, sedans and coupes. We’ve seen them all from Holden and local rival, Ford. But, with the news of local manufacturing coming to an end in 2017, the beloved Zeta-based Holden performance sedans and their variants head to an early grave.
That’s where Dodge is conjuring its invasion.
Much like how former Pontiac customers have flocked to the brand, Dodge sees a wide-open market for customers missing out on their stonkin’ V8-powered vehicles. CarAdvice spoke with Pat Dougherty, FCA Australia president and CEO, and it’s not a matter of if, but when.
“Right now, it’s just a matter of… can we get on board with the next generation of Dodge, or can we do it before then? That’s the question right now,” Dougherty said.
“[Challenger and Charger] for now are the first we would do, certainly. On a ‘going forward’ basis, I think there’s some other products that Dodge will be contemplating, that we’d like to be part of as well,” he remarked.
Dodge has been given the green light within FCA to become the company’s go-to performance brand, something that should go over well with Australian customers as they yearn for replacements to their Commodores and Falcons.
It sounds like come a next-generation Charger/Challenger duo, due around 2018 just in time for Aussie auto manufacturing’s death, Oz will be hit with very tempting propositions from the brand.
“From a performance standpoint, it would definitely be exciting for Dodge. The current Charger in North America would fill a void here that would… look, Holden and Ford aren’t completely vacating the performance segment, they’re just not going to develop them here,” Dougherty said.
Talk about hitting the nail on the head. If there isn’t a new, performance sedan project lurking the shadows, Dodge may find a lot of love down under. Add in the possibility of Walkinshaw backed HSV building right-hand drive Ram utes for the country, and it only adds to what could be a newfound love affair.
“From our standpoint, it probably puts us more on a level playing field, so that’s a lot more exciting for us.”