Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Challenger's power may not be pricey

Muscle car could start at $23,995



The new Challenger is a return to Chrysler's muscle-car days. A 2008 version is already in demand. Chrysler limited the first batch to 6,500.

Chrysler LLC plans to begin selling the 2009 Dodge Challenger in August for as little as $23,995, a top company executive announced.Steven Landry, Chrysler executive vice president for North American sales, said last week that prices for some versions of the new muscle car will go as high as $39,995 for the 2009 model year.

"The Dodge Challenger is just really hot," Landry said.

But later, Stuart Schorr, a Chrysler spokesman, worked to clarify Landry's remarks by saying that the final prices for the 2009 Challenger have not yet been set, and the executive's prices are "not in the current proposal." Schorr said a final decision should come within the next couple of months.

The new Challenger is a return to Chrysler's muscle-car days. Two model years are coming out this year.

The 2008 Challenger SRT8's base price is $37,320, and the automaker limited the number of vehicles it would make in the first batch to 6,500 -- even though it had almost 10,000 orders.

In August and September, Landry said, the 2009 Dodge Challenger will come out in three versions, including a 250-horsepower V6 car.

"The price sounds competitive," said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at the Power Information Network, a subsidiary of J.D. Power and Associates. "At 23, that opens it up, frankly, to most buyers that are interested in a muscle car and performance vehicle."

The big competitor is the Ford Mustang. The base sticker price for a Mustang with a V6 engine is $19,650.

The early version of the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 saw great interest.

The first vehicle off the assembly line went for $400,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction Event in Scottsdale, Ariz. The second vehicle off the line sold in an internal Chrysler dealer auction for $175,000.

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