Dodge expects hot sales for the first two years with its new Challenger sport coupe and has built a business plan in which the car will make money over its life cycle if sales fall off then.The forecast is refreshingly realistic. Performance coupes, with the notable exception of the evergreen Ford Mustang, generally sell strongly for a couple of years, then fall sharply as new models take the spotlight in the trend-driven market segment. Despite decades of history, most automakers seem surprised when their new coupes follow that pattern, making Dodge's strategy refreshingly realistic.
Chrysler expects to sell 20,000 to 30,000 Challengers a year once it has the full model line in production. Chrysler will build a limited edition of 6,400 425-horsepower Challenger SRT8 versions for the 2008 model year. The full model line hits the road this fall as 2009 models, adding a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and 370-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Production of 2009 Challengers begins this summer at Chrysler's Brampton, Ontario, plant.
The Challenger's projected sales graph looks like a hockey stick, level for a couple of years and then declining.