Being one of the few MoPar people on this forum I guess it's my duty to keep you guys informed.
as reported in todays "Detroit News"
Chrysler is crashing the muscle-car party with plans to build a production version of the Dodge Challenger coupe that debuted as a retro-styled concept car in January at the Detroit auto show.
The automaker plans to herald the return of the Challenger at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona, Fla., on Saturday, according to people familiar with the plans.
The Challenger concept, a rear-wheel drive coupe, drew raves from enthusiasts for its old-school looks and growling 425-horsepower V-8 engine.
"It's a pure retro car," said Csaba Csere, editor in chief of Car and Driver magazine. "It's a dead ringer for the original 1970 Challenger."
Chrysler plans to build the Dodge Challenger off the same basic chassis as its rear-drive Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Both of those vehicles are built in Brampton, Ontario.
That will save both money and time. The Challenger could go into production by 2008, said one person familiar with the plans.
The Challenger is returning into what may be a new golden age for American muscle cars. The Ford Mustang has become a smash hit since a redesign last year that paid homage to classic versions of the pony car in the 1960s.
General Motors Corp. is widely expected to resurrect the Chevrolet Camaro -- which went out of production in 2002 -- in the next few years.
A striking concept version of the Camaro arguably drew even more attention and praise than the Challenger at the Detroit auto show this year.
Nostalgic made-in-Detroit sports cars are coming back at time when the flagging domestic auto industry could use a little of the old magic.
Chrysler designers drew inspiration from a 1970 Challenger parked in the studio as they created the concept version. Designers hewed closely to the original version but filed off some of the rough edges and added bigger wheels and a more refined interior. The concept sits on a 116-inch wheelbase, six inches longer than the original. And it's two inches wider, making it appear more squat and tough.
"The historical significance of the Challenger takes it back to the days when the Big Three dominated the highways," said Erich Merkle, an analyst with IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, who has closely followed the Challenger program. "The design represents a place where Japanese competitors can't follow."
Chrysler's top sales and marketing executive, Joe Eberhardt, has said in the past that a production version of the Challenger could be priced slightly higher than the Ford Mustang, which has a starting price of between $19,000 and $26,000 depending on engine choice and other options.
"One of the keys for Challenger will be pricing," Csere said. "It can't be priced too much higher than the Mustang or they won't be able to reach the sales volumes they need."
Merkle said he expects that the Challenger will only be offered with a V-8 engine, unlike the Mustang, which comes with both a V-6 and a V-8 option. He believes Dodge will sell about 30,000 to 35,000 Challengers beginning in late 2008.
"Essentially it will be a specialty vehicle," he said.
From Allpar thread, and apparently from the WSJ...
DODGE CHALLENGER GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR PRODUCTION
Tomorrow, Chrysler is expected to announce at a Nascar race in Daytona Beach, Fla., that it will produce a new V8-powered Dodge Challenger coupe styled after the 1970s muscle car of the same name, people familiar with the company's plans said. Although the car won't arrive in dealerships until next year, it will be featured in summer promotions that Chrysler hopes will pull customers into showrooms, these people said.
The announcement of the Challenger launch, which has been eagerly awaited by fans of the original muscle car, was moved forward by several months in hopes that it would create some buzz for Chrysler, these people said. Chrysler has struggled to separate itself from the negative news overshadowing its two ailing Detroit rivals, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.
The launch highlights some development and manufacturing advantages that have emerged for Chrysler recently. As part of its restructuring a few years ago, the car maker overhauled the way it designs and manufactures cars to cut time and cost.
The Challenger will be the fourth vehicle produced from the same components used to make Chrylser's hot-selling 300 sedan. While the first vehicle cost $1 billion or more to develop, the others each cost about a third of that, auto experts estimate. Chrysler will reap other savings because it will build all four of the cars on one production line at a plant in Brampton, Ontario.
Reusing parts also cut the time it takes to develop the car. Chrysler first showed a Challenger concept last January. At the same time, GM presented a concept for its own muscle car, a new Camaro, but that car is still at least two years from production