Released for 2008, the current-generation Dodge Challenger remains America’s favorite muscle car in spite of its age. Sales increased by 1% in 2022, and the big coupe ended the year ahead of the Ford Mustang while outselling the Chevrolet Camaro by significant margin.
Dodge sold 55,060 units of the Challenger in 2022, up from 54,314 in 2021. To add context, the company’s annual sales totaled 190,795 cars in 2022 including 80,074 examples of the Charger (its best-selling model) and merely 55,433 units of the Durango (a 16% drop from 2021). For those keeping track of zombie cars, Dodge also sold 194 units (!) of the Journey, four examples of the Dart, and a single Viper.
While the original Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro were designed as pony cars, the current-generation models are generally lumped into the muscle car category and marketed as the Challenger’s direct rivals. Sticking to this logic, the Challenger easily outsold its rivals: 47,566 of the Mustang found a home in 2022, down from 52,414 in 2021, and Chevrolet sold 24,652 examples of the Camaro, up from 21,893 in 2021. Both models are offered as a coupe and as a convertible (the Challenger is coupe-only; at least from the factory).
The Challenger’s success defies most conventional business models: The average car doesn’t live to see its 15th birthday, let alone celebrate it by outselling its main rivals. It also performed better than numerous mainstream models including the Jeep Cherokee (40,322 units), the Jeep Renegade (27,549 units), the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV (38,120 units combined), and the Nissan Leaf (12,025 units). Age isn’t the only impressive factor here: The Challenger competes in a shrinking segment of the industry that many of Dodge’s rivals have given up on.
In spite of its success, the Challenger has nearly reached the end of its life. Dodge confirmed it will can the model before the end of 2023, and most sources agree that a direct replacement isn’t in the pipeline. Instead, its spot in the range will be filled by the production version of the electric Charger Daytona SRT concept unveiled in 2022. EVs remain a niche in our market, and the new coupe will inevitably cost more than the model it replaces due to its drivetrain, so it will be interesting to see if Dodge can continue beating Ford and Chevrolet — especially as production of the new Mustang ramps up. As for the Camaro, it sounds like the heritage-laced nameplate will morph into a sub-brand.