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Charger, Challenger near the top of the charts

by Patrick Rall on

Since the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger are never on the list of the best-selling vehicles in America, many people write them off as being unsuccessful. However, when you look close at how they compare to similar performance-minded cars, they are both towards the top of the sales charts. In fact, the Dodge Charger is the second bestselling rear wheel drive car in America – trailing only the Ford Mustang.

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You read that right. The only rear wheel drive car sold in America to get bigger sales than the Dodge Charger was the Ford Mustang, during the first half of 2016.

Challenger is Third Among Sporty Coupes

Before getting into the success of the Dodge Charger, let’s take a quick look at the Dodge Challenger. It’s often overshadowed by the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang, which generally beat the Dodge each month in sales. However, with the new Chevrolet Camaro in a serious sales slump, the Dodge Challenger has been second in the segment for two months, and only trails the Camaro by around 2,200 units on the year, a gap which is now closing.

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Should the Camaro continue to slump and the Challenger continue to win the monthly battles, the Dodge could claim the second place spot in the annual muscle car race for the first time of the modern era. It will be a tough fight, but this year marks the first time that the Challenger has a real chance of finishing second in the annual race.

Even if that doesn’t happen, the Dodge Challenger will be not only the third bestselling muscle car – but also the third best selling car among all sporty coupes sold in America. The Challenger routinely beats a long list of two-door performance cars, including the Corvette, the Scion FRS, the Mazda Miata, and all of the sporty coupes from Lexus, BMW, Porsche, and everyone else.

Charger Tops Rear-Drive Sedans

During the first six months of 2016, Dodge has sold 50,324 Charger sedans. That’s down about 1% from the first half of 2015, but when you look at other large sedans in the Charger’s segment, only the Chevrolet Impala has moved more units this year (56,390). Ford has only sold 19,695 of their Taurus and Lincoln has only sold 18,138 cars, combining the MKZ and MKS.

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The Dodge Charger ranks second among large sedans, but if we focus on four-door cars with rear wheel drive, the Charger is king of the hill.

The competitors from General Motors include the Chevy SS, the Cadillac ATS (compact), the Cadillac CTS (midsized), and the Cadillac CT6. Chevy has sold only 1,613 Super Sport sedans this year, and all three rear wheel drive based Cadillac sedans (also sold in AWD, which is included in these figures) account for just 19,649 cars. In other words, the Dodge Charger outsells all of the GM rear wheel drive-based sedans, combined, and would still do so if GM doubled their sales.

Over at Ford, the only rear wheel drive based car is the Mustang, which is on its way to another muscle car sales title in 2016. Ford doesn’t have a direct competitor for the Charger, but the Taurus has been outsold by more than 2-to-1 by the muscular Dodge sedan.

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When you look at the European and Japanese brands, some of which have always focused on rear wheel drive-based platforms, the Charger still doesn’t have any real competition.

BMW has sold 26,157 3-Series sedans (their bestselling car in the US market), 17,428 5-Series sedans, and 4,197 7-Series sedans – for a total of 47,782 cars sold in the first half of 2016. The Dodge Charger is outselling all of the BMW 4-door cars, combined.

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What about Toyota? Lexus has a collection of four-door sedans with rear-drive platforms: the Lexus IS (compact), with 17,099 sales; the GS (midsized), with 7,452 sales; and the LS (large sedan) with 2,878 sales – for a total of 27,429 all together. The Dodge Charger is outselling all of the Lexus rear drive four-door sedans, combined.

Audi has sold 49,999 cars combined this year, including the A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Allroad and all of their various performance models – and the Charger’s total tops them all, combined.

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Nissan has no rear wheel drive sedans and while the Infiniti brand does have the Q50 and Q70, those two cars have only accounted for 23,401 units sold in 2016. Once again, the Charger doubles up the rear-drive sedan lineup of this company.

Mercedes has the most competition in rear-drive sedans, with their midsized C-Class moving 37,305 this year while the larger E-Class has moved 22,458 through June, but while the Charger can’t make any claims about beating multiple Mercedes vehicles combined, it still beats every car Daimler sells on a heads-up basis.

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While the Dodge Charger may not challenge the smaller and hotter selling cars which annually top the list of America’s bestselling vehicles (Camry, Fusion, Civic, etc), the Charger outsells literally every rear wheel drive vehicle sold in America other than the Mustang, and it outsells every large sedan other than the Impala. Most importantly, the Charger comfortably outsells every single four-door, rear wheel driver car sold in the USA.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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