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Is a Barracuda still on?

by David Zatz on

As the world grips both recession and pandemic, it seems insane that FCA would be working on a new Barracuda coupe, to compete better against the 6,000-US-sales-per-month Mustang and 4,000-sales-per-month Camaro. But the rumors are flying, and maybe they’re even true.

A Barracuda, basically a lightweight version of the Challenger, would be closer in size to the Alfa Romeo Giulia than today’s big Charger-based coupes. The base power would almost certainly come from a four-cylinder, while the biggest engine might be a twin-turbo straight-six; or it could be the “usual” 707-horsepower Hellcat V8. Due to the low volumes, a stick-shift might not make the cut.

Back in December 2017, Allpar predicted such a vehicle, arriving around 2022-23, and accompanying the next-gen Challenger. One rumor had it being made in small numbers in Italy, alongside the Giulia, which seemed unlikely then and still seems unlikely now. The car was being planned in both coupe and convertible form (the Challenger was reportedly designed for easy convertible production, but that never happened). The Hellcat was “pencilled in” for the top engine. It would likely have an electric motor for quicker acceleration with the four-cylinder.

Both the existence of the car and the name were still undecided, as far as we could tell, at that point. As we said back in 2017, “The company could downsize the Challenger instead of having two coupes, or ignore the niche entirely, or create a new name, or dredge up another sporty-sounding Dodge name (Daytona, Super Bee, Magnum, Nitro, Rebel, Shadow… but not Lancer, which Mitsubishi’s picked up).”

Current rumors claim the Dodge Barracuda will have an independent rear suspension, magnetic damping, and a low ride height. None of these would be surprising; the Challenger rides relatively high, but it’s a big car, and the Barracuda would be smaller. Chances are any Barracuda or next-gen Challenger would have many architecture choices in common with the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

The main credible reason for doing a Barracuda would be reinvigorating Dodge—making it clear that there is something really new. The small-coupe market is too small for anything but maybe the Mustang to be profitable.

Will the recession, switch to CUVs, pandemic, and merger with PSA derail any hopeful thoughts of a Barracuda? We’d guess they would, yes. But who knows?

Lucid Air and Ralph GillesLeft: Dodge design study. Right: Lucid’s electric car.

Our long-standing Dodge Barracuda page carries some evidence,  speculative renderings (though we suspect it would appear more like the design study recently shown by Ralph Gilles), and various hints.  Check it out—and remember, we were there first! (Unless it doesn’t pan out, then feel free to credit some other site.)


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