Insiders have revived the possibility that the Dodge Challenger will move to a new name when it shifts from its current dimensions to the “LA” body sometime during calendar-year 2014.
Sources originally said that there would be a new SRT or Dodge Barracuda , either replacing the Challenger, or supplementing it with a lighter car (the latter has been abandoned in favor of a joint project with Alfa Romeo ).
Almost certainly, though, we are simply seeing the results of lingering, uncorrected names in Chrysler databases. Even as the 2015 Chrysler 200 was being prepared for launch, the name “Chrysler Sebring” was still being used in at least one system.
The Challenger mid-cycle change, from the LC to an LA body, is needed to use an eight-speed automatic transmission. Compared with the Mercedes-design five-speed, the ZF eight-speed dramatically increases gas mileage and acceleration. The big Chrysler 300 with the eight-speed and V6 actually matches the 0-60 times of the 2006 Charger Daytona Hemi with the five speed, while increasing highway mileage to 31 mpg.
The eight-speed and an upgraded interior and electronics architecture should help Challenger in its sales battle with Camaro and Mustang, while increasing Chrysler’s overall gas-mileage figures. The changes may also allow Challenger (or Barracuda?) buyers to upgrade to the features and options currently enjoyed by the cheaper Dodge Dart.