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How Much Will Fiat S.p.A. Change the 2015 Dodge Challenger?

The 2014 Dodge Charger and Challenger are both striking designs, but Fiat Chrysler says big visual changes are in store for both models for 2015. The company will show off its overhauled 2015-model muscle cars in New York later this week. Photo credit: Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler  (NASDAQOTH: FIATY  ) is set to unveil overhauled versions of its iconic Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger muscle cars at this week's New York International Auto Show.

What should we expect?

Chrysler says that the Charger will get a "full-body makeover", while the Challenger -- which at least on the outside, hasn't changed much since its 2008 debut -- will be "new from the inside out". 

So will Chrysler's Italian partner Fiat mess with the icons of American muscle? Not likely, says Fool contributor John Rosevear. John will be in New York when Chrysler takes the wraps off of the new Challenger and Charger, and in this video he outlines what he expects to see when the covers come off on Thursday.

A transcript of the video is below.

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John Rosevear: Hey Fools, it's John Rosevear, senior auto analyst for The New York International Auto Show starts next week, media days are next Wednesday and Thursday, and we're expecting the automakers to unveil several interesting new models.

I'll be there with my Foolish colleague Rex Moore, we'll bring you a video report of the show's highlights at the end of each day, and we'll have a bunch of more in-depth reports for you over the next week or so after that.

One of the places we'll be checking in at is the Dodge stand. Chrysler said this week that they will be showing off updated versions of their famous muscle cars, the Dodge Charger sedan and the Dodge Challenger coupe.

The Challenger of course was introduced way back in 2008 and hasn't really had a lot of changes since, the exterior styling is unchanged, though the car itself has been refined and enhanced several times since then.

But Chrysler says the 2015 Challenger will be, and I quote, "new from the inside out", and it will feature "a new powertrain combination that is sure to get enthusiasts "abuzz."

We've heard some rumors about what might be in store for the Challenger, some folks who seem to know about these things are saying that just as the current Challenger draws its stylistic inspiration from the original 1970 Challenger, the 2015 model will draw inspiration from the 1971 model, which was similar to but different from the 1970 edition.

As for that new power train that will leave us "abuzz", we've been hearing for a while that Chrysler has been working on a supercharged version of its Hemi V8, it'll be 6.2 or 6.4 liters depending on which rumors you believe, and it's expected to be good for well over 600 horsepower which will put it right in the range of the Chevy Camaro ZL1 and the outgoing Shelby GT 500 version of the Ford  (NYSE: F  ) Mustang.

Don't expect it to be cheap, the ZL1 is priced around $56,000, and this new Challenger should be priced in that neighborhood. This new supercharged Hemi has been referred to by the code name "Hellcat" throughout the Internet rumor mill, but the "abuzz" in Chrysler's press release suggests that this engine might get a name like "Hornet" or something when it debuts.

Chrysler also said the 2015 Charger would get an overhaul, which is interesting because it was last redone for the 2011 model year, which isn't that long ago. But Chrylser is saying that the 2015 Charger will get -- and this is a quote -- "a full-body makeover with nearly every single body panel being resculpted."

They also say that the result will be "a sleeker, more modern appearance". So not an all-new Charger, but definitely a significant refresh. The modern four-door Chargers going back to the 2006 model have kind of had this mean junkyard-dog aesthetic going for them, riffing off of the big grills we've seen on the Ram pickups and so forth, very brash and not subtle. It's going to be interesting to see what they do to make it "sleeker".

We'll be there in New York when the new Charger and Challenger are unveiled, and we'll have a full video report for you from the show floor next week. Thanks for watching. 

Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2014, at 9:43 PM, imDanielle2 wrote:

    Cannot wait to see the new Challenger!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 8:19 AM, excavatoree wrote:

    Fiat is not Chrysler's partner. Fiat is Chrysler's OWNER. Chrysler is as foreign as Honda of America. They are both owned by a foreign company. Why is this fact obfuscated in so much of the press? Has Chrysler engaged in a massive PR campaign to hide the fact they are no longer an American company?

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 8:38 AM, B7478i wrote:

    Blah blah blah about the "foreign ownership" guys. A publicly traded company is owned by shareholders, like me. Further, no such thing as a "100% American Car" anyhow... by what definition is a car "American"? Built here? Jobs! Designed here? Jobs! Sold here? Jobs! Serviced here? Jobs. ALL cars have international platforms (Challenger and Charger platform has Mercedes Benz C series front suspension and steering, and S series rear suspension, transmission, differential. Ford/Mazda/Volvo/Nissan have shared components and platforms, GM/Daewoo/Suzuki/Open/Holden share platforms, etc etc. "American Car" is a non-starter, especially when the Big 3 assemble more in Canada and Mexico than here. Cars are of international design, components, and assembly. Buy what you like, but don't ne naive... these are international companies with international shareholders building international products.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 11:42 AM, PS75425 wrote:

    Hope it looks more like an X1/9 and less like the "oversized" Challenger!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 3:18 PM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    I expect this to be a refresh, not a redesign.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 3:53 PM, emjayay wrote:

    B7478i (what kind of name is that?) is right, only he meant Opel not Open. Several Buicks came out first in Europe as Opels. The American versions differ mainly in grilles (in the same opening) and badges. The current Focuses and Fiestas came out in Europe first.

    And Chrysler products are all styled in the US, even if the platform might be originally European, so no Chrysler is going to look like a Fiat or Alfa. In fact with the new 200 interior they looked at iconic American furniture like Eames chairs from the 50's and for the exterior Chryslers of the mid 60's. The type of taillight you see on several Dodges is clearly based on 60's Dodges.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 7:54 PM, Number1FordFan wrote:

    If they like sales they might NOT want to touch it other than making it over all 10% smaller.

    Yes It is a bit too big.

    That 1970 LOOK IS WHAT SELLS IT.

    The 06-10 Charger looked more aggressive than the current one. People really don't care for the Beak on that Current Charger. If You really want to sell Chargers (Make them look like a 69 model with 2 doors) and Challengers (Make them like a 70 Done)

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 9:57 PM, ShortFuse wrote:

    Fiat blah blah blah Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..............

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2014, at 11:34 PM, southernshark wrote:

    I wish they would strengthen the body so that they could offer a convertible model. Living in Florida, I have no design to own a muscle car, unless i can let the top down. I love the look of the Charger, and would like to have one. My grandmother used to always talk about the one they had back in the 70s, but I was too young to remember, and it would be cool to have a new one. But it has to be a convertible.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2014, at 3:35 AM, StockgeniusII wrote:

    I like to have both cars have a much better layout of the center front dash and more comfortable seats too. I maybe asking too much since they are muscle cars but people who probably buy these cars are the baby boomers that own Lexus, Audi, BMWs and Mercedes already!

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2014, at 1:03 PM, SweDane wrote:

    @B7478i !

    The LX - LY platform uses MB S-Class (W220) front type suspension - allthough few parts interchange.

    The rear setup are MB E-Class (W210-11-12) derived and with few parts interchanging.

    The current E & CLS-class are using similar setups

    so the LX-platform are far better that credited for !

    The next genertation will depart from MB handdowns and have a lot in common with the Maserati Ghibli.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2014, at 2:42 AM, and003 wrote:

    @excavatoree: Fiat may own Chrysler Group LLC, but they have chosen to behave as an industrial partner rather than a mere owner. As such, I can think of worse fates for Chrysler than being owned by the Italians.

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John Rosevear

John Rosevear is the Fool's Senior Auto Specialist. John has been writing about the auto business and investing for over 20 years, and for The Motley Fool since 2007.

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