We live in a global economy, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the automotive realm. Automakers need to build in as much efficiency to the development and production as possible, hence platform sharing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Fiat-Chrysler is hoping to update aging L-series large car platform-mates, the Charger and Challenger, with some help from the Italians.
FCA has invested many billions in revamping and adding to the Alfa lineup, and that includes the brilliant new Giulia sedan and the quite-a-name-to-live-up-to Stelvio SUV. It’s been a poorly kept secret that Dodge hopes to use this new platform, called Giorgio, to update the Charger, Challenger, and perhaps underpin a new Barracuda convertible. But what does that mean for the decade old Dodge cars? Let’s start with a quick size comparison to see what they are up against.
Size Comparison Chart
|Car||Width||Height||Length||Curb Weight||Wheel Base|
|Giulia||73.7 in.||56.1 in.||182.6 in.||3400-3500 lbs.||111.0 in.|
|Charger R/T||75.0 in.||58.2 in.||199.9 in.||4253 lbs.||120.2 in.|
|Challenger R/T||75.7 in.||
|Charger SE||75.0 in.||58.2 in.||198.4||3958 lbs.||120.2|
|Challenger SXT||75.7 in.||57.5 in.||197.9 in.||3885 lbs.||116.2 in.|
Initially I assumed (hoped) that the big Dodge cars were finally moving downward in size (and weight) to compete with their more lithe, more agile competitors. However, rumors have it that Dodge will put the Giorgio platform on the rack with the goal of matching the outgoing coupe and sedan length measurement of 198(ish) inches. Which by the way is over 8 inches longer than a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk (189.8 in.)!
That’s quite a modification, over 15 inches of car added to the mix, however the wheelbase gap would only have to grow 5-9″ to match the current Challenger and Charger respectively. Width and height matching seem lesser issues with a max of 2″ of width to find and only about an inch or so of height add in order to maintain those cavernous interior dimensions.
Weight is the enemy of performance, and supposedly the new Alfa platform will help Dodge shed around 500 pounds of curb weight from the RWD Dodge cars. How they do that is to be determined, and how this affects the current 50/50 weight distribution is TBD as well. The chassis is already set up for AWD, keeping that on the option menu for future iterations and the Giulia can already be fitted with tons of fun hardware like a 6-speed ZF tranny, active aero, carbon ceramic brakes, and a torque-vectoring rear diff. So that’s all good news, and supposedly this could all come with a 300-hp, twin-turbo inline-4-cylinder slated for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler redux. I’m curious if FCA will nix the V6 option as Ford just announced that it will do the 2018 Mustang.
The implications of a shrinking Charger and Challenger could result in shrinking sales. Right now Dodge moves just under 100K Chargers and around 65K Challengers per year. I would posit something to compare that to, but the number of non luxury brand RWD cars on the market is minimal. Suffice to say, automakers don’t redo cars to sell fewer units, so Dodge will be looking to up those numbers.
The real question is, will this be a marriage of convenience and result in a lackluster update to what admittedly is a pretty cool car(s), or will FCA ingest some Italian goodness into what admittedly could be a much better lineup of RWD burnout machines? We’ll have to wait until early next decade to find out. All we know is 707hp paired with 500 less pounds sounds disastrously fun, just hope the carbon-fibre drive shaft from the Giulia is up to the task.