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Was Anybody Expecting This?

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

This week Dodge revealed its 2021 vehicle lineup, capped by some of the world’s most incredible performance machines. There’s the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye – the fastest sedan in the world. There’s the 2021 Dodge Challenger Super Stock – soon to be the world’s most powerful muscle car for sale. And the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat – the most powerful three-row SUV the world has ever seen. Leading this push into high-octane muscle car performance is head of FCA Passenger Cars Tim Kuniskis, who is never short on quotable material. MC&T recently spoke with Kuniskis directly to get his insight on the Dodge brand, and what he had to say about the Corvette may surprise you.

“The muscle car race is really down to five cars. And the yellow team will be mad at me that I consider the Corvette to be a muscle car,” said Kuniskis. “But the fact of the matter is that, if you look at online shopping behavior, the (number one vehicle) our SRT Chargers and Challengers that are cross-shopped with is Corvette. “It’s not really a muscle car, but look what it’s cross-shopped with, so we put it in there.”

Yup. The Corvette.

“There’s the other vehicles in the space (Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang), and the people that buy them and own them and like them would probably punch me for saying this, but they’re very similar… then there’s our cars that are kind of the outliers. They’re bigger, they’re heavier, the drag-strip focused, they’re GT focused… that is a unique space for us. And within that space, we want to be the number one performance brand,” Kuniskis continued.

C8 Corvette
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It’s unclear if this data reflects C7 Corvette or C8 Corvette customers. Nevertheless, this isn’t the first time we have come across such profound market data. For instance, the number one conquest vehicle for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the Nissan GT-R. While the vehicle that tends to lose a lot of customers to the Jeep Wrangler is the Ford Mustang.

Just like the pair of Dodge muscle cars, the Corvette has long been a unique vehicle in the market. Considered to be “America’s best selling sports car,” no other vehicle has traditionally offered two seats, the dramatic roar of a V8 engine, and exotic-beating performance for such relatively little money. The closest thing to it for a while was the still-missed Dodge Viper, but its extreme nature left it appealing mostly to a select few people with a raw-dog performance kink. Ford, meanwhile, has been molding and shaping high-end levels of the Mustang, such as the 2020 Shelby GT500, to do battle with more extreme sports cars. The Ford GT is another segment entirely, due to its price and extremely low volume.

Just what is it about the Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT models that attract Corvette shoppers? It could simply be that they offer similar goals: incredible power and performance (in whatever form that may take), for relatively little money.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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