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The Head Of Dodge Says That The Brand Would Have Sold More If They Had Inventory

2021 Dodge Muscle Car Family Durango Hellcat Charger Redeye Challenger Super Stock
Image via Stellantis.

The muscle car market continues to take a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a turnaround could be right around the corner. That’s according to FCA head of passenger vehicles Tim Kuniskis. We got a chance to speak to the high-profile industry executive after the debut of the 2020 Dodge Challenger Super Stock, 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, and limited-run 2020 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. At the moment, Dodge isn’t hitting the panic button over the sales results.

“The last 20 years cars have went from 55 percent of the industry to 27 percent of the industry… the reality is that you gotta dig below that surface and see what has dropped. What has really dropped are the soulless commodities,” noted Kuniskis. “But the cars that have a unique identity really have not dropped.”

Kuniskis noted that the muscle car segment tends to ebb and flow just as the industry as a whole does. Which means the market share of the segment tends to remain the same. Considering the 17-plus million vehicles sold last year, that meant the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger sold incredibly well.

“The last half of last year was the best six months we’ve ever had in the history of (Charger and Challenger). And we were coming into 2020 riding high,” said Kuniskis. It wasn’t long into the year until the COVID-19 pandemic brought auto sales to a halt.

“We were gonna kill it, then Covid set us back… January and February we were killing it,” he said. “The first part of March we were doing really good because we sell a lot of cars in Florida and Texas… we did relatively okay considering. But we ran out of cars.”

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye

With plants closing, vehicle supplies across the industry were strained. And with plants struggling to build back up to capacity, this issue persists.

“I bet you we would have sold 1,000 more muscle cars last month had we had stock,” said Kuniskis. “Our number one seller right now is the Scat Pack, and we probably have 200 Scat Packs in the whole country, they’re gone… by the middle of July we should have stock built back up.”

During that time period, Dodge took sold orders for the Charger and Challenger, and Kuniskis is anticipating a sales recovery for the pair of muscle cars.

“We have a couple thousand sold orders still coming. July and August we’ll be kicking hard again. August is going to suck from a year over year comparison, though, because last August we launched Dodge Power Dollars.”

We’ll have to wait until October, when FCA publishes its Q3 sales results, to see how this plays out.

2021 Dodge Challenger Super Stock Hellcat

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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