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A Summertime Debut Is Imminent

2024 2023 Dodge Charger Challenger Barracuda Cuda 'Cuda EV Electric Muscle Car Vehicle Tim Kuniskis STLA Large Platform
Screenshot via Stellantis.

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis really, really wants you to see what’s behind the curtain of future product. We know that Dodge will debut three vehicles this year: one being the upcoming Hornet SUV, another being a concept version of the fratzog-labeled electric muscle car presumed to be the next-generation Challenger or Charger, and a mysterious third model. It’s worth mentioning that trademarks point to names like ‘Cuda could make a comeback. Narrowing a timeline as to when Kuniskis and the rest of Dodge will debut the eMuscle machine is still a fluid situation, however.

“TBD… we argue about (the reveal timeline of the electric Dodge muscle car concept) a lot,” said Kuniskis. “I’m pushing really really hard to get this thing out and into public view, and show you what we’re doing and how we’re doing it different as fast as I can. It drives me crazy that other people are way out in front of their headlights and I’m not.”

Electric Dodge Charger Challenger EV Stellantis Teaser Muscle Car

Tim also hinted that there’s another component to the vehicle’s reveal that needs to get in sync, but didn’t fully elaborate what that was.

“There’s one really important piece that goes with (the reveal) that’s outside of my control, and it’s outside our industry quite frankly, that I want the two to be together when I show you this car. And I don’t want to do it disjointed,” he said. “When that pieces comes together we’ll decide when we’re gonna show it. It will be sooner rather than later. My hope is that you’ll see this car well before we get to that Speed Week, so well before we get to August is my hope.”

Speed Week is what Dodge refers to starts with Roadkill Nights and ends with the Woodward Dream Cruise that’s usually towards the end of August.

“We’re gonna build you a Dodge muscle car first,” he said. “And it’s going to look like a Dodge, drive like a Dodge, sound like a Dodge, perform like a Dodge, and oh by the way it’s going to be electrified as well. That’s how we’re gonna do it differently.”

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares mentioned to the press recently that the upcoming Dodge EV will sound like nothing else, while a USPTO paper trail eludes to a horizontal pushrod suspension system akin to that of a Formula 1 car.

“If you look back in time, Dodge has never won when we followed other people. We win when we go our own way.” When we do the opposite what everybody else is doing, that’s when we win, and that’s what people expect from us. You’ll see it on the product side very shortly in the next couple of months when we show you the concept of exactly how we’re going to go different on the product side.”

Kuniskis acknowledges the challenges that lay ahead for Dodge when it comes to communicating electrification to a customer base that has indulged in high-octane horsepower for nearly a decade. It’s a formula that has worked for the brand, perhaps too well, as a pivot to electric vehicles has fans visualizing various doomsday scenarios.

“Dodge isn’t in the ‘needs’ business. There isn’t a single product that we sell that anybody really needs, quite frankly. We’re in the ‘wants’ business,” said Kuniskis. “When we launched the Never Lift plan, we said the next 24 months was going to be a bit like juggling knives for us. Because transitions are much easier when they’re ‘needs’ based, not ‘wants’ based.”

“Electrification is like the world going vegetarian. And Dodge is a burger joint, a really, really good burger joint.”

So, it stands that if Dodge can “make a salad that everybody will wanna eat, everything’s gonna be okay. That’s what the Never Lift two-year business plan is all about.”

The rear of the Dodge electric muscle car concept. Screenshot via Stellantis.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Detroit Region SCCA Member and founder of MC&T. Automotive Media Jedi Knight. Not yet the rank of Master.


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