Australia is the first market in the world to get its hands on the latest iteration of the Chrysler 300 SRT, at the same time echoing sentiments from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia that the Dodge Challenger is already an "appealing proposition" to take the fight to the soon to be launched Ford Mustang.
Speaking with CarAdvice the local launch of the Chrysler 300 SRT, director of corporate communications, Lucy McLellan said that the Dodge Challenger is on the company's wishlist, but there is much work to be done before a launch can be locked in.
"It's mid lifecycle at the moment and it's also not built in right-hand drive, so you have to have a pretty substantial business case to justify it with substantial volumes to match. It'll be an interesting test case to see how it goes in Australia. If we don't have a whole lot of other right-hand drive markets on board, what's that [business case] going to look like?" McLellan said.
According to McLellan, FCA Australia works with other markets in the Asia Pacific region to secure business cases for models like the Dodge Challenger. Without the support of these markets, it's hard to justify engineering a right-hand drive version of the Challenger at this stage in its lifecycle, unless the work can be justified by sales volume.
"The barrier is, unfortunately for Australia, that the car is so popular in the USA that there is a big waiting list for certain engine variants of that car. Therefore for them to bring it to countries like Australia, there needs to be certain things that we can achieve for them."
Earlier this year CarAdvice spoke with president and CEO of FCA Australia, Patrick Dougherty, about the proposition the model would represent to the market.
“From a performance standpoint, it would definitely be exciting for Dodge. The current Charger in North America would fill a void here that would… look, Holden and Ford aren’t completely vacating the performance segment, they’re just not going to develop them here,” Dougherty said.
“From our standpoint, it probably puts us more on a level playing field, so that’s a lot more exciting for us.”
Given the hype around the Ford Mustang and the popularity of performance vehicles wearing SRT badges in Australia (such as the 300 SRT and Grand Cherokee SRT), it would mean offering a fitting and substantial enough business case to bring the Challenger to Australia.
Do you think there is scope for a car like the Challenger to exist in Australia alongside the marketplace? Or has our love affair of the powerful rear-wheel drive sedan worn off?