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Return of the muscle car? FCA touts popularity for record sales

James Leggate

A renewed interest in muscle cars helped push a sales record for Fiat Chrysler, the company announced.

Dodge Challenger sold a record 18,031 vehicles in the third quarter, FCA announced Wednesday.

“These cars are attracting a new generation of shoppers who are drawn to the vehicles for their edgy designs, power and array of options for personalization,” the company said in its announcement.

Two other FCA brands also hit sales records for the quarter. Jeep Wrangler sold 59,035 vehicles and Ram sold 179,200 vehicles.

For the Wrangler, FCA said limited-edition models like the 2020 Wrangler Black & Tan and the Wrangler Willys helped boost sales. Jeep plans to offer more special edition Wranglers next year.

Reid Bigland, FCA’s head of U.S. sales, said vehicles like the Gladiator, Ram pickups and Dodge muscle cars “are pulling customers into showrooms.”

“Our customers are choosing to purchase higher trim levels or extra features, which are increasing our transaction prices,” Bigland said.

The news could lend some credibility to rumors that Dodge or Chrysler could be planning to begin production of a new Barracuda.

AutoWise reported that sources said the automaker was planning to bring back the legendary muscle car, which was originally produced in the 1960s and '70s.

The new SRT Barracuda would share some architecture with the Challenger and it could be produced at FCA’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, where Vipers were made until the plant closed in 2017, according to the report.

FCA has since remodeled 77,000 square feet of the 400,000-square-foot facility as a private museum for dozens of historic vehicles, The Detroit News reported last year.

With the uptick in muscle car popularity, bringing back the Barracuda could prove to be a savvy move. FCA said Challenger and Charger sales have increased more than 60 percent over the past decade.

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