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FCA Aus mulling possible RHD availability of next gen Dodge Charger and Challenger


The Australian arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) is reportedly discussing the feasibility of introducing versions of the Dodge Charger and Challenger muscle cars in right-hand-drive (RHD).

According to reports, FCA Australia boss Steven Zanlunghi made the announcement in an interview with Aussie online platform during the Los Angeles Motor Show this past week, citing the ongoing success of the Ford Mustang as the one of the main reasons.

"We are looking at the business case because we know what Mustang does in Australia. I heard it was a six month wait, but you guys told me it’s an 18 month wait. Then again globally they have just taken down their production," Zanlunghi said, referring to the Ford's decision last month to halt Mustang production due to a slowdown in demand.

"We are constantly looking for the opportunities in the marketplace and that’s one of them. Especially when there’s the (Ford) Falcon and (Holden) Commodore going, so if we can make a business case out of it then we can see those vehicles here in Australia".

A sales success since debuting in Australia, over 4 500 Mustangs have so far been sold with 80% being fitted with the 306 kW 5.0-litre V8 engine. Despite the halt in production, an additional 2 500 units were added to Australia's market allocation in April this year, with the waiting list already stretching well into 2017.

Speaking at the same event, Head of Jeep, Ram and FCA Asia-Pacific Chief Operations Officers, Mike Manley, said it had approached independent companies for assistance in converting the current generations of Charger and Challenger into RHD, but that this failed to materialise due to high costs.

"When you convert it, it actually costs you a lot more money because you’re making unique components to make that conversion work. So the investment levels are almost the same now as doing it in the factory," Manley said.

"If the decision is made, it would be made for the next generation platform on the vehicle as you move towards the next generation of these platforms, they’re more global and tends to be much, much easier to package all of the right hand drive components that you want".

Although not sold directly by FCA Australia, versions of the Ram 2500 and 3500 pick-up are imported and converted into RHD through a joint venture called Australian Special Vehicles, involving Ateco Automotive and renowned Melbourne-based tuner, Walkinshaw Performance.

If given the green light Down Under, it could perhaps lead to both finding their way to South Africa if deemed suitable by Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa.


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