Chrysler Confident About Brisk Sales for Challenger

Chrysler says it took in more than 4,300 orders the first day it opened up the books for its new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8®. Now, don’t get hysterical. Dealers were stockpiling orders from muscle car fans for some time.

To these eyes, the Challenger is not going to be slam-dunk over however many years Chrysler plans to sell the car.

Still, said Mark Mallie, the Challenger brand manager, “This is unprecedented…Customers were actually coming to us and pushing us, so we thought this was a good time to take pre-sale.”

The car comes out at a time when the country is starting to look more closely at vehicles that gobble gas. And unlike Chevy’s forthcoming Camaro, the Challenger is almost too close an homage to the orginal. To me, that could foretell an early wear-out factor for the Challenger.

Chrysler hasn’t said what the volume projection are. But in a previous chat I had with Chrysler vice chairman Tom Lasorda, the sales forecast for the business case to build the car was conservative. I have heard perhaps 30,000 a year, and Chrysler can call it a success, if not a runaway.

Lasorda more than learned his lesson with the outlandish volume projections of the Dodge Magnum, which is built on the same platform as the Challenger. The Magnum, while a fav of some journalists, has been a bust with the public.

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