Mitsubishi's SUV means that the demonic Dodge will have to find a new name if it arrives in Australian showrooms.
CHRYSLER Australia is in the midst of a campaign to bring its fire-breathing Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger Down Under. Wheels understands that Australian FCA chief Pat Dougherty conducted a recent trip to Chrysler HQ in Michigan, USA, to state the case for bringing the wild muscle cars to local showrooms.
Yet even if the Dodge Challenger was produced in right-hand drive from the factory, re-engineered and certified for sale in Australia, it would not be called Challenger here.
Mitsubishi owns the Challenger name in Oz – and has been using it for its ute-based four-wheel-drive (pictured below) since 1998.
Mitsubishi says it has no intention of handing over the name to Dodge: “We’re planning on retaining the Challenger nameplate in Australia,” spokeswoman Shayna Welsh told Wheels.
An obvious alternative would be the equally evocative Charger nameplate, but that may not be possible if we also get the four-door Dodge of the same name.
FCA has had the Charger name trademarked with IP Australia since 2002, having first lodged an application in 2000. It was renewed in 2010 and two ‘applications for assignments’ have been lodged this year, adding weight to the possibility it would soon be used.
Dodge also has older names it could fall back on – Caliber, Avenger and Nitro, for example.
Dougherty is reluctant to talk names for now, telling Wheels: “If and when [it] gets approved we’ll start looking at alternatives. At this stage there are a number of things that need to be satisfied before we go there.”