FCA Boss: ‘Corvette is Most Cross-Shopped Vehicle for SRT Muscle Cars’


FCA Boss: 'Corvette is Most Cross-Shopped Vehicle for SRT Muscle Cars'

Photo Credit: Dodge.com

Hot on the heels of the 8,950 HP 2021 SRT lineup reveal, the head of Fiat Chrysler Passenger Cars, Tim Kuniskis, spoke with the fine folks at Muscle Cars and Trucks about the Dodge brand and the current American performance ecosystem.

Kuniskis begins by observing that “The muscle car race is really down to five cars.” He continues by bringing up is the Corvette, whose faithful he hilariously dubs “the yellow team,” in a nod to the traditional colors of Corvette Racing, when he says that they (we) “will be mad at me that I consider the Corvette a muscle car, but when you look at online shopping behavior, the number one vehicle that our SRT Chargers and Challengers are Cross-Shopped with is Corvette. It’s not really a muscle car but look what it’s cross-shopped with, so we put it in there.”

If true, and we have no reason to doubt that it is, this is quite the revelation; Dodge’s steroidal muscle cars, not something from Stuttgart, are the ‘Vette’s primary competition for consumer dollars. The Challenger, in particular, seems to be doing an astounding job of… challenging. In Q2 of 2020, the big coupe outsold both of Chevrolet’s sports/pony/muscle cars by itself, 9,880 to 9,134 (6,675 for Camaro and 2,459 for Corvette). As we touched on in the Fourth of July edition of Quick Shifts (fourth gear), what Kuniskis and Co. have accomplished by keeping their pair of ancient, plus-sized muscle cars relevant and financially successful in a segment ripe with newer, lighter, more advanced cars is nothing short of amazing!


Photo Credit: Chevrolet

If you are only interested in Corvettes, it’d be safe for you to exit now, otherwise, on with the interview! After musing about how the plastic fantastic fits into the muscle car conversation, Kuniskis moves on to the Challenger’s more natural foes, the Mustang and the aforementioned Camaro, saying, “the people that buy them and own them and like them would probably punch me for saying this, but they’re very similar.” He’s got a point, especially in their current generations. Both have drifted further into the sports car realm, the ‘Stang has finally adopted an independent rear suspension setup, they both use an optional co-developed 10-speed automatic transmission, and the Blue Oval has also resorted to fitting mag-ride to its top-tier pony. Then, he finally brings up the vehicles that his company actually produces (whose owners might also want to punch him), saying that they “are kind of the outliers. They’re bigger, they’re heavier, they’re drag-strip focused, they’re GT focused… that is a unique space for us. And within that space, we want to be the number one performance brand,”

At first, this whole interview had your author thinking, “you’d have to be pretty dim and only care about horsepower to even consider one of the Hellcat brothers over a ‘Vette” but upon further introspection, a Charger Redeye makes a lot a lot more sense for someone like myself with small kids so I’ll just leave it at this; Tim Kuniskis is the kind of interviewee that GM Performance desperately needs. That whole MC&T piece was a huge, fun breath of fresh air when all we ever hear from the yellow team is company lines like “we don’t discuss future product” or “we are confident in what we have built.”

Muscle Cars and Trucks

QUICK SHIFTS: Car and Driver’s GOAT, Cruising Ohio, Syracuse Show, New Dodge’s Previewed, C8 Review, and More!
[VIDEO] 2020 Corvette vs the 808-HP Dodge Demon on Throttle House
[VIDEO] Hennessey Races a Stock 2020 Corvette vs a 707 HP Dodge Charger Hellcat



  1. The fact this author is paid to “teach” anything is pretty shocking. Corvette assembly was pretty much shut down in Q2 with ZERO inventory in dealer hands. Just a minor fact he failed to mention. You think any of the Muscle Heads out there, given the choice, wouldn’t pick a new Vette over the Fred Flinstone products offered by FCA??? Guess again.

  2. I have returned to my interest in cars during the last couple of years after a brush with death put me out of action for about 4 years. The Challenger imho comes closest on the exterior to bringing the early 1970’s back to contemporary times in the 2020’a with the Charger tied for second with Mustang. (Steve McQueen knew what he was doing.) While Corvette hit a grand slam home run with the C8 (it checks boxes for many ages, interests and niches), it still would be a poor selection for a, “sports muscle car,” which some of these cars really are. Room for four or five and able to accommodate a car seat, people and groceries and/or go on a trip with the whole family in a sedan, instead of yet another one of hundreds of SUVs, vans and trucks, the FCA people have been quite the visionaries with some really nice offerings in that niche that I call the, “Sports Muscle Car,” market. AF

  3. The vast majority of Challengers sold are lower power and lower priced versions. Those are NOT cross shopped with new Corvettes.

  4. A Corvette is a Sports car? The only car FCA had that their customers could cross-shopped the Corvette with is the Viper, which is no longer in production. I just can’t understand the stupidity of customers who can’t figure that the Challenger is a Mustang and Camaro competitor and not a Corvette? That’s like saying Chevy customers are cross shopping the Camaro with the Viper??????

  5. It seems two important points were missed. Kuniskis said that “online shopping behavior” shows that the Vette is the most cross-shopped with the SRTs.
    First, that’s still a tiny sample size, unless he means simply window shopping, which is no surprise considering us car nuts compare performance cars online all the time without making any purchase.
    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly to us Corvette folks, it was what SRT customers are cross-shopping, not what Corvette customers are. If you’re interested in SRTs but aren’t a die hard Dodge fan, you’ll likely look at what the other two American companies are offering, and for the money and performance (at least in HP, 0-60, & 1/4 mile numbers) the Vette is comparable. But if it’s the other way around, you’re comparing entry level Porsches and maybe used Ferraris and the like. Sure, some may take a cursory look at the muscle cars, but not likely a serious one for 90+% of shoppers, if at all.

  6. I only looked at Porsches and ‘Vettes, and I happily ended up with a C7.
    When people refer to Corvettes as muscle cars, I feel embarrassed for them.

Comments are closed.