2007 Dodge Cuda Concept
Patrick Rall's picture

Cuda Trademark Filing: New Muscle Car or No Big Deal?

FCA has filed for a trademark of the Cuda name, leading many people to believe that this is a guaranteed sign of a new muscle car coming in the future, but does this filing point towards a new model or is FCA just looking to protect one of its classic monikers?
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The Mopar gurus at Allpar discovered recently that back on June 16th, FCA filed for a trademark of the word “Cuda” for use on a passenger vehicle. This filing follows the company’s move to protect the name Barracuda for automotive use back in 2015 and together, these two trademark filings lead a great many people to believe that Dodge is working on a modern Barracuda or Cuda. Considering the fact that the original Barracuda (and Cuda) were from the now-defunct Plymouth brand, it seems unlikely that FCA would that model name to Dodge, but since there have long been rumors of a new Cuda – today we look at the possibilities behind the legal protection of the Cuda and Barracuda names.

The History of the Modern Cuda Rumors
The modern Dodge Challenger was introduced in concept form at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and just over a year later, the new Challenger debuted as a 2008 model year vehicle. Shortly after the 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept debuted in Detroit, rumors began traveling through the Mopar message boards that the company was working on a high performance model called the Cuda.

The belief that there was a new Cuda coming was reinforced when Mopar rolled out the Cuda Concept (shown above) at the 2007 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. That car was really just a then-new Challenger with a custom carbon fiber body, including a Shaker hood design, but the bones of that Cuda Concept were all Challenger SRT8 parts, right down to the 6.1L Hemi V8. While it was little more than a rebodied Challenger, the 2007 Cuda Concept looked great and drew lots of attention in Vegas – strengthening the rumors that there was a Dodge-based Cuda on the way.

The problem was that after that 2007 Cuda Concept at SEMA, there was no real sign that the company (then known as Chrysler rather than FCA) was developing a specially designed, high performance Challenger with the classic Plymouth Barracuda name. The discussion continued, but they were based entirely around that 2007 concept car and as time went on, it became clear that the Cuda from SEMA wasn’t going to be showing up at the local Dodge dealership.

Fast forward to 2013 and there were new rumors of a Dodge Challenger which would wear the Cuda name. The folks spreading those rumors insisted that it would be the most powerful Mopar muscle car ever thanks to a supercharged Hemi and in interviews with Dodge execs, there were even hints to the existence of this incredible, supercharged muscle car. Since the Cuda was originally a Plymouth rather than a Dodge, it was expected that the new Cuda would join the 2013 Viper as SRT brand vehicles rather than Dodge vehicles, but in 2014, the Viper became a Dodge again and the SRT brand was eliminated.

Come 2015, we learned that Dodge had indeed been developing a supercharged muscle car which would reign as the most powerful muscle car ever, but it wasn’t called the Cuda – it was called the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. At that point, the Hellcat was officially the supercharged Challenger and the SRT brand was gone, so it seemed that the odds of seeing a modern day Cuda were as low as ever.

However, during the 2015 calendar year, FCA filed for a trademark of the Barracuda name, followed by the recent filing of the Cuda trademark – once again adding fuel to the discussion of a rebirth of the famed Plymouth muscle car.

A New Cuda?
While there has never been any official information from FCA proving that a new Cuda is in the works, there are still plenty of rumors floating around the internet which suggest that the old Plymouth model name could find its way onto a high performance Dodge Challenger.

At this point, the rumor has evolved to the point where the “new Cuda” will be a convertible version of the next generation Dodge Challenger. That new Challenger is expected to arrive for 2019 or 2020 and when it does, it will likely ride on a similar Alfa Romeo chassis to the one which underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia. The rumors also suggest that the Cuda will have slightly smaller dimensions than the next generation Dodge Challenger, so it would (in theory) compete more directly with the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro – both of which are markedly smaller than the current Challenger.

I will admit that I am skeptical that Dodge will roll out a high performance convertible version of the next generation Challenger and call it a Cuda rather than a Challenger convertible, but since the rumors are out there – they are worth mentioning.

Protecting the Cuda Name
As much as I would love to see yet another high performance car from Dodge, I have a hard time believing that the Plymouth Barracuda is going to be reincarnated as a high performance version of the Dodge Challenger. What I believe is happening here is that FCA doesn’t want another automaker to use the historic Barracuda or Cuda name, so they continually trademark it to keep it in their pocket even if they don’t plan to use it.

Hopefully I am wrong, but I wouldn’t bet money on the Dodge Challenger Cuda being a thing in the near future.


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