More stories related to 2005 NAIAS Trevor Creed, senior vice president of Chrysler Group design, is super cautious about not promising too much from the new Dodge Charger and delivering too little, like Pontiac did with the GTO.

Was there a lesson learned from the GTO?

"There wasn't a lesson to learn. “We're coming out with a bold, stunningly designed sports car with the aggressive performance to back up the Charger name," Creed says, adding of the GTO: "They (GM) came out with an old car from the early 1990s borrowed from their Holden (Ltd. Australian) subsidiary, with a body style that looks like a Chevy Cavalier."

New Dodge Charger

Dodge also plans to avoid projecting sales, as Pontiac did with the GTO and then reporting only 13,569 sold in '04.

Creed insists the Dodge was designed and developed without the Charger name in mind and simply was to be a sedan addition to the lineup. "We had a Magnum wagon for Dodge, but we have more Dodge dealers than Chrysler dealers and felt Dodge needed a sporty car as well," Creed says. (See related story: New Dodge Charger Stirs Controversy)

Creed makes it clear the '06 Charger, with a front end taking styling cues from the Magnum and Dodge Viper, is not a retro to the 1960s muscle car era.

"It's not a reproduction of a '69 Charger,” he says. “It is an LX sedan with a long hood and short deck and fastback roof line lowered 1 in. (2.5 cm) for a coupe-like profile," he says. (Rear seats were lowered 1 in. as well to create headroom despite the sloping fastback.)

"If enthusiasts want a '69 Charger, they should go out and buy a '69 Charger, We took the name off the shelf because this was a vehicle worthy to hang the name on," he says, noting that the Charger name had been abused in the past.

"Just imagine," Creed says, shaking his head in disbelief, "at one time (1982-1984), the Charger name was used on a 2-door coupe version of the subcompact, front-wheel-drive Omni. That would be like putting the Charger name on a Dodge Neon today."

The new Charger will get its muscle from a 3.5L V-6, and the 5.7L Hemi V-8, but insiders say the new 6.1L 425-hp. Hemi V-8 is waiting in the wings.