Performance models attract customers, motivate engineers and designers and, ultimately, build sales. Although the cars themselves will probably sell in low numbers, they provide an image-boost for car companies and attract foot traffic into dealer showrooms.
There's no question that cars like these burn more gas than economy models or, in some cases, even large SUVs. But, let's face it, that's the reason few people will buy them and, in turn, car companies won't make too many of them.
Customers may turn, instead, to more fuel-efficient and less expensive V6 versions of these models. Or they may even turn to an economy model and enjoy feeling like they're driving a car from the same company that still produces a legendary performance car.
While the car magazines will concentrate on whether the Challenger can beat the Camaro on the track, what Chrysler and GM really care about is which one gets your attention on the street, even if you end up buying a Caliber or Cobalt.