Dodge Doubles Hellcat Production, Attempts to Assure Customers
After dropping 707 horsepower into the SRT Hellcat versions of the 2015 Dodge Challenger and 2015 Dodge Charger, in the process creating some of the most powerful automobiles on the planet, product planners at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) likely didn’t require a big presentation to justify the business case. Cheap gas, a surging economy, and enough nostalgic Baby Boomers awash in cash virtually guaranteed that the hot performance cars would be a sell-out.
Trouble was, FCA greatly underestimated SRT Hellcat demand. Knowingly or not, dealers accepted deposits and orders for more cars than Dodge planned to build, and FCA ultimately had to tell its dealers to stop taking orders because the 2015 SRT Hellcat production run was oversold. The result was an angry cadre of customers who couldn’t get their hands on a Hellcat’s special red key, which unlocks the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 engine’s maximum performance.
These Hellcat buyers got vocal about their dissatisfaction faster than the object of their desire can paint black stripes on the pavement, and following a flurry of finger pointing it looks like Dodge will try to make everything right. In advance of taking orders for the 2016 SRT Hellcat models, the automaker has announced changes designed to prevent continued ordering problems.
First, know that Dodge continues to produce the 2015 SRT Hellcat models, and expects to complete the scheduled production run for this model year by September. If you ordered a Hellcat and your car is part of the scheduled production run of 2015 models, you will get your vehicle.
Unscheduled 2015 Hellcat orders will be cancelled. People holding an unscheduled 2015 Hellcat order will be offered a 2016 SRT Hellcat at a discount. In addition to offering a reduced price to buyers whose Hellcat orders are cancelled, Dodge has announced that the 2016 versions get ultra-premium Nappa leather, a navigation system, HD Radio, and 5 free years of SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link services as standard equipment.
Dodge is also taking steps to correct the dealership ordering process. Each dealership that sells the SRT Hellcat will be given an estimated total allocation of 2016 model-year cars in August 2015. Half of that allocation will be available for ordering at that time. Then, in February 2016, each dealer will receive a revised allocation number good for the remainder of the model year. This way, dealers will not be able to order more cars than are stipulated by their allocation numbers.
Furthermore, Dodge is “more than doubling SRT Hellcat production for 2016,” according to a statement by Tim Kuniskis, president and CEO of Dodge and SRT brands for FCA.
Hellcat buyers holding unscheduled orders who wanted a 2015 model for first-year production bragging rights are unlikely to be happy with this resolution, but one could argue that they should’ve gotten into line sooner than later. Other unscheduled order holders will be getting more Hellcat for less money.
Better yet, newcomers to the tire-smoking party won’t have to wait nearly as long to unleash those 707 horses.