FCA Doubles Hellcat Production for 2016, With a Catch
Horsepower junkies of America, rejoice! Fiat Chrysler has announced that there will be even more Hellcats for 2016 – a lot more, in fact. Thanks to strong demand for this year’s Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat models, FCA is doubling its production of the cars, and with nearly 4,000 sold so far, it means that by this time next year, Dodges with Lamborghini levels of power could very well be a common sight in across the country.
It’s almost impossible not to desire the Hellcats on some level, the 707 horsepower beasts that love straight line performance, open roads, and premium fuel as much as they hate turning, braking, and Teslas. While the big two-door Challenger model is the face of the cars in many ads, with its classic muscle car proportions, 199 mile per hour top speed, and $59,995 starting price, the $63,995 four-door Charger shatters the vaunted 200 mile per hour mark at 204 miles per hour, making it the fastest mass-produced sedan ever built.
But if more Hellcats is very good news, here’s the bad: More than 900 Hellcat owners-to-be have been instantly left in the lurch.
As expected, demand has been high for the Hellcat twins, and as a result, FCA has watched with growing frustration as dealers have marked the cars up by thousands over list price, gouging customers and taking orders for cars they couldn’t deliver on. To fix the situation, FCA is halting all unscheduled orders for the rest of the year and implementing a system that helps to ensure that dealer markups won’t spiral out of control again. Unfortunately, that means the 900 or so remaining pre-orders for 2015 cars were instantly cancelled, and those customers will have to head to the back of the line if they want 2016 models.
While the 2015 customers end up getting screwed by FCA’s new plan, doubling production is a good step in keeping Hellcat demand under control so future owners can get their cars with a lot less hassle. Under the company’s “2016 SRT Hellcat Plan of Attack,” dealers will be allocated a set number of cars based on their Hellcat sales. The first round of allocations will be announced in August, with a second sales-based round coming in February (2016 model production starts in September). This incentivizes dealers to move their cars, but prevents them from taking orders for cars that Dodge won’t deliver – when they’re out, they’re out.
For their trouble, owners who had their 2015 orders cancelled will receive a discount on 2016 cars. FCA hasn’t said how big a discount that is, but with prices set to increase, getting a car a few months late at a discount might not be a bad thing. Unfortunately, the vouchers won’t negate any dealer markups, so customers will be on their own when it negotiating a new price with salesmen.
So the good news is that the world will be getting nearly 8,000 Dodge Hellcats for 2016. Sure, that’s about as many Camrys as Toyota sells in a week, but for cars of their caliber, that’s pretty impressive. Add to it the impending arrival of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, (which will borrow its 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi V8 from the Hellcat twins), and we’ll have a lot more Hellcats on our hands in short order. FCA may not be Hellcatting all the things like we’d hope, but at least they’re making enough of them.
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