When I first told my wife (who also works in the auto industry) that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat would carry a starting price of just $59,995, her reply was “Wow…they are going to sell a ton of them.” I agreed, as with 707 horsepower making it the most powerful American production car ever while also ranking as the 6th most powerful production car in the world today AND starting right around $60k, there are few high performance bargains in the world that can rival the Hellcat.
Best of all, when speaking with the Dodge brand representatives on hand at last week’s 2015 Dodge Challenger launch, there didn’t seem to be any plan for the SRT Hellcat to be available on a limited basis.
Unfortunately, a new report from the folks at Edmunds cites inside information that insists that the Chrysler Group will only build 1,200 examples of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Should that be true, these 707 horsepower monsters will be hard to get and – far more importantly – they will likely carry a massive dealership markup if they are really limited to such low production numbers.
The Challenger SRT Hellcat is Not for Everyone
During his opening presentation to the media at last week’s first drive of the 2015 Dodge Challenger lineup, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis pointed out that the new Challenger SRT Hellcat wasn’t a car for everyone.
Unfortunately, my impressions of driving the Hellcat are still under embargo, but even without driving the most powerful American production car of all time – most people with any common sense would agree that this isn’t a car for everyone. Some people wouldn’t want 707 horsepower and others simply shouldn’t have that kind of power so it is just as obvious that the SRT Hellcat package likely won’t battle the Challenger R/T for the highest take rate in the new model year.
The fact that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat packs 707 horsepower is what makes it so magical, but that is also what will limit the number of people who are really going to put the money down to secure a Hellcat of their own. Much like the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – the Hellcat will be a low volume package.
According to the ZL1 Registry, GM produced 1,971 Camaro ZL1 coupes for the 2012 model year, but the production number jumped to just south of 8,000 units for 2013 with about 6,000 of those being coupes. Those Camaro ZL1 coupes are the closest competition for the Hellcat Challenger, so the demand just for the high performance Camaro would suggest that demand for the 707hp Challenger could far exceed those rumored 1,200 units.
Because of what would likely be a big demand for the 707hp Dodge Challenger, having just 1,200 produced for the 2015 model year could make them very hard to get. Worse yet, a production limit of 1,200 units would make it hard for dealerships to get them – which brings us to the much bigger problem...Gigantic dealership markups.
Expect Massive Markups on the First SRT Hellcat Challengers
Regardless of the final number of Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat models built for the 2015 model year, it is all but set in stone that the first units sold to the public will have massive dealership markups. This is true with almost any new high performance vehicle and the people who plan to nab one of the first examples of the Hellcat Challenger almost certainly expected to pay well over the $59,995 base price while those buyers who wait a while can expect to pay closer to MSRP.
Unfortunately, limiting the production of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat could cause a much bigger markup – and a much longer period of time where those markups are being changed by dealers. Should the Chrysler Group really only build 1,200 examples of the 707hp Challenger for 2015 to be spread across their network of 2,400+ dealerships, those folks selling the Hellcat will likely apply a massive markup to every unit that reaches a showroom.
Fortunately, there is the fact that the Chrysler reps at the 2015 Dodge Challenger launch didn’t have any production limitations so here is to hoping that these particular insider reports are incorrect. A lower production number may not have a massive impact on the final sales of a car like the Challenger SRT Hellcat, but a production limit as low as 1,200 units will almost surely drive the price of the 707 horsepower muscle car through the roof.