8-Speed, Packages Gone from Dodge Challenger Hellcat Build Page
When the Chrysler Group announced earlier this year that the Hellcat engine package had been removed from the order banks of the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger, the build pages on Dodge.com for the two 707 horsepower muscle cars became little more than a way for car guys like myself to kill time at work. However, with the Hellcat Challenger essentially sold out for the 2015 model year, the company has removed a collection of items from the build page for the supercharged Challenger, with the 8-speed automatic transmission being the most notable item missing from the option list.
High Demand for the High Performance 8-Speed
While some devout muscle car loyalists will insist that a proper high performance muscle car must have a manual transmission, the Hellcat Challenger with the 8-speed heavy duty automatic transmission has been a very popular option since the car first went on sale. The 8-speed automatic is easier to drive, quicker and more efficient than the 6-speed manual transmission, so buyers were quick to check the box for the pricier, self-shifting gearbox.
The problem is that when the company was overwhelmed with orders for the Hellcat Challenger and Charger, the vast majority of orders were for the 8-speed automatic transmission. Since orders far exceeded the expectations of the company and the Hellcat models take a unique, heavy duty transmission, the orders for the automatic transmission far exceeded the expected need for this new gearbox. As a result, the company has run into a shortage of the Hellcat 8-speed, which particularly causes a problem for the Hellcat Charger – which only comes with the automatic transmission.
Because of this, a great many of the Hellcat Challengers delivered to dealerships in the recent weeks have been fitted with the 6-speed manual transmission. Also, when the company opened the order bank for one day last month, they were only accepting orders for Challengers with the manual transmission, as those were orders that could be fulfilled more quickly. This is likely why the company has removed the automatic transmission from the build page for the Hellcat Challenger, as it drives home the fact that there will be no more orders for automatic transmission Hellcat Challengers in the 2015 model year.
Equipment Packages Removed
The equipment packages and options for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat have always been fairly limited, but there are no longer any packages on the build page, again seemingly removed to drive home the point that there won’t be more Hellcat orders taken for 2015. The engine block heater, the premium Laguna leather seats can still be chosen (only from the colors page) and you can still pick the Brass Money wheels, summer tires and the satin black hood, but the navigation system, the red seat belts and the sunroof are all gone.
Other than driving home the point that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is basically unavailable for the rest of the model year, these removals just make the Hellcat build page a little less fun. However, as I was writing this article, I still built my dream Hellcat for what was at least the millionth time.
Fortunately, the end of the 2015 model year should lead to some changes for the 2016 Hellcat Challenger, even if it is only something as simple as different wheels or new colors. It shouldn’t be much longer before the 2016 models appear on Dodge.com, at which point we should get a good look at what is changing for the new model year.