So, earlier today, the folks at Automotive News did a piece looking at the future of FCA’s Chrysler brand and in that report, they stated very casually that the company will “put a Hellcat engine in its luxury sedan in late 2018 because why not”. They didn’t provide any insight as to where that information came from and honestly, it seems a little odd that they would breeze across something as notable as the introduction of another Hellcat-powered model. It could very well be speculation and honestly, I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Chrysler offered a 300 with the supercharged Hemi to send off the current generation of the rear-drive luxury sedan.
The Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger are basically the same vehicles with slightly different body work and different badges to give them a unique look from each other. Overall, the Charger is more of a sport oriented model while the 300 is a luxury oriented model, but when both vehicles had an SRT variant a few years back, the interiors were practically the same, so without much work, the company could transfer the parts from the Hellcat Charger to create a Hellcat 300.
However, I don’t expect that we will see a Chrysler 300 SRT Hellcat similar to the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat because frankly, it would be the exact same car with slightly different sheet metal and different badges – and there just isn’t enough demand for a Hellcat 300.
Hellcat Charger Offers the Same Features
While some people might suggest that FCA could use a high performance luxury sedan, the truth is that the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat already offers the company’s best premium interior bits. The Hellcat Charger already comes with the premium UConnect infotainment system, a premium sound system and premium leather seats (heated, cooler and power controlled), so the Chrysler brand would be hard pressed to offer a more premium experience and performance measures would be the same.
The only differences between a Hellcat 300 and a Hellcat Charger would be the exterior appearance and the logos around the cabin. The Chrysler brand could add things like more premium leather interior, but in the end, the two Hellcat sedans would be more or less than the same cars. Since the Chrysler models typically cost a little more, the 300 Hellcat would be a Charger Hellcat with a different face and a bigger price tag.
The only market for a Chrysler 300 SRT Hellcat would be those people who just plain prefer the look of the 300 over the Charger, and while those devout Chrysler performance fans are out there – it seems unlikely that there are enough of them to justify the costs of developing a Hellcat-powered Chrysler 300. Although FCA has all of the parts, the company will still have to go through the majority of the crash and emission tests, which are costly and time-consuming, so even though FCA wouldn’t have to spend much to engineer a Hellcat 300, they would incur the costs of making them legal for road use in the US.
Lower Demand for Hellcat Sedans, V8 300s
The Dodge Hellcat cars have now been offered for three models years – 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2015, Dodge sold 1,334 Hellcat Chargers followed by 4,025 Hellcat Chargers in 2016, but for 2017, that number dropped dramatically to 1,889 for a total of 7,248 supercharged sedans in the first 3 model years. At the same time, Dodge sold 7,168 in 2015, 11,995 in 2016 and 2,976 in 2017 for a total of 22,139 supercharged coupes, so the 2-door Hellcat has outsold the 4-door Hellcat at a rate of roughly 3-to-1, showing more buyer interest in the coupe each year and overall. In other words, interest in the Hellcat Charger has been lower than the Hellcat Challenger by a significant margin, but we also have to look at buyer trends within the Chrysler brand.
A few years back, the Chrysler 300 had all of the same basic trim lines as the Dodge Charger. This included a RWD V6 model, an AWD V6 model, a RWD 5.7L V8 model, an AWD 5.7L V8 model and a RWD SRT variant with the 392 cubic inch Hemi. However, due to extremely low take rates, the AWD V8 300 and the SRT 300 were removed from the US lineup, as Chrysler 300 buyers show a strong preference for the fuel-friendly V6 models. Really, it didn’t cost Chrysler much money to have those models in the lineup and there wasn’t enough interest to keep them going, so I have to question that FCA sees enough V8 interest from hardcore Chrysler brand fans to justify the costs of putting together a Hellcat 300.
It Does Make Sense for Australia
While it seems unlikely that FCA would introduce a Hellcat-powered Chrysler 300 in the US after killing off the SRT 300, the SRT 300 with the 392 cubic inch Hemi is alive and well in Australia. That is a market which loves high performance vehicles and that whole performance segment has a long history of loving high performance sedans. The Dodge Charger is not offered in Australia, but the Chrysler 300 is, so developing a Hellcat model for the Aussie market makes far more sense on every front. Australia has a strong Mopar community which wants a Hellcat model, the Dodge Charger is not available for sale and the Chrysler 300 - in SRT form – is available, so it seems like the perfect project for the Australian market.
The bottom line here is that with FCA going away from offering the same vehicles over and over with different badges in the US market, it seems highly unlikely that the company would introduce a Hellcat 300 when the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat already offers everything that buyers would get from the supercharged Chrysler sedan. It would be very easy for the company to create a Hellcat-powered Chrysler 300 with parts from the Hellcat Charger, but it is hard to imagine that there is enough demand in the US for a second Hellcat sedan.
However, the Australian market seems like the ideal place for a Chrysler 300 SRT Hellcat, where there is demand for a hotter Chrysler sedan which cannot be answered with the Dodge Charger.