By on April 25, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, Image: FCA

Update: We’ve redacted a sentence from this editorial. You can find an explanation here.

Jay-Z and Beyonce got nothing on the marketing people from Dodge. The last low-volume vehicle to get this kind of publicity and raise this kind of ruckus was probably the LaFerrari, which was definitely not based on a $29.99/day rental car. (Trust me, I’ve driven the LaFerrari.) It will also toss, by my back-of-envelope estimation, somewhere between $100m and $200m into the company coffers, even if you don’t take into account all the lower-spec Challengers — even Hellcats — the Demon will sell just by drawing traffic into dealers.

The media response to the Demon has been half predictable and half rather refreshing.

The predictable part is the Motor Trend-style cheerleading, which in this case has spread far beyond MT because — let’s face it — anybody can get excited over a nine-second street car. (By contrast, it takes a seasoned hack, erm, a real pro to get excited about the Bolt.) The refreshing half of the commentary has come from the half of the media that likes to style itself as an un-elected and un-appointed fiscal watchdog of the industry. These are the people who whine a certain car “won’t sell” or “doesn’t make money” as if they are major shareholders of GM instead of underwater-basketweaving-degree-holders sitting in rent-controlled apartments on a mountain of student debt.

Normally, these people would be up in arms that an automaker has taken time off from the critical business of building suppository-shaped RX300 clones to briefly indulge in a bout of misguided enthusiasm about automobiles. In this case, however, the Demon is so obviously going to be wildly profitable that they’ve been forced to shut up and/or join the chorus of approbation. Except, that is, for one crusty old relic of the legacy media who’s found a new tune to play.

“For FCA to build a car like this, one that can be legally driven off the dealer’s lot, is nothing short of irresponsible. It’s an act of desperation by a company whose cars are getting really old. Consider that the Challenger itself is 8 years old, and the platform it rides on is from well into the last century.” That’s Richard Truett’s opinion, anyway.

Mr. Truett won’t be immediately familiar to most “car guys,” but those of us who dabble in automotive journo-world from time to time know him as a reliably troll-able creepy old man who can be provoked into deranged Facebook rants that often abandon any pretense of rationality whatsoever well before the last incoherent sentence dribbles from his quivering lips. He really is what the kids call “Facebook Grandpa,” although I don’t think he’s in his 60s yet.

We could pick that first paragraph of Truett’s apart pretty easily — what does the age of the Challenger’s platform matter, really? — but right after ol’ Dickie hits you with the left jab of silliness, he smacks you with the right cross of stupidity: “I grew up in an era when more horsepower was always better. General Motors’ 455-cubic-inch performance V-8s from the early ’70s, Chrysler’s 426 Hemi and Ford’s 427, 428 and 429 V-8s were highly coveted. Before increasingly strict emissions standards choked off power and expensive gasoline dried up buyers’ thirst for more, the highest horsepower engines topped out at a sane and manageable 425 or so.”

Just from that last sentence, you can tell that this guy has no practical experience driving fast. I guarantee you that a stock Demon is much easier to drive than a Chevelle LS6 on bias-plys would have been. Add a little bit of rain or traffic to the equation and things get even sillier. Have you looked at the brakes on those old musclecars?

The Challenger Hellcat is an easy car to drive. The Demon shouldn’t be much worse, particularly with the street-compatible front tires installed. It has traction control. It has big brakes. It has ESC. The only way you can hurt yourself in it is to turn all those systems off and floor the throttle in the immediate vicinity and direction of a concrete wall. It’s not an AC 427 Cobra and no amount of rhetoric on Mr. Truett’s part will make it so.

Luckily for all of us, Dickie has a proposal: “There’s a reason drag-centric cars such as this from other automakers or specialty equipment manufacturers aren’t given a vehicle identification number: They present a clear and present danger to not only their drivers, but to the motoring public. That FCA is able to skirt those regulations with the Demon says to me that the rules should be significantly tightened.”

Uh-huh: he wants to make the Demon illegal and change the law to make fast cars harder to get.

The irony here is the Demon isn’t even the fastest car you can buy. Most of the supercars out there will reliably trap 137-141 in private hands, meaning that they will match a Demon at the end of the quarter-mile and steam away afterwards due to the smaller holes they punch in the air. Add motorcycles to the mix and things get downright silly. My Kawasaki ZX-14R will beat the Demon to the quarter-mile mark handily, with a trap speed 22 mph greater — and this is a vehicle that has no seatbelts or stability control whatsoever. While the ZX-14R is the current King of the Streets, threatened only by the supercharged H2 also sold by Kawasaki, the number of ways you can trap 145 mph or better for $15,000 or less is pretty long. The old FZ1 I bought for $1,800 can trap 139 with bolt-ons. That thing doesn’t even have anti-lock brakes.

Any law that made the Dodge Demon illegal would either be easily circumvented (if written loosely) or a nightmare of unintended consequences (if written with teeth). Would you set a elapsed-time limit? A trap speed limit? Who’d do the testing? Or would we just go back to a Claybrook-and-Carter era where speedometers would be limited to 85mph and advertising wouldn’t be able to quote performance figures? How would you make that stick in the Internet age?

It could be there is something more predictable, more ancient, at work here. In an angry response to reader criticism, Truett claims, “I’ve owned close to 50 sports cars. Drove to work today in a Honda S2000. My first car was a ’70 Pontiac GTO with a 455 4-speed. The first car I restored was a 1967 Ford Mustang GTA with a 390 cubic inch engine.” Perhaps this is just another example of a phenomenon that is uncomfortably familiar to young people since time immemorial: the creepy grandpa who doesn’t want the kids to have the same kind of fun he had. Nothing new about that, trust me. Perhaps the truly irresponsible action isn’t the release of an 840-horsepower drag special; perhaps it’s the attempt to crush the joyful modern age of automotive enthusiasm, coming from a bitter old nobody who just can’t release his withered grip on the media microphone so the new generation can have its own rightful day in the sun.

[Image: FCA]

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147 Comments on “Automotive News Looks At Dodge Demon, Clutches Its Pearls, Sighs, Faints...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    The only issue I have with cars like the Demon is that far too few of them will get taken to the strip and used to their fullest potential. Same is true of most supercars as well, just substitute road course for drag strip.

    Seems like a waste not to use all the available performance.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I wonder if Jack sees the irony in him pointing out somebody else’s Get-Off-My-Lawn rants. This is the same Jack that indulges in repeated Kids-These-Days drivel, including a gratuitous swipe in this very same article.

    I can’t speak for everybody, but I find it tiresome no matter which generation a particular geezer (or Geezer at heart) is from.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The stuff about “outlaw the Demon” is blather, but Truett’s right about FCA, and what the Demon means for them: it’s window dressing. It’s an old product dressed up with a bunch of horsepower and some trick drag racing parts. Will it sell? Yes. Will it be profitable? God, yes.

    Here’s the problem, though: overall, FCA sales in March were down by 20,000 units. If you’re a fan of the company, the especially troubling piece of that news is that Jeep sales are also down over 2016. Now, will whatever they make off the Demon make up for that?

    And more importantly, this does nothing to bring Dodge back. The Demon’s a great halo car…but there’s no head to put the halo on.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      +111

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Agreed. FCA is running on borrowed time just like a 70’s era hair band’s 4th “Final” Nostalgia tour.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Hey, the “final tour” BS worked for The Who about six times…

        Back in college, I had a “Who Farewell Tour” poster from their first “farewell.” I wonder if it’d be a collector’s item now.

    • 0 avatar

      To be fair Ford was down 20k units in March as well.
      Jeep is suffering from the fact that the new Compass hasn’t made it’s way to dealers yet while the old compass stopped production back in December. If sales don’t pick back by June you may have an issue there.
      Basically yeah they have issues but nothing to bad yet. But they also have paid down an amazing amount of debt, if they can release some decent product in the next 3 years FCA will still be around.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      He may be right about FCA being a floating turd fighting the flush, but a broken clock is right TWICE A DAY! This one was a fluke.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      You and Truett have about the same level of insight into the business. Jeep sales are down due to the end of the Patriot and all-old Compass. They were high volume, but low profit units and as such their absence doesn’t change the bottom line much. Ditto the Dart and 200. Profitability is up overall.

      Internet grandpas will manifest their prophecies in anything.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Perhaps so, Danio.

        But let’s assume that the new Compass magically makes up for the lost Patriot / old Compass sales. Even assuming that, FCA still has one zombie brand (Dodge), one on its’ way to becoming a zombie (Chrysler), one that has totally bombed (Fiat), and a “new” brand (Alfa) whose introductory car has a tendency to conk out when it’s put in the hands of the automotive press (just like Alfas did back in the day). Their core business – SUVs and trucks – is highly sensitive to forces out of their control, like fuel prices or the overall economy. If the market moves back towards cars – which is what happens in an economic downturn, because folks don’t splurge on more expensive SUVs and trucks when they’re not making as much money – they’re in trouble.

        Maybe I’m an Internet Grandpa. Entirely possible. But I don’t think you need to be Lee Iacocca to see what’s up with FCA – clearly Marchionne is looking for a buyer. And I have no doubt he’ll find one.

        • 0 avatar

          Actually Sergio seems to be getting away from the selling thing. They are paying down debt much faster then anyone thought they would. While the 200 and Dart flopped, The Cherokee and Renegade have done very well and the Pacifica is selling about 5% more volume then the T&C used too. If the new Compass can hold onto most of the sales of the compatriot twins they shouldn’t have many issues. They do need some new product but selling good volumes of old product isn’t a bad place to be as it saves some R and D dollars. When it starts to slide heavily you have an issue.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          You’re mistaking market share for profitability. Losing old Compatriot volume is not much of a loss if there was little profit to be had. Selling less units at a higher gross isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be very good if capacity constraints are a factor, which they are. This is where FCA has been focusing efforts, margins, and seeing success.

          Fuel prices don’t affect truck and SUV sales much. The economy sure does, but that doesn’t make small cars any more profitable either. The market doesn’t “turn” towards small cars in an economic downturn, the market shrinks and some segments shrink faster than others. Small unprofitable cars are no savior.

          Finally, not every brand needs a vehicle in every segment if those brands share a showroom. It’s not imperative. The Sloan model worked when GM had 50% of the market, but it’s not as relevant today.

  • avatar
    brawnychicken333

    There is irony in this coming from Jack-but it is accurate. I wonder Truett’s upbringing.

    There seems to be some folks who are unhappy that blue collars guys with small fleets of white vans will now get to drive as fast as people rich enough for exotics.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “the creepy grandpa who doesn’t want the kids to have the same kind of fun he had.”

    Thank​ you.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Probably my favorite version of the Chally. The giant hood scoop (lets call it a hood crevasse) balances out the big booty in back.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    “They present a clear and present danger to not only their drivers, but to the motoring public.”

    WHOA there, Clancy! I think we’ll live through it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “I saw a Hellcat once, and I nearly died, because it was so overpowered!

      This thing would kill me if I saw it because reasons.”

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yeah, the clutching of pearls on this one is really silly. Any rear wheel drive car of about 300+ horsepower can get you into trouble. (edit: heck, 300? my 207 hp Ranger can go all sorts of sideways with ESC turned off!) All it takes is switching ESC off and hitting the gas while the car is pointed anywhere but straight ahead, and you’ve got the chance of Mustang-leaving-Cars-and-Coffee-level carnage. Once you get above 400 horsepower, the difference (on the street) between 400 and 800 hp is academic.

        I mean, how many 400-700 horsepower Tesla Model Ss are out there? And there’s no epidemic of destruction by them.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My only “problem” with the Demon – the lack of roll cage.

    http://jalopnik.com/heres-why-the-dodge-challenger-srt-demon-is-banned-by-t-1794240969

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “what does the age of the Challenger’s platform matter, really?”

    I ask this all the time. Platforms don’t “rot.”

    besides, I don’t think most people who complain about the “age” of a platform even know what a platform *is* or what matters about it. To them, there’s no difference between a 2017 Explorer and a 1998 Volvo, even though they likely share few if any parts.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Platforms do matter. A lot. And no better example of this exists than FCA itself. The 200 and Dart were both made off the same (old Alfa) platform. And that platform directly caused issues with both cars that became critical to their failures (weight in the Dart, back seat room in the 200).

      If FCA had something like VW’s MQB platform, it’d a boon for their business.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Depends what you do with the platform and how it was engineered to start with.

        A W-body 1988 Cutlass Supreme is much different than a W-body 2012 Impala but there were likely “hard points” and other things that dictated certain aspects of each.

        The only issue with the age of a platform is when it can’t meet crash regulations.

        I will agree about the Dart and 200 but from the respect that Chrysler was trying to make one platform be both compact and midsize at the same time. That means you end up with a big fat compact and a tiny cramped midsize.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          In other words, they didn’t have the right platform to do both cars on, so both failed. The Dart was too heavy to be a compact, and it wasn’t big enough to be stretched into a midsizer.

          And, true, GM made modified versions of the W-body for a zillion years. And then they went bankrupt, in no small part because they had no really competitive midsized models at a time when that was a critical market segment. The only people who bought W-bodies new by the mid-2000s were rental agencies.

          Like I said, this stuff matters.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            FYI the W-body wasn’t competitive from day 1 IMHO (at least if you were cursed to be stuck in the back seat of one). But for purposes of this discussion that’s neither here nor there.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Considering how hard the segments that the LX/LY complete in are cratering, how much should FCA spend to invest in a new platform?

        Right now the Charger is the top seller in the flailing full-size market and the Callenger is slightly ahead of the newer platform Camaro.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Ajla, I think the time for FCA to develop a new compact/midsize platform is long past, unfortunately – the brands that this would have benefitted (Chrysler/Dodge) are pretty much zombies at this point. But perhaps they wouldn’t be if the Dart and 200 hadn’t bombed, and those cars bombed in large part because the basic platform was outdated and uncompetitive from the day those cars were introduced.

          You can argue (correctly, I think) that having FCA grow itself “organically” was never the plan to begin with, and that Marchionne’s vision all along was to sell the company to someone else a few years down the road. But how much more would the company be worth if Dodge and Chrysler had been made more viable? No matter how you slice it, platforms matter.

          In this sense, producing the Demon is like a guy with stage 4 cancer going out and getting fitted up for a bespoke suit – at least he’ll look snazzy in his coffin.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        the platform isn’t what sank those two cars, it’s that they were half-@ssed products. Starting with the Giulietta platform didn’t prevent them from lengthening the architecture to get the 200 more room in the rear, nor lightweighting for the Dart. It’s just that they didn’t do it.

        And I’m talking about people who natter on about how a car’s “old” platform is somehow a liability because reasons. You’re talking about how a company used the wrong platform for a couple of products. While I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, it wasn’t the main thrust (giggity) of my argument.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, what I was saying was that the platform was one of the reasons these products failed. It certainly wasn’t the only reason.

          But it’s a lot easier to make a “fully a**ed” car when the basic bones are right.

          And I can think of a LOT of examples of companies that held on to the same platform for far too long, and screwed themselves in the process. FCA is one of them. GM did the same thing with the W-body, and Ford did it with the old Taurus platform. By the end of their production runs, the W-bodies and Taurus were absolutely unappealing to anyone not named “Hertz”. As a result, they had nothing competitive to sell in a critical market segment. That did a huge amount of damage to GM and Ford as the 2000s wore on.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Well, what I was saying was that the platform was one of the reasons these products failed. It certainly wasn’t the only reason.”

            I still disagree. The platform doesn’t necessarily dictate the size of the vehicle (within reason.) Ford’s CD4 platform started out with the Fusion/Mondeo and MKZ, and was embiggened to the D-segment Continenal, then embiggened again to the 3-row Galaxy, S-Max, and Edge (China.)

            “And I can think of a LOT of examples of companies that held on to the same platform for far too long,”

            yeah, but that’s not the fault of the platform, it’s either laziness or boom-bust resource starvation. The K-car saved Chrysler in 1980, but it wasn’t the platform’s fault that they were still putting different window dressings and brougham-tastic landau roofs on it over a decade later. on the other hand, you can trace the platforms of the Accord and Camry back decades.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “The platform doesn’t necessarily dictate the size of the vehicle (within reason.) ”

            No, but it does dictate weight. Weight dictates size. And in the case of the Dart and the 200, weight was a major reason why each model failed.

            The Dart ended up weighing about as much as a manual Accord, and as a result, the only way to get decent performance was to stuff a larger, heavier engine in it (the 2.4). And even with all that engine, the car feels like a dog if you drive it back to back with something like a Civic. That alone cost the car a huge amount of sales.

            And excessive weight hurt the 200 as well – the biggest product flaw was a small back seat. Problem is, fixing that would have added lots of weight, and the a base four-cylinder version weighted about 3500 pounds as it was. Compare that to an Accord, which weights 150-200 pounds less, and has a LOT more interior room all around. If FCA had made the 200 space-competitive, then the performance (which was never great to begin with) would have suffered.

            It all started with a poor choice of platform, or a lazy application of the underpinnings they had on hand. Yes, Ford, Honda and Toyota use platforms for a long time as well, but they do a far better job of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      An obvious fly in the ointment of any platform discussion centering on age is the Ford Crown Victoria. The BOF design traced its origins back multiple decades. The frame in my ’68 Galaxie doesn’t look much different than the last Crown Vic other than addition of wheel base. If a platform works in its current iteration, then I don’t see much of an issue.
      With that being said, there usually isn’t much long term benefit to camping out on a fixed platform for a “performance” vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        And by the end the Crown Vic was quite the embarrassment. It was a 2011 car with 1978 packaging, a 1980 transmission (albeit with a primitive computer added), a 1990 engine, and 1992 interior quality. Unless you were a cop, a decade-old Avalon was far superior in every single respect.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I think the Crown Vic platform had lived well beyond its usable life but as a police/taxi unit that “old” tech made it perfect for fleet applications. It was cheap and easy to fix and parts could be found from almost anywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            They were good for cops, but it was good for taxi services to be weaned off them. Now the taxi services are using Prii for the most part, with a few Camry Hybrids, and they are proving similarly durable and easy to fix, while getting literally four times the mileage in city taxi use.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            dal20402 – my local taxi fleets used Crown Vic’s but most were purchased used as ex-police units. The majority were converted to natural gas. Currently most are Prii and Corolla’s.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Around here we now have a “green cab” mandate for new purchases so almost everything is either a Prius or a Camry Hybrid. There are still a few straggler Panthers but they get rarer by the day.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Internet commentators pretending to have some sort of knowledge or expertise in something they don’t really understand, but really want to appear as they do.

      The Demon shares nothing with any vehicle “made in the last century” nor any original LX car. Stating this a misnomer designed to prove some poorly reasoned prophecy, probably due to some chip on a shoulder, axe to grind or virtue signaling. In short, it’s BS.

      If keeping the same basic platform name/architecture for long life cycles is some kind of major defect to these commentators, they should focus more on some volume models from Ford, Subaru, Honda and Toyota. Perhaps they’re just easily fooled by the frequent sheetmetal changes.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        RE: prius etc. taxi cabs :
        .
        Tiny, cramped little crap boxes with NO leg nor trunk room ! .
        .
        Grumble, complain, whine, bitch, moan etc. .
        .
        FWIW, this _isn’t_ just an Old Man rant ~ those of you who didn’t grow up with decent size taxis have no idea what you’re missing .
        .
        -Nate

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “(By contrast, it takes a seasoned hack, erm, a real pro to get excited about the Bolt.)”

    I’m a muscle car guy from way back. I *love* the combination of power and overall capability available today. But, in one respect, the Demon is just a question of degree, not a radical change to the way things are. Laugh all you want at the Bolt but, to me, it is far more interesting than the Demon. After all, one can easily create an equivalent to the Demon with enough aftermarket parts whereas a viable, long-range, reasonable-cost electric vehicle is a different animal and, without a doubt, is a much bigger technical achievement.

  • avatar
    operagost

    Yeah, what we really need is a dumber version of Ralph Nader. Yay, let’s put restriction plates and governors on our cars for the children!

    And “skirt those regulations”? Without even checking, I can assure you that FCA hasn’t purposely broken any safety regulations. It’s a little more visible than, you know, computer code running a TDI. “Skirt” is not a legal term. This schmuck is dangerously close to libel.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Loophole” – n. A deliberate feature of the law that the speaker doesn’t like.

      “Skirt regulations” – v. Do perfectly legal, acceptable things that the speaker doesn’t like.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Nothing to see here. The mid to late ’80s 5.0 Mustang was more the public enemy (more so now that any kid in high school and a McJob can readily get one, and probably fully insure it), especially the “notch” LX 5-speed, barely $30K in today’s money.

    300 lbs/ft of torque, barely 3,200 lbs, no traction nannies what so ever, not even ABS. That’s before swapmeet bolt-ons, 4.10 gears, etc.

    You’ll rarely witness a Demon on the street, except in GCC Arab countries.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      DenverMike – good to mention that. I recall a crash study showing the Fox Mustang as the most dangerous vehicle to give to a young driver.
      I don’t see typical high school kids and early 20’s types in any muscle car. They don’t have the money.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Oh puhhhhhhhhhhleezzzzzzzzz Mr. Truett.

    My Momma drove an SS 396 Chevelle when she was pregnant with me because that was the only car Dear Ol’ Dad had with the exception of the company truck he had been assigned.

    If you drive like a jacka$$ it doesn’t matter whether its a Demon or Metro – you’ve still got lots of potential to kill yourself and many others.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      “My Momma drove an SS 396 Chevelle when she was pregnant with me …”

      Theory: The kinda car your mom drove/rode in when she was pregnant with you influences your choices/opinions of cars and driving.

      Don’t recall what my folks had when my mom was pregnant with me, but Dad was a crack mechanic and hot-rodder so it was the hottest car they could afford. Later came an Olds Rocket 88, and the ’40 Ford pickup with Olds 88 engine, Chevy front-end and Caddy rear-end (may have these reversed), and so on. No idea where I got the British sports car bug … I’ll have to ask Mom about that.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment, just because I’ve never heard of him before and have no other context; the link is to a pro vs. con article, one side pro Demon, the other against. Any chance he was just playing devil’s advocate or playing up his position just to make the article work?

    Anyways, the chances of the Demon endangering anyone are pretty small since 99% will be parked in a garage under a cover except for maybe 4-5 trips a year to the local cars and coffee.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      From the videos I’ve seen Cars and Coffee is about the most dangerous thing you can do with a domestic muscle car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Too much HP and testosterone + too little IQ and driving skill = YouTube hilarity.

        • 0 avatar

          I know – where is BTSR anyway?

          Truett’s a fool but I do think he has a point. MT, R&T and C/D and the rest of the traditional fanboy enthusiast “journalists” are a laugh riot. I get a kick out of how they’re unctuously egging FCA on, pleased that they’ve built the answer to a 15-year-old’s wet dream.

          I’ll be the one to throw cold water: the 840HP Demon should exist, of course. I don’t feel qualified to say whether it should be street-legal. But there are a lot of idiots like BTSR out there with more money than brains. If Demon buyers can afford an $80-$110K toy, can’t they can afford race track fees?

          Reading all this, I can’t help but remember all the crying over actor Paul Walker’s death. What got less focus was his race-car friend driving that Porsche Carrera GT like an irresponsible moron — over 85mph in a 30mph industrial park. It may well be the same with Demon drivers in their street-legal machines – those that don’t end up as garage queens.

          There is such a thing as societal responsibility. I’d be pleased to see some of that balanced with the fanboy media nursing those marketing dollars from the FCA teet.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            “I know – where is BTSR anyway?”

            Banned. Still watching though, I suspect.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            I’d suggest that the responsibility there is for the idiot hooners to *not be idiots*, though.

            It’s not FCA’s fault if someone drives a Demon like a fool, any more than it’s their fault if someone wraps their base-model 200 around a phone pole because they drove *it* too fast.

            (There is no mass-market street-legal car in America so underpowered you can’t drive it too fast, AFAIK.

            Certainly not one made in the past few decades)

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          FreedMike – too true. I watched a video of “kids” trashing rather new and very expensive lifted HD diesel pickups. It was cringe-worthy considering the price of those vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – I stumbled upon those videos yesterday. Practically teenagers with (older than them!) Cummins pickups pushing 1000 hp (dyno’d) and over 2000 lbs/ft of torque!

            I would’ve killed myself (and others) with the power available to kids for cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            DenverMike – the video I saw had some older trucks in it but most were trucks that were only a few years old.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    As fast and powerful as the Demon may be overall, it’s still an FCA product.

    I wonder just how many sales this car either will actually get, or will inspire prospective car buyers to consider FCA’s offerings.

    I could be wrong, but it appears that FCA’s reputation is going down, not up. If I am correct, I wish it wasn’t so.

    What bothers me how many trees and telephone poles will be killed by these supercars in the hands of nuts!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      It takes hundreds of bolts to put a car together but only one NUT to scatter it all over the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      silentsod

      They’ll sell every single one they make, much like the Hellcat Charger and Challenger. Even though the Charger interior is shabby I like the idea of a 700HP available 4 door sedan from the factory with a warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Wait, is Demon > HELLCAT?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’d actually go with a Hellcat over a Demon (better all around performance).

          But I’d say the best Challenger all-around is the SRT 392 model.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            R/T Scat Pack with the Dynamics Package is the killer app.

            You get the same engine, brakes, and tires as the SRT but it is eligible for all the usual R/T incentives so you can get it for ~$37k without even negotiating.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That’s a helluva deal.

            All I know is I saw one of those 392s at the Golden Car Cruise, and the exhaust note was pure sex.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The one I want is the 392 (in Charger, not Challenger, form). No difference in usable power between it and the Hellcat on the street, and it looks a lot more finished than the cheaper Scat Pack.

          • 0 avatar
            turbo_awd

            @ajla – Actually, I think the new Charger Daytona 392 is the killer app. Everything but the SRT adaptive suspension and some of the “SRT pages”, I think. Starting at $45k, and sometimes available for under $40 locally.

            I like the idea of the adaptive suspension, but not $10k much.. Hardly ever see huge discounts on SRT 392 Chargers..

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The Dynamics Package gives the Scat Pack the brakes, wheels, and tires from the Daytona/SRT. I think they already had the same SRT pages available (reduced compared to the full SRT).

            It looks like what the Daytona gives is the suede interior as standard and it has the decal package. And a less stupid name. It’s possible the exhaust is tuned a little different on the Daytona as well, but I’ve not heard them side-by-side.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “They’ll sell every single one they make”

        Yup, and those not lucky enough to get one will clamor for MOAH!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        They “sell every one they make” because they constrain supply on purpose to generate buzz. There’s nothing remotely exotic or hard to make about the Hellcat engine or anything else about Hellcat variants of LX cars.

        • 0 avatar
          silentsod

          The production run is slated to be 3,300 and it doesn’t take a genius to put together that they are going to sell all of those. Even if a bunch of their buyers are just going to crow about owning one and not use it at a drag strip.

      • 0 avatar
        turbo_awd

        @silentsod: They’ll sell every single one they make, much like the Hellcat Charger and Challenger.

        Not sure I agree with you there.. Dealers around here are starting to accumulate Hellcats..

        • 0 avatar
          silentsod

          ~14 new Charger Hellcats are available per state (assuming an even distribution) and ~36 Challenger Hellcats per state according to cars.com (cursory).

          Dodge is averaging more than 50 dealers per state and if only 20% of those dealers get Hellcats that’s 10 total Hellcats per dealer that receives them. I don’t know about monthly totals per trim level but the Charger and Challenger are both selling decently well in the market at clips of 8k/mo and 5k/mo respectively over the past quarter. So maybe you can do some actual data driven work to prove they’re accumulating over time. Maybe someone has the Dodge information for days on lot by VIN?

        • 0 avatar
          silentsod

          Addendum: http://www.hellcat.org/threads/2016-dodge-hellcat-final-production-totals-and-stats.40505/

          If true, 1k/mo Challenger sales and around 400/mo Charger sales which would clear all available inventory in just under two months. The current industry average is 75 days according to https://www.arnonline.org/increased-inventory-levels-across-us-dealership-stores-might-be-a-bad-indicator-for-the-industryrsquos-performance.html

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      All of those are classics!

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “Um, even if a car company makes millions of vehicles, they sell every one, don’t they.”
        .
        Um, _no_ .
        .
        I took Chevrolet well into the 1956 model year to unload all the 1954 Chevies they’d made…..
        .
        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          The dealers near me still have brand new 2016 F150 and Silverado 1500 trucks on the new car lot.

          But those are not limited edition specialty niche cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Nate – Eventually they sell. It is very rare for a company not to sell all of their model run.

          @HDC – my local dealers have some left over 2016’s. Interestingly enough, all of the 2016 F150’s remaining on the lot are 5.0’s. 6 are crewcabs. 2 are 6.5 box Lariat and the rest short box.They have 6 fleet spec regular cab 4×4’s all identically equipped. I believe they are a fleet “overbuy”. They have at least 10 extended cab trucks left. They have one 4×2 long box V6 truck that has been on the lot for at least a year.
          All of he 4×4’s have a 10k discount plus a 1k costco discount. The 4×2 has a $2,500 discount.

          That basically shows that the EB 3.5 is their best selling engine. Crewcab 6.5 box 4×4 is their best selling configuration. Short box crew the 2nd best configuration followed by extended cab trucks. Reg cab trucks are very limited in scope. No one really wants a 4×2. I bet that what I see locally lines up close to what Ford sells across the board.
          I was hoping that they would deep discount the 4×2 reg cab as my son is approaching driving age. At this rate, it will sit their another year.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Other than fixing them, I know not a whole lot about cars but it seems to me that these Daemons were pre destined to sell the entire production run immediately .
            .
            -Nate

  • avatar
    SWA737

    If I owned a Demon, I’d put a Hybrid badge and a CoeXist bumpersticker on it.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    “underwater-basketweaving-degree-holders sitting in rent-controlled apartments on a mountain of student debt.”

    Bachelor of Complaining degrees.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    I absolutely love it. Now it’s getting the old mens’ knickers knotted. Making it “public enemy #1” only enhances its outlaw reputation. Reputation drives sales.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I don’t care much either way, but for me this car just shows FCA has no ideas or any real future.

    • 0 avatar
      jeoff

      The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has just started shipping in earnest, and is something hopeful for FCA– an affordable 7 passenger vehicle with large cargo capacity that gets 50% better gas mileage than everything else in its class–the platform can be used for large cars and SUVs.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    The comments are highly educational on so many levels .
    .
    I hope this car makes good $ for FCA, as always, they need it .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Back to Checklist Jack.

    – Gratuitous slam of liberal arts education: check
    – Gratuitous slam of cities: check
    – Gratuitous slam of electric cars, regardless of merit: check (the comment would have been far more convincing if the car were a RAV4)
    – Characterization of the entire automotive press (save himself, of course) as hacks: check
    – Boast about the capability of one of his personal vehicles: check
    – Stoking of intramural drama: check

    About the only thing missing is a hard-to-believe conquest story.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    >>whatsoever well before the last incoherent
    >>sentence dribbles from his quivering lips.

    Wouldn’t it be better to say “dribbles from his quivering fingertips?”

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    The age of the Challenger’s platform is a good thing. It should be made unchanged mechanically for as long as regulations will allow. If they turn Challengers and Chargers into cramped stiff Cadillac ATS like sport sedans, I will not buy another one.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    Suggestion to TTAC, begin the Demon Death Watch (DDW). Start counting the days from when the first one goes on sale to the time the first driver destroys HIMself or someone else with this car.

    Also, I always read the articles before I see who wrote them. Without fail by the second paragraph I think “must be Jack”, and scroll up to see. Haven’t been wrong yet. I for one love your writing style, insanity and all.

    Finally, I assume some contributors actually read this far down into the comments.

    That is all.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Ayn Rand would totally drive one of these…down to the bank to cash her Social Security check.

  • avatar

    ” the highest horsepower engines topped out at a sane and manageable 425 or so.”

    Well, at least the highest *advertised* horsepower. Companies underrated power so as not to make the cars uninsurable. The Chevy L88 was rated at 430 and put out more than 500 HP and the 426 Hemi put out about 470 HP, with a published power rating of 425. These things are pretty much common knowledge and Truett should know it. If he knows it, he’s misleading his readers.

    Jack’s point about suspension, tires and brakes of modern performance cars vs what was available on vintage muscle cars is valid. You could buy a MOPAR with a 440 six-pack and manual drum brakes. All that cast iron sitting over the front wheels didn’t exactly help the handling either.

  • avatar
    nvinen

    “The only way you can hurt yourself in it is to turn all those systems off and floor the throttle in the immediate vicinity and direction of a concrete wall.”

    My car has a measly 670 horsepower and I’ve never turned traction/stability control off, yet it managed to launch itself at a wall which I wasn’t pointing at merely because I pressed the accelerator too hard on a wet road with a questionable surface (in response to some moron in a Subaru who darted into the lane I was changing into while doing about 200% of the speed limit). And I had almost brand new Michelin Pilot Supersport tires fitted.

    Please, if you have anything approaching this much horsepower in a RWD, learn from my lesson and be very careful with the accelerator pedal on a wet road. Even just slightly wet can mean you’ll spin off if you give it too much throttle. Traction control won’t necessarily save you (I think to a large extent, it depends on how good/aggressive your TC is).

  • avatar
    Rday

    My wife used to say that there are two kinds of people…the breeders and the non-breeders. And that the two groups need to be kept separate.
    By breeders she meant people mature and smart enough to be parents, adults and mature people.
    The Demon is a car that could be used to test which group you are in. Mature people would see this car as a waste of time and money, too impractical and expensive for a family or adult crowd.

    while 14year old teens would dream of this car picking up ‘hot chicks’ etc and racing off into the sunset for a life of never ending bliss radiating from such a car.

    Mature and wise people know that this is all a pipe dream or brain damage due to too much alcohol/drugs and overindulgence from irresponsible parents.

    So is there any wonder this country has so many confused and lost adults that would even consider one of these money pits??????

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “By breeders she meant people mature and smart enough to be parents, adults and mature people.”

      Unfortunately, we see the opposite in the real world.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        By which you mean to denigrate people like your parents, who damned you into existence. Personally, I can’t find any common ground with Rday, his wife, or you. Mike Judge probably felt the same when he wrote Idiocracy. I don’t have kids, a desire for a Demon, or contempt for people optimistic enough to bring kids into an SJW world; but I do know you’re all worried about ridiculous things.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    This car will be floored off of several dozen traffic lights until the first set of rear tires are down to the wear bars, then driven rarely thereafter.

  • avatar
    Paul Alexander

    ‘underwater-basketweaving-degree-holders sitting in rent-controlled apartments on a mountain of student debt’

    Is ‘underwater-basketweaving’ a reference to Weird Al’s UHF? And those must be some Himalayan sized apartments!

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    The main issue I see from a totally unqualified point of view is that FCA “wasted” precious time and money developing the Hellcat and Demon to cater to a VERY small niche market (in the grand scheme of things), but- Wrangler/JGC withstanding, they don’t have a volume vehicle that people actually *want* to buy or that sell in appreciable enough numbers to make a small, expensive proposition like this seem worthwhile.

    Ford is a good comparison. Mustang’s sell great, F150’s sell like mad, Focus sells like mad, Fiesta, Fusion, Explorer… all sell like crazy. FCA? What do they sell to keep the company afloat long term? Ram products? Ok, the Ram truck sells decently but not like the other domestic competitors. Jeeps? Only the Wrangler is a good buy, and most people know that. Fiat? Nope. Chrysler? I have high hopes for the Pacifica, but that’s about where they stop.

    I just don’t see it being a fiscally responsible endeavor from FCA to spend that R&D money on enthusiasm when they cant get a core established first.

    Now, off to the B&B to tell me how wrong I am and why I’m an idiot for thinking this way.

    In actuality though, I’d like to know if I’m wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      They sell 500,000 rams a year Ford sells 800,000 F series and Chevy sells 575,000 Silverado’s. Thats pretty good. Thats more ram trucks then Mazda sells across all their models.
      They are selling a 100k pacificas a year which is the same as Honda sells Odyssseys or Toyota sells Siennas. Plus they are still moving 100k Grand caravans.
      Jeep sells 200k Cherokees a year plus 200k grand cherokees a year. And 200k Wranglers a year. Thats alot of jeeps.
      On the Dodge side the Journey sells more then 100k a year.

      On fiat well yeah that’s not working.
      As much as people call for the death of FCA they sell a ton of cars.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        They’re selling ***now***.

        Problem is, every product segment you’re talking about – pickups, SUVs, and minivans – is sensitive to fuel prices, and what’s going on in the economy. If there’s a real estate downturn (possible, as rates are headed upward), then pickup sales will go down. If gas prices go up, trucks and CUVs won’t sell as well. If all that happens at the same time, then folks will be more inclined to save a few bucks and buy sedans versus crossovers.

        FCA is not well suited for that scenario.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        I was just looking up sales numbers. Used carsalebase.com

        2016-
        F-series: 820,799 / Mustang: 105,932
        RAM: 487,588 / Challenger: 64,478
        GM Twins: 574,876 + 221,680= 796,556 / Camaro: 72,705

        YTD
        F-series: 205,281 / Mustang: 22,464
        RAM: 119,199 / Challenger: 15,725
        GM Twins: 128,467 + 49,810= 178,227 / Camaro: 15,298

        Just for grins, lets look at the Pacifica, Journey, Odyssey, Sienna, and Grand Caravan.

        2016
        Pacifica + Grand Caravan: 61,525 / 125,275
        Journey: 106,220
        Odyssey: 120,846
        Sienna: 127,791

        YTD
        Pacifica + Grand Caravan: 25,052 / 40,054
        Journey: 34,400
        Odyssey: 21,027
        Sienna: 26,020

        Journey sales are the way they are because there’s such high rebates on them (currently up to $7,200 off MSRP here locally if you qualify for all, $5000 when you walk thru the door) and they’ll finance them for credit criminals so they’re not making much money on them.

        The Grand Caravan is dead on the vine and their rebates are up to $5,250 off ALL trim levels, so again, people who need it but can’t afford a Sienna/Odyssey go that route.

        Pacifica ALREADY has $5,250 off MSRP and it hasn’t even been on the market for a year. Again, it’s a financial move.

        I know all manufactures (domestic anyway) offer rebates, some more than others, but FCA has to throw MASSIVE amounts of cash on the hood to move their products- which shows that their products can’t stand on their own merit without huge incentives.

        The topic we’re discussing here is the Challenger Demon/HELLCAT and how that money could have been better spent. Maybe sink that money into a new RAM platform, one that hasn’t been around since 2009, in order to get those sales figures back in line with their competitors. Maybe make a REAL compact and midsized car that will sell volumes?

        I don’t know. Maybe I’m just pessimistic.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          FCA has no plan for passenger cars or the Journey replacement because it’s looking to get bought.

          Ideal buyer? A manufacturer who has a ready made supply of midsize/compacts and no (or insufficient) US presence. That’s why Marchionne was talking up VW.

          Most likely candidates?
          1) PSA (assuming they have the resources to do it)
          2) Some Chinese company

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            So it sounds like what you’re saying is that they’re pumping out some profitable, yet unsubstantial “cool shit” while letting everything else languish in purgatory because they’re hoping a buyer swoops in and cleans up the mess? FCA hasn’t churned out the most “quality” driven products in the last decade. Would that have to be a consideration for their prospective buyer?

        • 0 avatar

          Except their profit was up 34% last month, and record profit last year.

          The pacifica was introduced last year so those numbers were as it came on line right now it’s in a dead heat with the competition. Rams sales are still growing despite the age. They are taking market share from GM even with GM having newer product.
          Yes a huge gas increase would be a problem. But other then that not much too worry about.
          There is plan for a new Journey it will be an Americanized and cheapened Stelvio.
          Also New wrangler around the corner and new ram in a little over a year.

          I’m not saying there is no issue there they have serious product issues, but their demise is nowhere near imminent.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I don’t see anything “irresponsible” about building it. It’s really no more dangerous than the dudebro in the lifted F-250 and no one complains about those because, ‘merica.

    I just hope the 50 somethings who have the means to buy one don’t get one for their teenage son to impress his friends at Malibu High School. But then again, Darwin’s law.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    The people behind the Challenger deserve to win every marketing award in the business. I thought they milked this car dry with the Hellcat but then they turned out the GT and later the Demon. They managed to make the Challenger the most practical muscle car (GT) and the most ridiculous muscle car (the Demon) with plenty of other alternatives in between. The Challenger is the much older and less athletic than the Mustang and Camaro but Dodge has made it just as interesting, if not moreso, than those competitors.
    So what’s the problem? Well there isn’t really a problem if FCA’s only job was to sell Challengers. The problem is that they are not able to apply any of the thinking from the Challenger team to the rest of the organization.
    Chrysler: How does this brand have only 2 vehicles?
    Dodge/Chrysler: Where is the replacement for the 300/Charger/Challenger? And, with the success of those vehicles clearly linked to the ridiculous and unique performance variants, how are there even rumors that you’re thinking of going FWD with the next product cycle?
    Jeep: Where is your 3-row vehicle? People should be fired for the absence of this vehicle. Every month you spend worrying about the name or which platform it will be built on is a month that you are losing sales to competitors. There are people out there who would buy a 3 row Jeep no matter what. And the fact that the excellent Grand Cherokee/Durango could become this vehicle with minimal investment just makes it more baffling. And while you continued to ignore the three row market (and what would be your most profitable model) you managed to design the new Compass in order to cram it into the sliver of white space between the Renegade and Cherokee.
    Fiat and Alfa: No comment. I don’t feel like the North American representation of these brands accurately reflect what they’re up to but I can only guess that they should be asking themselves some product questions as well.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    It would appear the Publisher of Automotive News agrees with you:

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20170501/OEM11/170429815/automotive-news-is-wrong


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