By on September 10, 2014

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier.

Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past 180 days, according to brand chief Tim Kuniskis, with a second allocation in December will focus on the previous 90 days of such sales and the traditional 30-day inventory turn.

Further, Dodge will measure how many days each Hellcat remains on the lot after the initial allocation, with the goal of moving them off the lot as quickly as possible if more are to be delivered later on. Kuniskis acknowledges this may be a headache for those who opt to make a market adjustment similar to the one performed at a recent Los Angeles Chevrolet dealership, where a Camaro Z/28 was priced to move at $106,165:

If you want to market-adjust the car, that’s your right. But if your days-on-lot goes above what the other guys that are selling them at MSRP is, they will end up earning the allocation because their days-on-lot will be lower. Some dealers are going to have heartburn with that.

Kuniskis adds that he wants to see each Hellcat out there on the road for all to enjoy instead of sitting in a showroom “with a rope around it” like the Viper, and that his brand “worked hard” to price the beast at an attainable $60,990 with shipping included.

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39 Comments on “Kuniskis: Dealers Must Prove Themselves Worthy Of Selling Hellcat Challenger...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    That’s probably the best any automaker can do to curb the market adjustments. In the end, the dealers will price it to what the market will bear.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      I expect most large markets to have at least one ‘Mega-FCA’ dealer who has more interest in the number of people who walk in the door than the markup they can get on this car, especially if FCA bases future specialty allocations on how well they handle this car. The first allotment will probably have a markup, but once you risk getting stuck with one of them on your floor (and risk not getting as much of whatever is coming down the pipe next) I would expect to see those addn. fees come way down.

      Most of the ‘Velvet Rope Viper’ stories seem to have come from dealers who should never have put the damn thing in their inventory anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        FCA has the right idea. It makes no sense for manufacturers spend a LOT of time and money designing, building, and marketing a halo car only to have greedy dealers alienate the potential buyers with insane markups.

        Dealers are franchisees so the manufacturer (franchisor) has the right to set allocation terms designed to discourage bad behavior. Turning halo cars into unobtainium hurts the manufacturer and the customer. The more I read about FCA management the more impressed I am.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Absolutely. I have no moral problem with hot cars being listed above MSRP. Nobody complains when V6 Challengers go out the door well below MSRP.

          BUT, if the manufacturer gets less cars out the door because the cars are being priced above MSRP (as the law of supply and demand would dictate) then that hurts the manufacturer. So manufacturers should do everything they can in terms of allocation, etc., to keep cars moving quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Toad I concur. Is is a shame that all the effort made to make the car affordable is thwarted by some greedy pig who slaps a 20% ADM on it. And in the end the consumer and manufacture lose out. This is a pretty good way to minimize the chances that the ADMs will stay for the long haul, even it the first few get banged by the scammers. I had to travel 30 miles to avoid the ADM on my Stingray and the local dealer will also lose out on service and any future purchases.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’m sure these will be showroom trophies for any dealer fortunate enough to get them. Kind of like the GT-R surrounded by “Don’t even think about touching the supercar, prole. Your type can poke around that Sentra over there” signs on the floor of our Nissan dealer whilst getting an oil change.

    • 0 avatar

      I like how some dealers treat them like a ’57 T-Bird that’s the dealer principle’s personal car or something. Its just more iron to move.

      The local Nissan-CJD dealer had a GTR Black right in the showroom, unlocked, windows down, just like the 200 Limited convertible next to it. That’s how it should be, imo.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I know of a couple dealers who took huge allocations of 2014 Challengers in hopes of getting those sweet, sweet Hellcats. the thought being that whatever money they lost they’d make up a few times over on the juicy market adjustments on the HCs when they arrived. Now corporate is trying to put the squeeze on that.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    …or they could pay the $100K “fee” and go through training like KIA with their K900.

    (Hmmm… Hyundai with the Equus?)

    Or use the “we’re worthy/ we’re not worthy” approach. Whatever works.

  • avatar

    1) Can you take a credit application?
    2) Can you switch to a Challenger SXT?
    3) Can you hang paper with Chrysler Capital or Santander?
    4) ???
    5) Profit!!

    PRO-TIP) Make sure to sell the tape and stripe kit. People love those and its not really a Challenger unless it says so with all-caps 120-point block font along the rear quarter.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Make sure you make the tape & stripe optional. If you stick it on the car and slap on an add-on price sticker, I’ll just ask what else do you have or shop elsewhere. I walked on a VW salesman who tried to defend the $300 stainless b-pillar caps that he got on eBay for $40.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The tape and strip kit, is this a high margin Flybrian dealer add-on?

  • avatar
    omer333

    I could see SF Bay Area Dodge dealers and LA area Dodge dealers as having enough customers with the means to buy a Hellcat powered vehicle, but those theoretical customers would just as likely buy a Tesla or something from Germany.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      You’d be surprised at the no. of V8 pony cars in Cali.

      That and large GM SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        I live in the Monterey Bay area. You’re right that there are bunch of V8 machines in California.

        I was basing my statement on economics. The people that can afford a Hellcat would probably opt for a Tesla.

        If this were the Midwest or the South, the people who can afford a Hellcat will have one.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    regardless of what it is i still find it laughable (read unobtainable) that a car costs 60K. and all the more so that some would be willing to pay more, much, much more for said vehicle.

    it is so sad. when i was younger and in high school i looked up the msrp for a 1968 firebird 400 convertible. i was astounded at how cheap it was. my father reminded me of inflation and its eroding effect on the value of a dollar and suggested i compare the msrp against a 1968 impala or bel air. (who the heck would buy one of those?) i did and realized that relatively speaking the ‘bird was much more. but then i decided that i would be willing to pay more for a car i wanted.

    i am probably just a few years shy of the demographic for the hellcat but i cannot imagine putting down 60K for a vehicle – even if i want it. i have changed, and it is so sad.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      After much anguish I plunked down more than that and you know what? I have zero regrets. Top down, the LS engine roaring, the push into the seat…yeah, well worth it!

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    It’s a mistake to think cars like the Shelby Mustang, Z/28, M3…are actually for automotive enthusiasts. Typically, it’s a gift to the dealership network who proceed to screw the customer (and damage the brand). Anyone remember the retro T-Bird? Ford dealers killed that thing as soon as it hit the showroom floor with outrageous markups. Thankfully, Dodge appears to have thought this launch out.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      The retro Thunderbird killed itself everytime someone drove it and then the S-Type. Everyone who bemoans the dealership marking the exclusive models up would do well to remember the example of the Ford GT. Used ones today sell routinely for three times MSRP. Or the many many cars in inventory after any free flooring program days that everyone wants to buy minus holdback minus advert, etc., etc. Most dealers shoot not only themselves in the foot, but also the messenger with their business practices – or lack thereof. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of a possible windfall of profit? The reasoning of Ayn Rand advocates say this is normal business ethics. Myself, I would carefully manage public appearances with the car, buy several sets of tires doing burnouts at the races, and sell the hell out of Hemi and Pentastar equipped versions who will bask in the shared glory, then be sure to sell the car to a local for Monroney, thus creating local buzz as a fair seller. Few will use this tack. More is the pity.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        >…remember the example of the Ford GT. Used ones today sell routinely for three times MSRP.

        It’s more like 1.5 to 2x the original price, but I see your point.

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          I cannot remember the retail, but $150k sticks in my brain. I saw that two sold recently for $330k and $360k. You are closer to correct than I am. My point is that, for once, they have a seller’s market, and used carefully, could be win-win, resulting in many sales, not just the two Hellcats they’ll be allocated. When they introduced them to the public, the venue was about 8 blocks from my house. I parked my old Lincoln and they were gracious enough to allow me to peruse the two sitting there. Impressive package.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The GTs that trade well above 300k seem to be the X1 Roadster versions, but I guess I wouldn’t be surprised to see a really nice ultra low mileage coupe go for about that.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This thing gives the Maserati Gran Turismo a run for it’s money at 1/4th the price.

    Unto you Master Hellcat, I say yes!

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I like this idea. I walked out of a showroom full of Boss 302s with about $30K of ADM on the stickers. They had more outside. Maybe they still do.

  • avatar
    jeano

    Not so
    You want a M3, walk into any BMW dealer, specify the exact specs you want, neg a price and it will be delivered within a few months (2 months the last time I did it)
    I long ago gave up on trying to buy FCA products locally, the dealer BS, markups and favouritism toward their special clients is revolting. I was unable to buy either a Challenger SRT or a Jeep SRT when those came out and endured the runaround for a few months in both cases. Never again.
    And this despite being on our third new Ram from this dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      When I saw the marked up Boss 302s, we were shopping for an F150. The ADM stickers on the 302s were the ammunition I needed to convince my business partner that buying from that dealer would be stupid. We never looked at another Ford, and wound up with a truck I far prefer.

      The argument that dealers need to engage in these practices because manufacturers stick them with so many losers only makes the point that wise shoppers stay away from brands where desirable products are an anomaly.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Ha! Thank you sir may I have another.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    The market takes care of this, although I do understand that Chrysler wants to move more units. Early adopters will pay up; those of us who don’t want the ripoff price will just wait it out and let the dealer shove it.

    The Viper needs more showroom space, and should be available for test drives if the buyer appears financially able. It’s such a fabulous car and a proper American icon.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I think limiting the amount of dealers that could order the latest gen Viper was a mistake which is at least part of the lower than expected sales volumes. I’m not sure Viper buyers really needed an exclusive “brand experience”, the car is the experience they’ll ever want all on their own. If Joe’s Diner and Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealer in the middle of BFI think they can turn a few Vipers, I say let them without an entry fee.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    “Market adjustment” is such a tidy, sanitized way of saying “scalping”.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    Seems like a great plan, if they dont sell the car they dont get more, or bettr put, the more you sell the more you get. Probably better to make money with a lot of units than only sell one and alienate cutomers.

    While the z28 may have soem scewy markups you can buy them for MSRP or less if youa are prepared to look and or wait.

    I knwo 2 other people gettign hellcats, we are going to wait 6 months or so and then do a deal for 3.

    Dealer market adjustment is why I neve rbought a Ford raptor and wont enter aford dealership, thye really think customners are idiots. That was sprobably fords most profitable product and they sold way less than they could have.

    Chrysler is being smart this time around. My concern would be more witht he after sales experience. Of 3 cars owned Chvey service is the best by far, followed by BMW and trailed by Mercedes. Years ago owned aJeep and my experience with Jeep Dodge left so much to be desired its a big concern.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Please manufacturers, universally adopt this policy of punishing idiot dealers who put insane prices on vehicles that are above MSRP. My local Ford Dealer has a red 2012 Shelby Mustang sitting in the showroom that is still there and has been there since brand new with a hefty markup. They aren’t even offering test drives, either buy it or GTFO.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      Limited edition Stangs (possibly excepting the Boss 302 which has universal appeal) do not hold their value well, unless you find that one “rich dude who never got around to buying one, so he will pony up the big bucks.” That dealer is learning the hard way. So is a dealer near me who is trying to sell an F355. Great cosmetic condition but no service history, and asking close to $70k. Yeah, right.

    • 0 avatar
      beefmalone

      As is their right. It’s their car.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I have a dream…a dream where one day we can all buy cars directly from the manufacturer…who would be selling at close to invoice price…so this whole issue becomes moot.

    Who’s with me?

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