Dodge to dealers: Mark up the Demon and pay the price

Dealers will receive priority based on sale price, with markup-friendly dealers at the back of the line.

Dodge

When Dodge put the Challenger and Charger Hellcat on sale, it was a bit of a mess between allocating stock to dealers, who routinely overpromised and marked cars up way beyond MSRP. Dodge is determined to not repeat those mistakes with the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon, and here's how.

In order for a dealer to be eligible to sell the Demon, it must have sold more than one Hellcat in the last year. Dodge will allocate its available (albeit very limited) Demon stock based on sales performance, weighted at 60 percent Hellcat sales and 40 percent Charger/Challenger sales.

Dealers will only be allowed to order as many Demons as they are allocated. This is probably bad news for the dealers that started taking Demon deposits shortly after the vehicle's unveiling, a practice that FCA's Tim Kuniskis said shouldn't be happening.

Those who are willing to feed the beast and pay insane dealer markups will have higher serial numbers than those who buy the car at MSRP or under.

Dodge

Dealers who plan to mark the Demon up will end up at the back of the line. Demons that are sold at or below the MSRP of $84,995 will receive priority scheduling, so those owners will get the lowest production serial numbers possible. Demons sold with a markup will be pushed to the back, receiving higher serial numbers that could turn out to be slightly less valuable in the long run. That said, with only 3,000 Demons coming to the US, the cars will be plenty valuable either way.

In order for a purchase to be counted, it must be verified. The customer and dealer must sign a specific acknowledgement document, which must then be notarized. Future owners will have access to a new concierge hotline and website that will allow them to track their orders as production commences. The document in question will ensure that owners are fully aware of safety considerations, and it will also set the transaction price in stone.

By comparison, the Hellcat ordering process was far messier. Orders for 2015 models far surpassed actual production volume, and while prospective owners could get in line for a 2016, they were shoved to the back of the line. Dodge also looked at dealers' "days-on-lot" performance for allocation, so dealers who marked up Hellcats to the moon and back would be stuck at the back of the ordering line, as well.

Dodge's active measures against dealer markups and over-promising are a welcome change to just letting the market figure itself out. Honda's got a limited-run Civic Type R on its hands, and it has no plans to address dealer markups, some of which are between $10,000 and $20,000, eliminating a large swath of prospective buyers for the once-affordable-ish hot hatch.

Dodge's approach is a bit better. "We know some dealers may be tempted to sell to the highest bidder, but we are encouraging them to leverage the Demon as a halo for both the brand and their dealership, to bring customers into their showrooms and see everything we have to offer," Tim Kuniskis said in a statement.

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