Dodge has a huge hit on its hands with the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats, but that success is causing something of a problem. They thought people would like the cars, but people went completely nuts for them and the number of orders placed far exceeded the company’s production abilities. In an effort to fill backlogs, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is once again increasing production of Hellcat engines.
So far this year, the Saltillo, Mexico plant has produced roughly 4,000 Hellcat engines. The 6.2-liter V8 with an 86-horsepower supercharger has been a hot commodity since it first went on sale last fall prompting the company to stop taking orders for the 2015 model year. It’s been months since dealers have been allowed to take orders, and if you were looking to place an order for the 2015 model year, then you’re completely out of luck.
According to Tim Kuniskis, head of the Dodge and SRT brands, the plan now is to catch up on existing orders for 2015 in advance of launching the 2016 models. How many more engines they’re making wasn’t announced, but knowing that they’re making any extra at all should provide some consolation to those who are still waiting to get their hands on a Hellcat.
The popularity of the Hellcat has trickled down to the rest of the Challenger and Charger lineup. Kunisis told Automotive News, “We’ve sold 88,000 muscle cars [this calendar year], Challengers and Chargers, and 4,000 of those have been Hellcats. It’s a small sliver of what we sell, but it really creates a halo for the rest of the lineup.”
That halo affect means vehicles like the Scat Pack Challenger have a zero-day supply. The Challenger went on sale three months ahead of the Charger so those Hellcat orders are being filled first. The backlog is so great that they aren’t even entirely sure about demand for the Charger Hellcat as those orders are secondary to the Challenger orders that came first.
Part of the hold-up comes not from a lack of parts, but from how the Hellcat is tested. Each engine spends 42 minutes on the dynamommeter before it can be installed in a vehicle.
The success of the Hellcat has led to rumors that they’ll put that crazy 707-horsepower engine into other vehicles, like a Grand Cherokee SRT that would be called the TrackHawk. Sounds like a good idea, but existing Hellcat orders have to be filled before FCA can go and Hellcat all their other cars.