Dodge cancels unfilled ’15 Hellcat orders, doubles ’16 output

DETROIT — Fiat Chrysler will more than double production of hard-to-get Hellcat versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger for the 2016 model year.

But about 900 consumers who ordered a 2015 Dodge Challenger or Charger SRT Hellcat and never received their 707-hp muscle car will have to get back in line.

Their unfilled orders are being canceled by the factory — though those customers will receive a voucher that will allow them to buy the more expensive 2016 at the 2015 price. The price increase has not yet been announced.

The Hellcat cars created marketing and Internet buzz for Dodge — very welcome for a brand rebuilding its high-performance credibility. But dealers who accepted more orders than they could fill or put huge market adjustments on the cars sowed some ill will. For example, one dealer in a northeast Ohio town of 6,000 took deposits and put in orders for more than 200 Hellcats — many more than the dealer would ever receive.

“For the 2016 model year, we’re starting fresh,” Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand head, told Automotive News. Canceling customer orders “is probably not what they want to hear, but we’re going to do it so that we have a fresh, clean slate going forward with everything that we learned in 2015.”

Dodge also is changing the way dealers receive Hellcat allocations and place orders, Kuniskis said.

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