How Well Did All Those "Anti-Markup" Tactics Work For The Dodge Demon?

Car Culture

A quick look at the classifieds reveals how big the problem is.

Given its $86,090 starting price, the Dodge Demon is a performance bargain. It seems almost too good to be true that Dodge could sell an 808-horsepower car for less than the price of a base Porsche 911 Carrera. Unfortunately, things that seem to good to be true have a way of turning out to be exactly that. Dodge knew the Demon would be a hot commodity, so it put measures in place to ensure dealerships wouldn't add unnecessary markups. As we can see from current asking prices, these measures haven't seemed to work.

The biggest deterrent was supposed to be a special plaque with the original owner's name on it. The idea was that no one would want to buy a car with someone else's name on it. If the car was ordered with the optional Demon Crate, it would also have the original owner's name. Dodge said it wouldn't make any replacement plaques, so the second owner would be stuck driving a car with some else's name on it. We first noticed someone trying to sell their Demon on eBay for a whopping $250,000, and some "owners" didn't even wait to take delivery - instead opting to flip their build slot for up to $40,000.

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Deliveries of the Demon are now in full swing, so we can truly gauge what the market is willing to pay. The most expensive Demon we found is being sold by a private seller, who is asking $200,000 for their Plum Crazy Purple car with the optional Demon Crate. The private seller also has a second Demon for sale for $175,000, so clearly the cars were purchased with the intent to flip them. There also dozens of dealerships selling their Demon for up to $190,000. Some dealerships have their Demon listed at or near MSRP, though it is difficult to discern whether these dealership would be willing to let their car go at a fair price, or simply want to hide any blatant markups.

Even at $140,000, as many cars have been marked up to, the Demon represents good value. It still sucks to see how Dodge's efforts have failed to keep Demon prices under control. It may not be impossible to purchase a Demon at a fair price, but it won't be easy. We like to refer to this phenomenon as the "roped off halo car" effect. It happens when a dealership, especially a non-luxury brand, receives a limited production car to sell. The dealership is typically poorly equipped to sell an expensive car, because the sales staff is used to selling people on a monthly payment rather than an actual car. In most cases, the special car sits in a showroom behind a velvet rope.

Sadly, this is what will end up happening to the Dodge Demon when it reaches dealerships. Dealers will want to charge outrageous prices and everyday customers will be too intimidated to come in and look at it. Of course, no test drives will be offered and the car will be used more as a promotional device than as an actual car for sale. The Demon was designed to run down the quarter-mile in less than 10-seconds, but many will end up gathering dust in dealer showrooms rather than burning rubber at the drag strip.

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