Most dealers are doing the honorable thing, but a few are ruining it for everyone else.
While some unscrupulous dealers are happy to overcharge their customers with heavily inflated markups on the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170, it appears that the vast majority are keeping fans happy with fair sticker prices. Following an article that we wrote reporting on some of the ridiculous price gougings from certain dealers - with some examples reaching $350,000 - MotorTrend did some digging to find out if such practices are the norm or are isolated incidents. Dodge responded to queries for comment with a reiteration of the official ordering policy (which is to prioritize builds at or near MSRP) and added that the vast majority of orders are for cars sold at the official asking price.
"Dodge has a special ordering process," said a spokesperson. "The process includes a document - an acknowledgment form - that has to be signed by the customer, signed by the dealer, and notarized. These are important steps." The document includes disclaimers about driving the car in the rain or when it's too cold, but it also acts as confirmation that the car is being sold to the customer at a price they agree with.
"Dodge will not schedule an individual vehicle build until it is in receipt of the acknowledgment form," the spokesperson said. "Included with the acknowledgment form is whether the customer paid the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) or over MSRP. If the buyer paid MSRP or under, the buyer's car gets priority scheduling."
As we all assumed when we first learned of this, that wording does not forbid a dealer from adding a hefty markup, although it does confirm that dealers who are not too greedy will have their orders prioritized.
So how many dealers are sticking with suggested pricing?
According to the spokesperson, 630 of the 1,000 order documents Dodge received by March 27 (that's 63% of orders received so far) have been notarized by the buyer and seller, with the car sold at MSRP. For reference, the car starts at $96,666 before a gas guzzler tax and other fees, with a fully loaded model almost reaching $130,000.
Of course, dealers still have the loophole of buying the car from their own shops at MSRP and then immediately listing it as used with a heavy markup, but on face value, it appears that most are being honorable and allowing the Demon 170 and its 1,025 horsepower to be as easily accessible as possible.
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