- Dodge did not hesitate to promote the 2021 Durango Hellcat SUV with 710 horsepowertelling potential customers they only had “one chance” to get behind the wheel of the fastest team bus idling in the drop-off lane.
- Buyers were understandably frustrated when Dodge said last year it would bring back the Durango Hellcat as a 2023 model.
- Seven original customers have now filed a class action lawsuit against the company, seeking damages of more than $5 million.
A class action lawsuit was filed last week against the 2023 Dodge Durango Hellcat idea. Okay, technically, the lawsuit alleges that Dodge used “false and misleading advertising and marketing” in 2020 when it said to potential buyers that the 2021 Durango Hellcat would see the only year of production, but then reversed course in late 2022 when it announced the 2023 Durango Hellcat with nearly identical specs.
The trial is seeking more than $5 million in damages, citing a few instances where Dodge representatives made claims that appeared to no longer exist after this year. Great? Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in a Dodge promotional video that “the Hellcat Durango will be a one model year run. When we move the order books to model year 22, the Durango Hellcat will be gone. So you only have one chance [to buy one].”
The lawsuit also cites a Dodge press release attributing this to Kuniskis: “The 2021 Durango Hellcat is only one model year, ensuring it will be a very special and sought-after performance SUV for years to come. come. By early demand, all reseller allocations have already been reserved, but there is still time to secure an unsold reseller order.”
Crazy enough to carry on
Based on these quotes, the case appears to have at least some merit. Dodge marketed them as a limited-edition power-crazed SUV, and some people paid their noses for them. The lawsuit says some paid nearly $115,000 for their Hellcats. Now all of a sudden Dodge is making more of what is basically the same vehicle, and these people are furiously angry.
Of course, there’s another side to this: why Dodge said it would only build a year’s worth of Durango Hellcats.
Let’s start with a brief timeline. The “one shot” video mentioned above was part of the introduction of the Hellcat Durango in July 2020. That same month, Kuniskis said Muscle cars and trucks that the Durango Hellcat would not be a limited-edition serialized vehicle. Instead, Dodge was only building a small number because of the pandemic:
“With all the changes we’ve made to the factory to get back [to production] post-COVID with the sequencing and spacing in the factory, it’s changed how many you can build. . . I don’t have an actual number, but it will be less than 2,000. I don’t know how many less than 2,000. It will be determined by customer demand and how much we can build in that six month period” , did he declare. quoted as saying.
No limit on 2023 production?
COVID was part of the problem, but it has become part of the solution. The worldwide chip shortage allowed Dodge to manufacture more Durango Hellcats by adjusting production of other models. The final nail in the coffin was that the fuel-hungry Hellcats weren’t helping Stellantis meet its emissions targets. According Driving authoritywhich also quoted a Dodge spokesperson saying the 2023 Durango Hellcat will not be a volume-limited model.
Dodge did not respond to Car and drivers request for comment before publication. The company told other media it would not comment on ongoing litigation.
Sebastian Blanco has been writing about electric vehicles, hybrids and hydrogen cars since 2006. His articles and car reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Automotive News, Reuters, SAE, Autoblog, InsideEVs, Trucks.com, Car Talk and other outlets. His first green car media event was the launch of the Tesla Roadster, and since then he has followed the move away from gas-powered vehicles and discovered the importance of new technology not just for the auto industry, but for the whole world. . Add to that the recent shift to autonomous vehicles, and there are more interesting changes happening now that most people can’t comprehend. You can find him on Twitter or, on sunny days, driving a new EV.