- Dodge hasn’t been shy about promoting the 710-hp 2021 Durango Hellcat SUV, telling potential customers they only have “one chance” to get behind the wheel of the fastest squad bus to idle down the drop lane. to put in
- 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 more than $5 million in damages.
A class action lawsuit was filed last week against the idea of the 2023 Dodge Durango Hellcat. Okay, technically the lawsuit alleges that Dodge used “false and deceptive advertising and marketing” in 2020 when it told potential buyers that the 2021 Durango Hellcat would see the only year of production, but then reversed course in late 2022 when it the 2023 announced. Durango Hellcat with almost identical specs.
The lawsuit asks for more than $5 million in damages, citing a few instances where Dodge representatives made claims that sounded like there wouldn’t be any more after that year. The big one? Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in a Dodge promotional video that “the Hellcat Durango will be a single model year run. When we turn over the order books to the ’22 model year, the Durango Hellcat will be gone. So you just have got one shot [to buy one].”
The lawsuit also quotes from a Dodge press release attributing it to Kuniskis: “The 2021 Durango Hellcat is a single-model-year run only, ensuring it will be a very special, sought-after performance SUV for years to come. due to expected demand, all dealer allocations have already been reserved, but there is still time to secure an unsold dealer order.”
Crazy enough to sue
Based on those citations, the case appears to have at least some merit. Dodge promoted it as a limited-edition, power-mad SUV, and some people paid through the nose for it. 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 those people are litigiously 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 Hellcat Durango’s launch in July 2020. That same month, Kuniskis told Muscle Cars and Trucks that the Durango Hellcat would not be a series, limited-edition vehicle . Instead, Dodge only built a small number due to the pandemic:
“With all the changes we’ve made in the plant to come back up [to production] post-COVID with the order and spacing in the plant, it has changed the number we can build. . . I don’t have an actual number, but it would be less than 2000. I don’t know how much less than 2000. It will be determined by customer demand and how much we can build in that six-month period,” he was quoted as saying.
No cap on 2023 production?
COVID was part of the problem, but it has become part of the solution. The global chip shortage allowed Dodge to make more Durango Hellcats by adapting production from other models. The final nail in the coffin was that the fuel-guzzling Hellcats didn’t help Stellantis meet its emissions targets. COVID-related disruptions are on the decline, and Dodge engineers were able to meet emissions regulations by changing the fuel tank, fuel filler and carbon canister, according to Motor Authority, which also cited a Dodge spokesperson as saying the 2023 Durango Hellcat will not ‘ a volume limited model.
Dodge did not respond Car and Driver’s request for comments before publication. The company did tell other media outlets that it does not comment on pending litigation.
Sebastian Blanco has been writing about electric vehicles, hybrids and hydrogen cars since 2006. His articles and car reviews 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 shift away from petrol-powered vehicles and discovered the new technology’s importance not only to the car industry, but to the world as a whole. . Throw in the recent shift to autonomous vehicles, and there are more interesting changes happening now than most people can wrap their heads around. You can find him on Twitter or, on good days, behind the wheel of a new EV.