On sale since September 2015, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has become a major success, to the extent Chrysler had to increase production twice and put a stop on taking orders so that it could catch up with the huge demand. With orders on halt for a few months now and with Challenger Hellcats selling for well over sticker price, FCA announced plans to substantially increase production of the 707-horsepower Hellcat engines.

"We’re going to build more [Hellcats] for 2016," Tim Kuniskis, head of the Dodge and SRT brands, told Automotive News. "We stopped taking all Hellcat orders months ago so that we could catch up to that demand, and then we will launch the 2016s." He declined to say how many more engines FCA plans to produce, but production could very well double for 2016. As of June 2015, Chrysler built about 4,000 units at its plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

According to Kuniskis, Dodge has received so many orders for the Challenger Hellcat that it is still filling them. 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcats are also in high demand. Of the 88,000 Challengers and Chargers sold as of June 2015, 4,000 (about 4.5 percent) had a Hellcat engine, he added. "It’s a small sliver of what we sell, but it really creates a halo for the rest of the lineup."

The Challenger Hellcat isn’t the only muscle car to have its production increased. The 2015 Dodge Challenger 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker is also sold out. "I have essentially a zero-day supply," he added.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Challenger and Charger Hellcat sales might not be that impressive at first glance, but to sell 4,000 such vehicles in about six months is nothing to sneeze at.

It's living proof that the muscle car is still alive and kicking in an era in which carmakers are moving toward downsizing.

It’s living proof that the muscle car is still alive and kicking in an era in which carmakers are moving toward downsizing and gas prices are significantly higher than they used to be.

So why is Chrysler struggling to meet Hellcat demand? According to Kuniskis, it’s not the availability of parts that slows down the process, but the extensive testing each supercharged Hemi V-8 has to go through before it is installed into a vehicle.

You see, each unit is tested on a dyno for no fewer than 42 minutes, meaning vehicle output can’t be increased unless the Hellcat is assigned to additional production lines, which is what Chrysler is planning to do for the 2016 model year.

Chrysler’s plan to build more Hellcat engines could also mean that recent rumors that Jeep might launch a Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee (reportedly called the 2016 Jeep SRT TrackHawk) could be true.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat High Resolution Exterior
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Find out more about the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in our review here.

Source: Automotive News

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