Challenger Hellcat production suspended

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 707

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 707

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Sales of the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat have taken off a little too fast, apparently. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which makes the retro-styled uber-musclecar, has temporarily halted production while it sorts out a backlog of orders.

So far, Fiat Chrysler has over 9,000 orders for the performance car, FCA spokesman Dan Reid said. About 2,200 Challenger Hellcats are already on the road.

Fiat Chrysler had recently issued a very unusual statement warning consumers that some Dodge dealers were taking orders for Hellcats that they might not be able to actually deliver. Each dealer is only allowed to sell a certain number of Hellcats based on a number of factors. But some dealers were taking orders — and even cash deposits — for more than that.

The temporary production halt will give FCA time to sort out the tangle of customer orders and dealer allotments. The automaker has still not decided how to handle cases in which dealers have taken orders in excess of their allotment.

It is also still unclear how long the production stop will last, Reid said.

The Challenger Hellcat is the most powerful regular production musclecar ever made. It’s powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine but, despite all that power, it gets a relatively respectable 22 miles per gallon in highway driving. Customers get two key fobs to start the car. One — a black fob — limits power output to a mere 500 horsepower. The other, a red fob, allows the driver to use all 707 horsepower.

Challenger sales are up 60% the first two months of this year, while sales of the closely related Charger four-door sedan were up 23%.

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