Dodge Punishes Price Gouging Dealers
We’ve seen this happen many times before: A highly sought after car finally becomes available to order and soon after reddit pages are set ablaze with images of window stickers with stratospheric dealer markups. Internet rage ensues, and if the fervor grows big enough, a dealership will relent and things go quiet until it happens once more. Well, it appears the cycle has begun again with the 1,025-hp 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 at the center of it.
That is until some unscrupulous parties entered the picture. According to CarBuzz, some dealers have been seen charging as much as $250,000 over MSRP and finding folks willing to pay it. It looked like no one would ever have the chance to get a Challenger Demon SRT 170 at a fair price. We reached out to Dodge to see what plans it had in place to help curb greedy dealers capitalizing on fans who want to own a piece of history. A spokesperson reached out with a surprising response.
Dodge has a special ordering process. The process includes a document—an acknowledgement form—that has to be signed by the customer, signed by the dealer and notarized,” the spokesperson said. “These are important steps.” With the Demon 170 being such a unique car, the document includes some disclaimers warning users not to drive the car in the rain or if it’s too cold, boilerplate stuff, but it also explains how Dodge will prioritize orders based on pricing.
“Dodge will not schedule an individual vehicle build until it is in receipt of the acknowledgement form,” the spokesperson said. “Included with the acknowledgement 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.”
So it doesn’t necessarily stop a dealership from selling a Demon 170 over MSRP, but it shows clear preference for those that are willing to play ball. At the same time, how effective could that strategy actually be? Apparently more than we originally thought. The spokesperson said that out of the 1,000 order documents Dodge received March 27, 630 of them—63 percent—came back notarized by the buyer and seller that the car was sold at MSRP.
It is very possible that at least some of those 630 sales were done by exploiting a loophole in which the dealer “sells” a Demon 170 to an employee for MSRP only to resell the car for much more afterward. However, the numbers seem to indicate that there have been plenty of legit sales at the right price. It’s nice to see that in the wasteland of greedy retailers, there are still some bright points of hope.
Antics like these make us wonder if we would be better without car dealerships. What do you think? Would selling direct like Tesla make car buying a better buying experience, or would a factory monopoly make things worse.