The idea of a car dealer charging extra for a hot car has long been a controversial one. After all, manufacturers can't order any store to sell their products at a certain price, and dealers make their living understanding their markets. Yet to many customers, marking up a new model feels like gouging, and automakers generally try to fight those impulses from dealers even when they're flattered by the attention.
All of which brings us to a dealer markup that sets a new standard for audacity: a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with a $150,000 fee on top of its sticker price.
Caught over the weekend by one of the Dodge forums, the photo shows a San Diego-area dealer asking for a "market adjustment" that would raise the cost of the 707-hp Hellcat to $212,175 — or roughly twice the price of a new Dodge Viper. Dodge executives knew that the $59,000 Hellcat would likely draw some "market adjustments," so it set rules for supplying dealers that rewarded turnover — the more quickly a dealer sells its Hellcats, the more it gets — in hopes of limiting such practices.
And in fact, a search of Hellcats already on dealer lots shows that most are listed at sticker price, although a few sport tags that are up to $20,000 higher. With Dodge expected to build as many Hellcats as it can sell this year, a Hellcat won't be such a collector item that it will avoid typical new-vehicle depreciation; paying $20,000 extra only gets you a Hellcat slightly sooner than everyone else, not one that's somehow more special.
Which only adds to the mystery of why a dealer would think tripling the price of a Hellcat is a good idea. Much of the Hellcat's charm draws from its low sticker price versus European sportscars; at $212,175, you're into Bentley-Aston Martin territory, not to mention overshooting Porsche, Mercedes AMGs and several other alternatives. Either demand for American muscle in San Diego knows few bounds, or this is one Hellcat that's not going anywhere fast.
UPDATE: The dealer in question, Perry Dodge Chrysler Jeep, told Motor Authority that the sticker was put on the car in error, and that after being publicized its taken it off and hasn't set a new price yet — although Dodge already seems to provide that information once on the car.