FCA to boost production of Hellcat engines to fill Challenger, Charger demand

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 1, 2015

There will be a significant increase in the production of Fiat Chrysler’s 707-hp Hellcat engines to cope with demand for variants of the Dodge Challenger and Charger that are powered by these V-8 engines. According to Tim Kuniskis, head of the Dodge and SRT brands, Dodge has received a “huge flood” of orders for these models.

He didn’t give a specific figure of just how many Hellcat engines will be added. From the start of the year until now, FCA’s plant in Saltillo, Mexico, has made around 4,000 units. The 6.2-liter V-8 Hellcat features an 86-hp supercharger. Ever since the debut of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat last fall, sales of cars equipped with this engine have been high despite its considerably higher price.

Kuniskis added that more Hellcats will be made for 2016. He also shared that the company stopped receiving orders for Hellcats months ago so that it can cope with the demand. After that, the 2016 model will be launched. Production of the Hellcat had already been raised two times above the original estimates of the brand.

He added that the lineup has benefited from the halo effect caused by the Hellcats. So far this year, its Challenger and Charger models have sold 88,000 units. Of this figure, 4,000 units are Hellcats. While it is just a small portion of what the automaker sells, he believes that it forms a “halo” for the other models in the lineup.

He cited that there is a zero-day supply for the Scat Pack Challenger, which is the next highest car, as it’s quickly sold out. Sales of the Challenger Hellcat began in the U.S. last September.

Three months later, the Charger version made its debut. Kuniskis admitted that Dodge has yet to comprehend just how big the demand is for the four-door Charger Hellcat version since it is still working on filling all the orders for the Challenger version.

This plan to build more Hellcat engines fuels rumors that Jeep plans to launch the TrackHawk -- a Hellcat-powered version of the Grand Cherokee SRT.

Kuniskis pointed out that one major factor on why there has been a restriction on Hellcat production is that every engine has to undergo tests on a dynamometer, which calculates force for 40 minutes before vehicle installation. He emphasized that non-availability of parts is not the problem.

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