A $71,000 Dodge Hellcat Joins the US Muscle Car Lineup

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) on Tuesday introduced a slightly different version of the company’s Dodge Challenger SRT Demon than it first showed last April. The new model, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody, carries an manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $71,495, including the $1,700 gas guzzler tax and excluding a $1,095 destination charge.

The new Hellcat is 3.5-inches wider than the SRT Demon and is powered by a 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 engine that delivers 707 horsepower. The SRT Demon uses a supercharged version of the same engine that delivers a massive 840 horsepower. The 2018 SRT Demon sports an MSRP of $84,995, including the same gas guzzler tax as the Hellcat Widebody and excluding the destination charge.

The 2017 version of the SRT Hellcat uses the same 707-horsepower engine as the new Widebody and carries an MSRP of $64,195. According to FCA’s U.S. sales report for May, the company sold 6,989 Dodge Challengers in May and has sold 29,305 for the first five months of 2017, up 2% year over year for the month and flat for year-to-date sales compared with 2016.

All three U.S. automakers continue to build muscle cars. In addition to the Challenger, Dodge also produces seven models of the 2017 Charger ranging in price from $27,995 to $67,645 for the Hellcat version. Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Mustang Fastback Shelby carries an MSRP of $56,145 for the GT350 with a 5.2-liter V-8 that produces 526 horsepower, and the Chevy Camaro from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has a new 2018 model, the ZL1 1LE, at an MSRP of $62,135 for the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that generates 650 horsepower.

Ford sold 7,895 Mustangs in May, down 23.5% year over year and has sold 38,422 for the first five months of the year, down 27.8% compared with 2016.

GM sold 7,841 Camaros in May, up 34.6% year over year, and has sold 31,876 in the first five months of 2017, basically flat compared to the same period last year.

None of the three U.S. carmakers breaks out muscle car sales by model, so we can’t tell for sure how many of the top-of-the-line models are among reported sales. But it’s probably a fairly small percentage.

But numbers are not why GM, Ford, and FCA build and sell these cars. It’s all about bragging rights, and the internal combustion guys have to be wary of the Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model S P100D, which actually punched the clock for 0 to 60 mph in 2.27507139 seconds, the only production car ever tested by Motor Trend magazine to complete that test in less than 2.3 seconds. The Model S P100D starts at around $140,000, though, well above even the priciest of the traditional muscle cars.