Why Some Of Dodge's Biggest Fans Are Suing The Automaker

2023 will be the final production year for Dodge's Challenger and Charger models. The brand is sending its muscle cars out with a bang, with no less than seven flashy special variations — known as the "Last Call" editions.

What you might not know is that Dodge's Durango SUV is also on the chopping block, at least in its current form with unibody construction. Though there's no "Last Call" edition of the Durango, Dodge did have a little fun with the SUV by bringing its supercharged Hellcat V8 engine option back to the Durango option sheet for 2023. However, that's rubbing some fans of the SUV the wrong way.

Dodge previously offered the SRT Hellcat engine in the Durango for 2021, and marketing material from that time implied that the pairing would be an extremely limited engagement. It was more than just implied — a July 2020 press release flat out said "Dodge will build the Durango SRT Hellcat for the 2021 model year only."

Another press release from January 2021 reiterated "The 2021 Durango Hellcat is only a single model-year run, ensuring that it will be a very special, sought-after performance SUV for years to come." Initially, a quantity of only 2,000 Durango SRT Hellcats was planned, a figure that was later increased to 3,000 in order to meet greater-than-anticipated demand.

2021 owners paid hefty premiums

The return of the Durango SRT Hellcat for 2023 has prompted seven owners of 2021 models to launch a class action lawsuit against Stellantis, Dodge's parent company. According to the plaintiffs, the newly-minted 2023 vehicles will lower the scarcity, collectability, and resale value of the original run of Hellcat Durangos. The plaintiffs allege that if they had known the muscle SUV would return, they wouldn't have paid as much for their vehicles in 2021 — or wouldn't have purchased them at all.

That bit about "wouldn't have paid as much" refers to the fact the new car market was insane in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to secure one of the coveted 710 horsepower SUVs, some owners paid a "premium" of tens-of-thousands of dollars above and beyond the Durango Hellcat's $80,995 sticker price. Per the lawsuit, one plaintiff paid $111,578, while another paid $114,225.

The Durango Hellcat owners are seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages, and more importantly, an injunction stopping Dodge from making additional new Durango Hellcats.