Port Huron, Michigan, United States
With over 700 horsepower on tap and a price tag barely over $60k, Dodge appears on paper to have a winner on its hands with the new Challenger SRT Hellcat. But if you want to get your hands on one, you may have to act quicker than this most powerful of muscle cars covers the quarter-mile.
That's because, according to our compatriots over at Edmunds, Dodge may limit production - in the first year, at least - to just 1,200 units. That would amount to barely a quarter of the Challengers that Dodge moves each month, and would also mean only one Hellcat for every two Dodge dealers in the US - which could lead to some serious contention over which stores and which customers can get their hands on the ultimate Challenger.
Reached for comment, SRT spokesman Dan Reid told Autoblog that "there is no plan to limit production of the Challenger Hellcat," echoing the words of Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis who told Edmunds: "We don't know what the market demand is." Which doesn't mean that it won't restrict production, but doesn't mean that it will, either. It just hasn't decided yet - or announced any such decision, at any rate - over what will be the final allocation strategy for what could be a game-changing muscle car. That is, at least, until new versions of the Mustang and Camaro come along in pursuit of Dodge's bragging rights...
It's frightening to think of how quickly the mice would have overtaken us if we hadn't stayed one step ahead of them with better mousetraps. We'll never have to worry about that in our relentlessly re-engineered world, though. Case in point: Chrysler has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an improved design of the already wondrous Stow 'n' Go seating found in the automaker's Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.
Introduced in 2005, the Stow 'n' Go was improved in 2008, and based on the drawings of this third-generation improvement, the new design appears to allow stowage of the second row of seats without having to move the front-row seats forward as much. It look like it also involves fewer operations and moving parts, with a portion of the seatback being incorporated into the flat floor when the seats are stowed, as opposed to having a completely separate cover.
It's possible that the innovation may appear on the next-generation minivans expected in 2015, but Chrysler isn't commenting on the patent.
If you've noticed that there have been more recalls than usual this year, you may be on to something. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US market is on pace to break a record for recalls. In 2013, 22 million cars were recalled. We're only a third of the way through 2014, though, and we've already halved that figure, with 11 million units recalled. That's wild.
Considering the past few months, it shouldn't be a surprise that General Motors is leading the charge, with six million of the 11 million units recalled coming from one of the General's four brands. Between truck recalls, CUV recalls and the ignition switch recall, 2014 hasn't been a great year for GM.
Other recall leaders include Nissan (one million Sentra and Altima sedans), Honda (900,000 Odyssey minivans), Toyota (over one million units in a few recalls), Volkswagen (150,000 Passat sedans), Chrysler (644,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and most recently, Ford (434,000 units, the bulk of which were early Ford Escape CUVs). So while it's been a bad year for GM so far, its competitors aren't doing too well, either.