Dodge will resurrect a demon from its past that promises to outperform its popular 707-horsepower Hellcat models.
The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV brand on Thursday announced it is “raising the bar again” with the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The car is set to make its global debut for the New York International Auto Show in April.
“It’s a next Hellcat,” Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis told The Detroit News this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “It’s part of our heritage and it’s a great name.”
The Demon originally was a two-door fastback hardtop variant of the 1971-72 Dodge Dart. The brand also built a roadster concept car called the Dodge Demon at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show that never came to fruition.
Kuniskis, head of Fiat Chrysler’s passenger car brands for North America, declined to provide specifics on the car. He said videos with details of the car will be released weekly heading up to the show.
Dodge on Thursday launched a microsite (ifyouknowyouknow.com) for the Demon that will host the videos. It also released the car’s logo, which features a Hellcat-esque Demon. In the first video, “Cage,” an animated Hellcat “transforms, thus beginning a new chapter in the Dodge brand’s performance legacy.”
Kuniskis, in a statement, said the car “is conceived, designed and engineered for a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation.”
The Challenger SRT Demon will go on sale alongside the Hellcat SRT Challenger and Charger models, which will continue for the 2018 model year, Kuniskis said. He declined to say if there will be a Charger SRT Demon.
The $65,000-plus Hellcat models have served as muscle-car halos for the Dodge brand since being announced in 2014, even though they represent a relatively small slice of sales. The cars are powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 engine that produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.
The rollout of the Demon is the opposite of what the company did with the Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT: The Hellcat was unveiled and then details were released in the run-up to when they hit showrooms. By the time the Demon is shown, motorheads should know everything — engine, performance, pricing, etc. — according to Kuniskis.
“It’s the exact flip-of-a-script of what we did with Hellcat,” he said, adding the slower rollout cadence of the Hellcat was “because nothing like it existed.”
The Demon comes amid rumors that Ford Motor Co. is getting ready to release a new range-topping Mustang. And according to Canadian auto union Unifor, Fiat Chrysler will extend the current platform of the Charger and Challenger through at least 2020.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Monday confirmed that the company’s all-new Giorgio platform is planned to underpin the next generation of the vehicles, which is underpinning the Alfa Romeo midsize Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV.
The Demon could help bring some momentum to Dodge, which experienced a 4 percent decline in U.S. sales in 2016. The sales drop was largely due to the decision to stop production of the Dodge Dart compact sedan in September. Challenger sales were down 3 percent to fewer than 64,500 cars sold domestically.
The 2017 New York International Auto Show promises to be a high-powered one for Fiat Chrysler. The Demon unveil adds to the company’s plans to unveil the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, a high-performance variant of the popular SUV.
By: Michael Wayland