Why Dodge Is Building a 707-Horsepower Hellcat Charger

The percentage of buyers who cross-shop the Dodge Charger sedan against key competitors, according to Chrysler data. From a presentation given by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis in May of 2014. Source: Fiat Chrysler.

And sales have been growing, as Chrysler's ongoing incremental improvements to its big sedans have won the attention of more and more buyers. Retail sales of the Charger grew 194% from 2010 through 2013, Kuniskis noted in a presentation in May, compared to 18% growth for the overall full-sized sedan segment.

Retail sales growth of the Dodge Charger, 2010-2013. From a presentation given by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis in May. Source: Fiat Chrysler.

Kuniskis said on Wednesday that he believed the media attention received by the Challenger Hellcat has helped bring more attention -- and orders -- to the whole line of refreshed for 2015 Challengers. He said that interest in, and demand for, the new "Scat Pack" version of the Challenger -- priced at about two-thirds of the cost of the $60,000 Challenger Hellcat -- has been huge.

He attributes that interest to the media frenzy around the Hellcat. My sense is that that's the feat he's hoping to repeat with the Hellcat Charger: bringing more attention, interest, and praise to the entire Charger lineup.

How much will the Charger Hellcat cost? When will it be available?

We don't know yet how much it will cost. Chrysler hasn't yet released pricing for any of the 2015 Chargers.

But the Challenger Hellcat starts at $59,995, including a federal "gas guzzler" tax, and the list of standard equipment is quite long. It's fair to guess that the Charger Hellcat will be a little more expensive. It is, after all, a bigger car, and comes standard with the automatic transmission that is optional on the Challenger -- but not a lot. I'll be surprised if the starting price is much more than $63,000. It may well be less.

As for when it will be available, Kuniskis said that the Charger Hellcat will go into production in the first quarter of 2015.

Finally, Kuniskis also made a point of saying that he wants to sell as many Hellcats -- Challengers and Chargers -- as possible, not least because every Hellcat on the street is great advertising for the Dodge brand. He has never said clearly how many Hellcats Chrysler is willing or able to produce, and he didn't on Wednesday. But he did say flatly that the widely spread rumor that Chrysler would limit production of the Hellcat Challenger to just 1,200 examples is false.

Again, we were left with the impression that Chrysler will build as many Hellcats as the market demands. It probably won't demand quite as many Hellcat Chargers as Challengers; but, once again, Kuniskis and Dodge have gotten the world's attention.

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John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford, General Motors, and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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