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How Dodge Challenger won pony car race for the first time

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The chip shortage continues to concern Kuniskis, but he’s been encouraged by how dealers have responded.

“I worry about chips,” Kuniskis said, “but I also feel a little relief that the dealers have really come up with very robust processes to figure out what their inbound inventory is and cultivate a list of customers that they have and match those customers to the inbound units.”

Las Vegas dealer John Grant said it was great to outsell the Mustang, but he knows that wasn’t the ultimate motive for Dodge. Grant said Kuniskis has been committed to feeding product to the “Dodge family” of enthusiasts and building relationships with them.

Inventory has been tight, Grant said, and the Challenger shipments that do arrive already have buyers waiting for them. Two years ago, Grant’s Desert 215 Superstore that sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram had around 1,000 vehicles on the lot. It has fewer than 200 today.

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“All of a sudden, we had to figure out how do we sell the incoming ones, and people like that,” Grant said. “People like ordering them, and [for] that Dodge Challenger, you can change the seats and the motor and the colors. The customer base has just embraced that.”

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Huntington Beach Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Southern California was the top-selling Dodge store in the U.S. last year. General Manager Mike Harrington said the Challenger’s V-6-powered GT variant has been the volume leader, with a starting price just under $35,000. But he said the more powerful Scat Pack model has been turning the fastest.

Harrington wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a rush to buy more Challengers as Dodge prepares to phase out this generation of muscle cars and transition to electrification. He thinks the current Hellcat versions could become like the limited-run Challenger SRT Demon, which his dealership has been selling for double the original $86,090 sticker price.

“My owner wants to keep [the Demons] because they’re so rare, but he put them up there just in case somebody wants to pay and really, really wants one,” Harrington said.

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