A lawsuit filed against Stellantis last week claims the Dodge brand deceived consumers by saying the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat would be produced for only one model year.
Seven customers say they paid more for their vehicle “than they otherwise would have” and, had they known Dodge would build the Durango Hellcat beyond the 2021 model, possibly “would not have purchased the vehicle at all.”
The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for the suit and more than $5 million in damages.
Dodge said in July 2020 that the speedy Durango Hellcat would have a limited run. The burly yet spry utility vehicle delivered 710 hp, with Dodge calling it the “most powerful SUV ever.”
It came with an $82,490 price tag, including shipping, but some buyers dropped more than $114,000 to get their hands on a model they believed wouldn’t come around again.
Two years later, the brand reversed course and declared that the Durango Hellcat would be back for another run as a 2023 model.
The lawsuit accuses Dodge of a “classic bait and switch scheme.” The plaintiffs say they could have bought competing products, but the Durango Hellcat’s limited status made it “highly attractive.”
The suit points to several statements by the automaker to prove consumers were misled.
At a July 2020 launch event, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said the public would have “one shot” to buy the vehicle. The suit says press materials made the same or similar statements.
In a January 2021 press release, Kuniskis said the 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.” Dodge said at the time that 2,000 would be built.
A Stellantis spokesperson said the company does not discuss active litigation.