Even though we knew the limited supply of Dodge’s SRT Demon would drive up prices astronomically, Fiat Chrysler still madeÂ a valiant effort to reduce markupsÂ by prioritizing deliveries toÂ dealerships offering the vehicle at (or below) MSRP. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work as intended.
This was especially true after some dealerships found a workaround by havingÂ intermediaries on eBayÂ auction off the right to buy one of their Demon allocations. Instead of selling the car above theÂ $86,090 sticker, which forces Dodge to omitÂ custom nameplates and other Demon perks, they’re allowing prospective buyers to bid on the “privilege” of purchasing a Demon at the manufacturer’s stipulated value â€”Â for thousand of dollars.
According toÂ Automotive News, buyers are shelling outÂ $10,000 to $70,000 to acquire SRT Demons at a “fair price.”
Last week, dealers inÂ South Carolina,Â Louisiana, and Tennessee auctioned the right to purchase coveted Dodge with reservesÂ set betweenÂ $10,000 and $22,500. However, earlier auctions showed some customers hitting final bids as high as $75,000.
Ebay sellers have been clear that they areÂ only tangentially related to the dealerships, specifyingÂ they have an “outside relationship,” as if they areÂ indicatingÂ someÂ kind of complicatedÂ romanticÂ status via social media. One lister explained thatÂ “there will be somebody directly from the dealership contacting the winning bidder prior to any money being exchanged so that the deal is understood from both sides.”
If that sounds sketchy, it is.
Meanwhile, the majority of dealerships should beÂ satisfied taking the honorable route of gouging customers upfront. Though a few have also decided to list regular Challengers at unheard of prices, in the hopes to subtly pass them offÂ as Demons. We even spotted a couple of V6 carsÂ carrying $80,000 totalsÂ online. Those examples appear to be anomalies, however.
In June, Dodge brand chief TimÂ Kuniskis explained the automakers allocation strategy while urging dealerships to play fair.Â “We know some dealers may be tempted to sell to the highest bidder,”Â KuniskisÂ said. “But we are encouraging them to leverage the Demon as a halo for both the brand and their dealership, to bring customers into their showrooms and see everything we have to offer.”
However, when youÂ canÂ sell something for thousands of dollars more than MSRP it’s difficult to resist the urge to do so. Finding a loophole that also permits you to adhere to the manufacturer’s stipulations is just icing on the money cake.
A few dealerships are attempting to reach a moral compromise, though.Â Bill Marsh Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Traverse City, Michigan toldÂ Auto NewsÂ its soleÂ Demon will be sold for one dollar below sticker price,Â with theÂ right to buy itÂ beingÂ auctioned off among existing customers for the “benefit of four local charities.”
According to Marsh’s marketingÂ director,Â Mike Kent, theÂ auctionÂ alleviated a problemÂ for the dealership, “which [is] ‘How do you maintain the integrity of one-price when the value of the car goes beyond its MSRP?’ This gets us beyond that.”
FCAÂ said it is monitoring dealer actions in selling Demons, butÂ confessed there was little the automakerÂ could do beyond encouraging dealers to sell their Demons atÂ the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.