EDITORIAL

Keep the Dodge Demon off our roads

Editor's note: This editorial has been updated to make clear the Demon has been banned from regulated drag strips as-is from the factory upon delivery.

The 840-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Demon from Fiat Chrysler is so inherently dangerous to the common safety of motorists that its registration as a road-worthy automobile should be banned.

We don't reach this conclusion lightly. There are more powerful, and even faster, vehicles available from other automakers that are rightly street legal.

But just as Tesla is wrong to use consumers and the roadways to beta-test its autonomous driving technologies, Dodge is wrong to offer a purpose-built drag racer as a road-legal automobile.

From its barely legal slick tires to its monstrous acceleration, the Challenger Demon introduced in New York this month is the result of a sequence of misguided corporate choices that places bragging rights ahead of public safety.

Laudably, the entire industry has made great strides toward improved vehicle safety in recent years, even as it dials up performance capabilities. But with the Demon, Dodge spits on that goal and irresponsibly moves in the opposite direction, knowingly placing motorists in danger in the process.

Oddly enough, for a vehicle designed to be a purpose-built drag racer, the Demon -- as delivered from the factory -- has already been banned from regulated drag strips by that sport's sanctioning body, the National Hot Rod Association, allegedly for being "too fast."

The Demon may comply sufficiently with the letter of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to legally be registered for on-road use, but in its current form it certainly doesn't fulfill the spirit of those standards.

To borrow a phrase from Ralph Nader, the Demon remains unsafe at any speed.

25

Shares

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Over the last few months, Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Newsletters