Dodge seeks to boost sales with its ongoing Power Dollars promotion that offers a cash rebate worth $10 for each unit of rated horsepower on Charger, Challenger and Durango models. Buyers of the 707-hp Charger SRT Hellcat, for instance, could get a $7,070 rebate. Dodge sales were down 9.1 percent this year through June.
Hellman spoke with Staff Reporter Vince Bond Jr. in August at the Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge event about the Charger's success, the upcoming Charger Widebody that's due in dealerships in early 2020 and the Power Dollars campaign. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: Dodge just rolled out the Power Dollars promotion. How did that come about?
A: I don't have the exact origins, but we always talk about why these customers buy these cars, and a lot of it comes down to they're buying for the power level. That's kind of how we position the cars in the lineup.
A guy buys an R/T because he knows he just wants to get into a V-8. A Scat Pack guy wants a little bit more. Maybe he's going to opt for some bigger brakes. He wants to do a little bit more performance driving and something like that on the track. And then there's the Hellcat guy, who's really going to bring it out on the track, or the guy that just wants to have the most [horsepower].
There's definitely people who just like to have the biggest number that they can. OK, you know you want to get a Hemi? All right, that's $3,750 off. So you tie it to the horsepower.
That's why they're coming and Dodge is, especially as of late, really pushing the performance story, because these cars are perfect for it.
I think it just emphasizes that and then it helps put all the pieces together. It's an easy message to know. Customers know what they're getting into before they even get there. So all that helps, and it's just getting the performance and the power into people's hands.
Which model will benefit most from Power Dollars?
I could see it across the board. You've given an opportunity to make the vehicles that much more accessible. Hopefully, it brings new buyers into our cars. There's finally an opportunity that they're able to experience.
Maybe they've been onlookers saying, "Man, I'd really like to get into a Charger, Challenger or Durango." And this is what tips the scales. I would love for that to happen. ... We call it the Brotherhood of Muscle, but it has nothing to do with being a man or woman or anything like that. It's "welcome into the fold," because it's an experience, and we all can enjoy it together.
Charger sales were up through six months this year when compared with a year earlier. What is the secret to keeping those sales up when sedans are down overall?
The Charger is unique. It's a sedan, but it's also a muscle car. It does so many things well. It can reach so many different people. And it has personality.
To your point, sedans are down, but I think those sedans don't have the personality — they're easily replaced. They're easily switched out for a [utility vehicle]. There's nothing else like the Charger. How many other purple sedans do you see out there that look really good? So it's being different. People that want to stand out in the crowd, that want to wear their personally on their sleeve.