Buyers of the 2021 Durango Hellcat are apparently upset that Dodge opted to continue production of what it said would be a limited-edition, one-year-only model. One owner feels so strongly that Dodge misrepresented the availability of the 710-horsepower SUV that he says he’ll sue Stellantis seeking compensation for loss of value, The Drive reports.
When the Durango Hellcat was announced back in 2020, Dodge said it would produce the super-SUV for just six months. Response was so positive that Dodge extended the production run to try to accommodate an overwhelming number of orders. And now it’s back again for 2023. Even among those of us without a vested interest, that does seem conspicuously open-ended for what is being marketed as a limited-edition model. At least one owner thinks it rises to the level of misrepresentation — in other words, false advertising.
The owner, who goes by Stacy, told The Drive that he believes Dodge intentionally misled potential buyers way back in 2020 with the promise of a limited-edition model, prompting potential buyers to open their wallets wider than they may have otherwise if they’d known the Durango Hellcat would be in production off and on for years. He refers also to statements made publicly by Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis that emphasized the Hellcat’s limited availability, due in no small part to constraints placed upon the company by regulatory forces:
“When we switch to the 2022 model year, there are new evaporative emission requirements that come in that the Hellcat engine does not meet in that platform,” Kuniskis said, also indicating that while there was no fixed production number, total volume was expected to be fewer than 2,000 units. He also confirmed at the time that they would not be serialized.
While Stacy indicates that he wishes to pursue damages for false advertising, the issue at hand appears to be one of promissory estoppel — a component of contract law that prescribes how an injured party (financially, in this case) can sue to recover losses on the basis of what amounts to a broken promise. No written contract is required if the injured party (Stacy et al) can demonstrate that 1) they were financially harmed by relying on Dodge’s published intent to limit production, and 2) that it was reasonable for them to assume that Dodge would be able to keep that promise in the first place.
Stacy’s intention to sue has been met with mixed reactions from Durango owners. Unsurprisingly, those who were not lucky enough to snag a 2021 Durango Hellcat are less enthusiastic about legal action. They’re probably too busy trying to get on the waiting list for 2023.