This Week in Car Buying: Dodge Demon priced; Ford Apple CarPlay/Android Auto retrofit; Dealer offers car subscriptions; Smart EV prices
With the big car shopping weekend up ahead, Dodge is looking to build some showroom traffic with its 2018 Demon, an 840-horsepower drag strip ready street car it recently launched at the New York Auto Show. To build on that curiosity, the division has finally announced pricing that it said would be “well below six figures.”
True to its word, the 2018 Dodge Demon will start at $84,995 including a $1,700 gas guzzler tax. A $1,095 destination charge is extra. “Eighty-five thousand dollars is not just a number in a business case to Dodge; we know it’s a lot of money and a significant up-charge over a Challenger Hellcat,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of passengers cars at Dodge. “We worked hard to build as much value into the Challenger SRT Demon as possible—features, performance and exclusivity that simply can’t be duplicated with a goal of maintaining and possibly even growing as much future value as possible.”
Part of the marketing push for the car, Dodge is offering a bunch of extras at just $1 for the car that comes basically stripped down and ready for the track. In stock form, it is powered by a 770-horsepower Hellcat engine, but for $1, the software is remapped to make use of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8’s full 840-horsepower potential. In addition, for an extra buck you can get a passenger side seat, and for another one, a rear seat in either leather or cloth. A trunk carpet kit is also offered for a dollar.
The Demon promises stellar performance, 0-60 mph acceleration of 2.3 seconds, the ability to run the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 mph and pull 1.8 g in the process. Only 3,000 2018 Dodge Demon models will be sold in the U.S., with another 300 slated for Canada.
Along with the Demon pricing, Dodge is also offering up to $2,750 in incentives on V8-equipped 2017 Dodge Challengers.
Ford offers Apple CarPlay/Android Auto retrofit
If you’re looking for a deal on a 2016 Ford, but are hesitant because those vehicles lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, the automaker has some good news in the form of an update that solves the problem. This is not only good news for shoppers looking to cash in on some of the big rebates available on 2016 models, but also current owners.
The update is designed to work with Ford’s Sync 3 software and is easily completed by downloading version 2.2 to a USB drive, visiting a dealership or completing the refresh through a Wi-Fi connection. This is the first time that Ford has implemented a Sync software update through Wi-Fi since it began issuing upgrades for the system since 2009.
“Our Sync 3 software platform was designed to be easy to update so we can get our customers the latest and greatest features, functionality and security enhancements,” said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. “With over-the-air updates, we can deliver new features to customers in the background while they continue using their vehicles.”
Sync 3 current supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on all 2017 model year Fords including Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Mustang, SUVs including the Escape, Explorer and Expedition, F-Series trucks and Ford’s electrified vehicles.
Dealer offers car subscriptions
Holman Automotive Group, a New Jersey-based dealer chain with 38 franchises, has developed a new app in conjunction with Cox Automotive (parent company to Kelley Blue Book) that will allows consumers to look through the organization’s pre-owned vehicle inventory and book a car to use. The program allows consumers to use the cars for weeks at a time with no down payment, mileage limit or long-term contract. Holman believes this is a way to establish a long term relationship with customers who may not consider shopping or buying vehicles from the chain.
Called Flexdrive, the program includes insurance and maintenance, while the dealer group retains the title to the vehicle. It also allows the dealerships to generate a revenue stream from older vehicles that are simply sitting on the lot. Sample offerings at Homan’s Atlanta dealership include weekly use of a 2013 Ford Fusion for $219 a week, a 2014 Acura TL for 4259 and a 2013 Toyota Avalon for $279.
App users can change models at any time, which allows maximum flexibility in matching vehicle use with their needs at relatively affordable rates. Cadillac recently launched its subscription program Book in New York with a $1,500 per month fee for use of new models. The Holman Group sees wide application of its Flexdrive program outside its own stores, looking to expand the brand to as many as 500 other dealerships nationwide by early 2018.
Smart EV prices
Mercedes-Benz city car division, Smart, has released pricing on its new electric Smart Fortwo EV coupe and cabrio. The Smart Electric Coupe will start at just $23,800 plus $750 destination. The Electric Cabrio is $28,000 plus delivery. The open top Smart is the only convertible EV on the market today.
The new pricing reflects a $1,200 decrease over the previous version while boasting improved range of 68 to 80 miles depending on model, more power, more space and additional standard features. The 2-passenger Smart is made even more affordable when the $7,500 federal tax credit is factored in. Other state and local incentives may also apply.
Shelby American is putting its high performance spin on more than Mustangs as it introduces the 2017 Shelby F-150 Super Snake. Only 150 of these 750-horsepower trucks will be built.
Subaru is the latest maker to get on the black series bandwagon. It has taken the wraps off the 2018 Subaru Forester Black Edition which starts at $23,710.
Get the lowdown on the 2017 Honda Civic, Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze and Subaru Impreza in our latest Compact Hatchback Comparison.
In the market for a new car? Explore these useful tips on how to get the best deal: