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The semiconductor shortage has been a huge hit to the automotive industry over the last year. When the Coronavirus went global and shut down many industries, everyone went into quarantine. The industry for consumer products boomed, Amazon became the number one distributor, and the suppliers of semiconductor chips put all their focus on consumer products and electronics. Automobiles were not on the list at the time, and in 2021 when automakers were back in full swing, they were not able to get the resources they needed. Following a couple of arguments between automakers and semiconductor chip suppliers, some big names started finding ways to produce their own semiconductor chips, like Stellantis and the Hon Hai Technology Group forming a new partnership to do just that. We thought things had cooled down, but a new and unlikely victim has been hit – Dodge with its Direct Connection Performance Parts catalog.
Not aware of Dodge and its Direct Performance Parts catalog? This is the next new place for muscle car lovers and true Dodge fans to enhance their vehicles and “unlock” its full potential. Broken down into three parts – Modern Performance, Competition, and Crate Engines – consumers can expect to find aftermarket items like a new Direct Connection Tuner and Stage kits for upgrading “modern performance”. When it comes to real “competition”, Dodge is offering kits for the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak, a factory-built, turn-key drag car for racers who compete in sanctioned series. Lastly, “crate engines” are perfect for improving the performance of a vehicle based purely on horsepower and torque. The only current restriction is that this catalog is restricted to the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Redeye models.
That may be a deal breaker for some consumers, seeing as how the starting MSRP for the SRT Hellcat is $68,320 (plus destination fee) and the starting MSRP for the SRT Hellcat Redeye is $76,925 (plus destination fee). Although the Direct Connection program promised performance-based add-ons for the entire Dodge//SRT lineup, it may now become clear why the catalog is only taking interest in these two models. According to a recent interview with Dodge CEO, Tim Kuniskis by Muscle Cars & Trucks (MC&T), there are two key reasons keeping the limit so strict: the ongoing semiconductor shortage and the federal government.
“If we didn’t have a shortage of chips for the controllers and approval from the EPA right now, we’d have the stage kits really out there and available for sale right now. I’m hoping we have those in the next couple of weeks. We had a disruption in the supply chain with the chips for the controllers that are required in the ‘Pre-Stage Kit’ to make all of this work. We think we have that resolved now…We should be getting those controllers in a couple of weeks. So, not stopped, just delayed because of supply issues… But the [other] problem is I don’t have the full stamp of approval of the EO certification from CARB yet, and why would I send it out without the CARB approval?” - Kuniskis told MC&T
This means to say, the plans to expand the catalog to other models hasn’t been cancelled. They’re just…delayed. As is the rest of the catalog at the moment. Orders may have opened up, but they may take a while to fill and deliver. You can follow along with updates on Dodge//SRT and the Direct Connection catalog when you follow us on NowCar social media.