“Customers shall read and fully understand” owners’ manual in its entirety before operating vehicle

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is not being sold as an ordinary street vehicle, and the disclaimers and waivers that customers are being required to sign are not ordinary either [Patrick Rall, Allpar via Davey G. Johnson, Car and Driver]

12 Comments

  • How do customers assure themselves that they have achieved understanding? Is there a test? What is the threshold of understanding?

    A typical owners’ manual for a car runs to hundreds of pages chock full of important details. Will new car dealers ensure that purchasers of the SRT Demon have read and thoroughly understood all of the details in the owners’ manual before they drive off the lot?

    Without active enforcement, the “shall” part of the requirement is empty of meaning.

    • I took a look at the linked article, which has the full agreement.

      It’s all CYA stuff for dodge.

      The whole thing amounts to:

      I, the buyer of a Dodge Demon SRT understand that this car is designed for drag racing and not as a street car.

      I understand that this product is dangerous when used for it’s intended purpose and is potentially unreasonably dangerous when used on public streets. I am buying it any way and I assume all risks.

      If I screw up and injure or kill myself, Dodge is not responsible.

      If I use this car irresponsibly and injure or kill someone else, that is on me and Dodge is not responsible.

      • So Dodge is knowingly selling a car that is potentially unreasonably dangerous when used on public streets? So when a driver kills or injures someone else while using “the Demon”, Dodge has no liability to the injured party for selling this product to the general public?

        Something about this doesn’t sound right.

        • Yes, but it isn’t being sold as a street car. It is being sold as a production drag racer.

          It has a lot of performance features that are racing specific and the document the buyers have to sign and initial item contains a warning that the car is dangerous if the racing performance features are used on public streets.

          It doesn’t even come with passenger seats standard, only as a factory option, and one of the items in the buyer statement is do not attempt to install passenger seats later if you pass on the factory option.

          Another item is a warning that the factory tires are racing tires. If the car is driven as a street car, even if driven safely and responsibly, it will cause excessive wear on the tires. Also the factory racing tires are no good in inclement weather such as rain or snow.

          Why should Dodge be held responsible if a buyer uses the Demon on public streets when Doge has signed and initialed proof that the buyer was explicitly warned that the Demon is not a street car and warned not to use it as a street car?

        • Well, since it is not intended for Street Use, it seems appropriate for them to make that clear. That dopes not absolve them of all liability, there may still be mechanical failings unrelated to the design of the car for its intended purpose – but yeah, if you buy a single seat SRT Demon, and your friend in the passenger seat someone other than Dodge installed gets killed, Dodge should be clear of liability.

          Plenty of products have specialized intended purposes for which the MFG is largely shielded of liability when the product is used for something else – even when that use might be anticipated or expected. (Depending on state law, of course).

          • Yep, there is nothing in the document Doge is requiring Demon buyers to sign that would absolve Dodge for manufacturing or design defects.

            However, the fact that the Demon is a race car and not a street car is not a design defect.

            As a race car, it has a lot more power than a street car. And driving a race car, even on a proper tack is a very different skill set and is a lot more physically demanding than driving a street car at speed limits.

            The document is intended to protect Dodge in two very specific cases.

            1. The buyer doesn’t know and doesn’t bother to learn how to properly handle a race cars and smears himself across a race track.

            2. The buyer uses his Demon for illegal street racing or just driving, and injures or kills someone else by misuse of the vehicle.

  • If the car is not dangerous when used for its intended purpose, there shouldn’t be liability. No more than GM or Ford should be liable if someone uses one of their stock cars on the street and injures someone.

  • It’s marketing–pure and simple. Dodge is saying, “We’ve made a bad-ass car.”

  • Wouldn’t take much for Dodge to make the car not street legal. Lack of windshield wipers and back up light would be simple enough to do and would render the car not street legal.

    As the car is now being sold, it is street legal. I predict that there will be owners who do drive the car on the street and there will also be owners who drive the car in spectacularly stupid ways on the street.

    • Those simple changes would also make it, functionally, un-insurable and destroy any hope they would sell enough of the cars to make their production worthwhile.

      • With those changes, you probably would not be able to get liability insurance for street use, but there might be damage insurance for race cars. Of course such insurance if it exists would be very different from normal auto insurance.

    • Every buyer has been explicitly warned in a document that they signed and then initialed each individual warning that driving the Demon on the street is a bad idea and that doing so in an irresponsible way is not just spectacularly stupid, but epically stupid and exceedingly dangerous.