Early buyers of the “limited edition” Dodge Ram Rumble Bee
are upset that production numbers seem to have exceeded 3700 units, a
number they believed would be the limit when they purchased their trucks.
Bee is a $2600 option on top of a Hemi-powered Ram SLT that includes graphics
emulating the Super Bee muscle car from the ‘60s, a hood scoop and
a sequentially numbered dash plaque. Owners following the controversy
say they have seen 2004 models with dash plaques sporting numbers over
4800. Dodge then started numbering the 2005 dash plaques with “Second
Swam.” Again, owners say they have seen these plaques with numbers
over 5000. A quick Internet check of Dodge dealers across the country
shows numerous Rumble Bees were still available for sale in mid-February
2005 (when this story was written), a full year after they went into production.
The Rumble Bee promotion was still running on the official Dodge Web site
at that time, as well.
comment on the matter, except to say that the automaker doesn’t
discuss production volumes. But references to the limited edition 3700
limit have been traced directly to the Dodge offices. At least one dealer
used the 3700 limit in a newspaper advertisement. Some Rumble Bee owners
say they saw the 3700 limit on the official Dodge Web site when they were
shopping for their truck, but none so far have made a printout or record
of the sighting available to PickupTruck.com (PUTC).
owners also say they queried Dodge customer service representatives, and
it appears conflicting answers were returned. One reply said that just
over 3700 vehicles were made for 2004 model year while another admitted
an initial plan of 3700 but that the company “reserves the right
to produce additional vehicles as related to market demand.”
more confusion to the matter, a top Dodge executive said, “We didn’t,”
when asked by a PUTC editor about running production over 3700. That executive
also said Dodge “built exactly what we said we were going to build.”
But when Dodge officials are asked now what that number is and when it
was disclosed, the answer is that the company doesn’t comment on
production volume. In fact, a Dodge wouldn’t even offer the company’s
definition of “limited edition” vehicle when asked by PUTC.
Bee owners, especially those with 2004 models numbered under 3700, have
voiced their opinions on RumbleBee.org, (www.rumblebee.org)
a Web forum open to Rumble Bee owners and fans to show off their trucks
and discuss issues. Most of the forum topics are dedicated to modifications,
upkeep, classifieds, shows and other general subject matter. But there
have been angry threads over the production number issue and even a call
to involve lawyers, consumer protection groups and states’ attorneys
31-year-old from North Carolina who has owned numerous high-profile Dodge
products—was one of the first buyers of a Rumble Bee. He scored
#163 and is so loyal to his new truck that he became a moderator on RumbleBee.org.
He says he first became aware of the 3700 limit through dealer ads, the
Internet and correspondence with DaimlerChrysler customer service. Lancaster
says he already had a 2003 Quad Cab but was attracted to the Rumble Bee’s
color, body styling and sporty attitude. He says the 3700 limit came up
during dealer negotiations and that the dealer was “not eager to
work on the price because it was such a limited edition.” Lancaster
paid near sticker but did receive a Dodge cash rebate.