Not buyers of Dodge Vipers per se. Some 127 of them found their way to a Dodge dealer in January, a 74 percent gain from last year’s total. Of course, that may have a little something to do with the fact that A) Dodge dealers are dealing as if their life depends on it (which it does) and B) the chances of buying a new Viper are decreasing by the minute. Especially since Chrysler revealed that it wants to sell the model as a brand to . . . someone. Oh how we laughed! Well, not Autoblog obviously, despite having reported that American tuner Saleen was a suitor (after having reported that Saleen’s busy going belly-up). I mention this not because I’ve been dying to put the boot in to Autoblog ever since my reader-inspired vow of fraternity, but because it raises the obvious question. Is Chrysler lying when it told the MSM that it has three companies interested in buying its Viper tooling and trademarks? (Setting aside the question of whether or not Cerberus has already mortgaged these “assets.”) Here’s AB’s take:
When the announcement was initially made that the automaker was considering offloading Viper as a brand, the prevailing thought was that the move could save the car from extinction. Now, the tables have turned and it’s generally acknowledged that Viper’s sale may actually help save its struggling parent company. The income from selling the sportscar unit could help bolster the report due to Congress by the end of March regarding Chrysler’s long-term viability, but the automaker doesn’t expect to have anything finalized by D-day.
Coincidence? I THINK NOT. How easy is it to say “we’ve got three buyers lined up?” “We’re doing due diligence,” Jim Press said in yesterday’s conference call. I would love to see the bona fides of these potential Viper builders. But then it’s not like I loaned Chrysler $7b. . . .