By on March 19, 2014

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Due to slow sales, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will halt production of the SRT Viper for the next two months, with 91 hourly workers temporarily booted to the unemployment line.

Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit will go into hibernation beginning April 14, with production to resume June 23.

Speaking of 91, that was the number of Vipers sold in the United States between January and February of this year, with a 412-day supply of 756 unsold vehicles as of March 1.

Factors leading to the temporary shutdown include unseasonably cold weather, and the habit of dealers keeping the doors locked on the exotic car, hindering sales. SRT brand head Ralph Giles aims to change the latter through a factory team tour of the U.S. already underway in the South, allowing customers to take the Viper for a test-drive. The tour will expand north once warmer weather arrives.

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54 Comments on “Viper Production Sidelined For Two Months Due To Slow Sales...”


  • avatar

    Too expensive.
    Too impractical.
    Yeah, i’d buy one if I could drive it comfortably, but it’s a weekend toy for balding, middle aged men in states without winter weather.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I think it’s best days are behind it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Agree.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        The first Viper I ever saw was in Durango, Colorado in the summer of 1994. That was a great looking car! When I see a Viper today I think of the 1990’s. The new Viper is a better, more refined car than the original, but it doesn’t look that different from the Viper I saw in Durango in 1994.

        There is something to be said for continuity and evolutionary styling, but there is also a time to do something new and revolutionary. Perhaps the Viper needs to shed its Clinton era styling for something more up to date.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It certainly hasn’t seen any of the excitement that the C7 Corvette has.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        And the C7 is another car you can’t test drive….I never bought a car without driving it first…until now. The no test drive policy sucks and the factory should require dealers to make test drives available. Even if you have to put a deposit down or a credit check to weed out the tire kickers….

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Both Dodge dealerships in town have one.

    Both have them behind a velvet rope with “DO NOT TOUCH” signs plastered all over the windows.

    Both want 150k.

    Both cars have been gathering dust since the first snowfall in October.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      LOL @ 150k.

      And what do you wanna bet you could go to a Mercedes showroom and sit in/touch/drive a more expensive SL, CL, or SLS?

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Whats the point of having a halo if it’s never actually driven?

      Anyone that actually wants a 0 mile Viper is going to order it, new, with options.

      I was reading about the test-drive tour FCA was doing this year, I feel like it’s going to help sales a hell of a lot more than a pedant middle-manager of sales with bullshit 70’s era ropes and signs on the car.

  • avatar
    Ion

    These should be made to order. Yeah I get that most Americans like to haggle and/or buy what the dealer has in stock, but most americans won’t be buying a 100,000+ supercar.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I’m waiting for the cash on the hood & 0.9% financing deals on these as they start to pile up! Lol!

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Kinda makes the Corvette look like a bargain, even with its upcoming price increase.

    I’d be interested to see how many buyers of the Viper are dealer principals or their spouses.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I wonder if the sales slump continues if Chrysler would lower the official MSRP? Also, absent that, would dealers be willing to significantly lower prices, even realizing a loss, without any incentives from Chrysler?

    The Viper’s an interesting car but the pricing is a bit too aggressive.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The Ford GT was a similar flop. One sat in the dealership here for 2 years. I don’t know how they disposed of that white elephant.

    They never reached the low production goal as demand wasn’t there. Ford actually disassembled cars to “part out” at the end of the run.

    • 0 avatar
      NotFast

      Ford GT’s still sell at or above original sticker. They may have had trouble selling them, but they are a pretty hot ticket now.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      Chrysler sells the cars to the dealers. if the dealers choose to mark them up and keep (real, not people who just want to sit in one and take pictures of themselves) potential customers from getting into them, they dealers eat the floorplan financing that they have to pay. if the dealer thinks that having one in their showroom drives foot traffic, they’ll keep it around as long as they want to. AFAIK, Chrysler doesn’t force dealers to order a Viper like CAFE-pumping Darts or profit soaked Rams.

      many Ford GTs were kept in dealerships to drive traffic. I would argue heavily that the GT was a “flop”. production was ended because the cost to re-certify the car was considered too much for the return and the company was looking forward to potential rough times, which hit in a spectacular fashion of course. there was a specific run of Canadian market cars at the end of production due to demand. delivery mileage cars are now selling at auction for in excess of $200k, quite a bit more than their ~$150k MSRP.

      it is very delicate business to market something this expensive through dealerships built around volume commodity vehicle business. if a particular dealership doesn’t think they need to budge from an over-MSRP asking price, they won’t. and there’s very little the manufacturer can do to stop them doing so.

      pricing on the GT was raised pretty significantly ($10k IIRC) in the second model year, along with adding the high cost Heritage paint scheme. that was largely a result of the far over-MSRP transaction pricing which was seen in the market. as there were more cars available, transaction prices stayed pretty high, but after production stopped, one could eventually find cars at near MSRP as dealers decided that they’d gotten whatever marketing benefit out of them that they wanted, or decided not to keep the one car they got for themselves. one has to keep in mind that with several thousand dealers, getting even one GT would be a big deal, so imagining it as an extra $20k profit waiting to materialize is pretty easy math, at least until it sits for a couple of years and you decide to get rid of it.

      I’ve been told there are now incentives on the ZL1 Camaro, which is amusing. GM may have cannibalized their own sales with their typical 18 month lead introduction of the Z28.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        “I would argue heavily that the GT was a “flop”. production was ended because the cost to re-certify the car was considered too much for the return and the company was looking forward to potential rough times, which hit in a spectacular fashion of course.”

        The GT was also a casualty of Ford’s “The Way Forward” program. The Way Forward eliminated several plants and vehicles. One of these plants was Wixom Assembly which closed in mid-2007. In the year or so before Wixom closed Ford discontinued several cars made there – the Lincoln LS, Ford Thunderbird and Ford GT. The only Wixom product to survive was the Lincoln Town Car which moved to St. Thomas Assembly in Quebec.

        • 0 avatar
          faygo

          the GT was effectively built by Mayflower (monocoque) and Saleen (assembly of body to monocoque and much of the rest of the car.

          installation of the engine and some other components were done at Wixom, but in a separate building away from the rest of the plant. the final assembly could easily have been done elsewhere if the Wixom site had been sold to anyone in any sort of timeframe when the GT would have still been produced.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Ford did not disassemble actual working cars. 11 car bodies were disassembled and body panels were sold as service parts.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    Agreed on the Ford GT, but I thought that was a better car, just not marketed much.

    Look at the resale values on GT’s now… going up after a few years in the dumps, don’t think you can get into a decent one for less than 100 K.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The GT is also AWESOME and has huge presence.

      This doesn’t, and it’s a bit ugly. And just buy a used GT for cheaper! Not like it will have 50k miles on it and parking lot dings.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        I still ogle GTs every time I see them. Presence is an apt description. They are pretty much car porn in person. While all the color options looked great, I’d take mine in Gulf livery. I was saddened by my relative poorness when that guy was selling 15 mint examples on eBay a few years back…

        http://jalopnik.com/5876935/is-this-guy-selling-15-undriven-ford-gts

        Had I been a Powerball winner, I probably would have bid on the entire lot. I could leave half undriven just to stare at, and use the other half for a different color each day of the week.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Agreed… the Ford GT is the only over $100k car I think I would buy if I could afford. Its gorgeous, exotic, yet all American underneath, has the look of a classic but is essentially new, but without the typical overdone retro queues.

          Oh, I guess I would also want a Porsche GT3 RS, those are over $100k too. But never a Viper. I think they are cool cars but not $100k cool. Maybe an older used GTS coupe, I think those look better anyway.

          Cmon Powerball!

          • 0 avatar
            johnny_5.0

            I’m just going to leave this here, pretty much sex on wheels…

            http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2010/08/02jetcenterparty2010.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Oh yea that GT is perfect, love it! And yes, if I could only afford ONE car over $100k (I think $200k now though), then it would be this exact Ford GT!

  • avatar
    NotFast

    “the habit of dealers keeping the doors locked on the exotic car, hindering sales”

    Riiiiight. Sounds like BS marketing-speak. How much do these guys get paid to generate tripe like this?

    Someone who buys a $140K sports car will NOT let some velvet ropes or locked doors stop them.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    They did everything right with the new Viper, then killed that with the price.

    Disagree with NotFast about locked doors not impeding sales. This is the kind of car for the right kind of guy that “just taking a quick look” can turn into “what kind of deal can you put together” quickly once you sit down and shut the door!

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I don’t think there are many folks who cross shop these kinds of cars, nor do they really care how much they are. You have your favorite and that’s what you want.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    They need to chop the roof off of this car. Viper coupes have never looked right to me. I think Chrysler took the Viper in the wrong direction when it went from being a menacing street car to a designated track monster.

    Being a track-only car doesn’t do much for the company’s reputation either. They need these on the street where people will see them in order to bring a little goodwill to the company.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    I love the look of the Viper. I’d just never buy one – I’m a mediocre driver, am more interested in how cars work than how fast I can make them go, and am a bit of a stickler for leaving things like the environment in a better state than I found it for future generations.

    I also have no interest in owning a car that I can’t leave unattended in a parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “and am a bit of a stickler for leaving things like the environment in a better state than I found it for future generations.”

      What’s your plan for that?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “leaving things like the environment in a better state than I found it for future generations”

      This is impossible at this point, the environment is too damaged than the world we were born into. As much as I would like to agree with you and do the same, it is akin to “leaving the next generation better off than mine” which we all know this has already not happened and I doubt the next generation will be better off than our own. Life has become a ponzi scheme, but then again maybe it always was…

  • avatar
    carguy

    Unfortunately, against the C7 Corvette the asking price of the Viper is simply not competitive. The situation will get worse once the Z06 hits dealer lots.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      +1. I think most of the big appeal of the Viper was that when it first came out it was a beast. In the early 90s 400HP alone was something that could sell the car as it put it in a league of its own. The vette of the same era had 250HP and the only cars close to the Viper’s numbers were the EB110 or the Aston Virage and then the Mclaren F1.

      With the rest of the industry catching up this is somewhat gone, as there are many cars less than $150K with over 600HP. And most of these are better cars in a holistic sense.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The new Viper was obviously going to be a disaster from the jump off. The car has a reputation for danger and burly-chested hooliganism, as well as being a sort of spiritual successor to the Cobra Coupe. The new car is an overprice European touring car with poor road manners.

    I’ve always had an appreciation for Marchionne, but he’s been showing his true colors lately. He knows nothing about cars, and he has virtually no genius to speak of. He follows formulaic convention and he dilutes brands until they are so watered down they cease to have any meaning.

    • 0 avatar

      What this guy said. On a plaque. Mounted high on a mount.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      This has nothing to do with Marchionne. Fiatsler is a big company and he has a lot more things on his mind than a car that will represent .00001% of their revenue. He might have said something about the various development team’s budgets but people further down the line are responsible for this car.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        If you’re gonna lay blame on why the Viper is overpriced and probably toast in the wake of the C7, it belongs to Ralph Gilles. He’s taken this one on personally. The BS they’ve been spewing just won’t fly.

  • avatar
    Morea

    The Vipers were cheated out of a likely GTLM class win at Sebring last weekend due to a blown call from the race officials.

    A Sebring victory certainly would not have hurt sales.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    If you look at the two seat sports car sales numbers at Good Car Bad Car, you’ll see that with the exception of the Corvette, the market for two seat sports cars is pretty much sucking mud.

    Sports car sales are reported in the “Sporty Car” sales group, along with some cars that aren’t all that sporty.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    No sales and Dodge dealers have the nerve to rope the thing off and demand $150K? And these are the people who won’t let Tesla sell direct? The dealer model is rotten.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    The blacked out grille and disassociation of the name “Dodge” probably aren’t helping sales.

    Those aside the Vipers one of the few newer supercars I probably wouldn’t mind owning, or at least renting for a period of time.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I don’t think people consider the Viper to be a Dodge any more than they consider the Corvette to be a Chevy. These cars are practically separate brands.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Two comments:

    1. I suspect the dotted-line production of this car, with gaps between 2006-8, and 2010-12, have served to push it out of buyers’ minds. It’s like that movie star you’re not sure is still alive.

    2. This car returned because of an enthusiast outcry. Enthusiasts’ talk is cheap – they can’t be trusted to actually buy anything. Remember the Plymouth Prowler and Chevy SSR truck?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      What enthusiasts were clamoring for the Prowler or SSR (or the retro T-bird for that matter)? Maybe resto-modders?

      The way I remember it most auto enthusiast folks weren’t looking for a blingy, expensive retro Chevy truck convertible on an SUV platform that didn’t even offer an LS engine in its first 2 years of production, or a roadster with the interior of the eventual PT Cruiser and the engine out of a New Yorker. They were pretty much held up as the pinnacle of “all show and no go”. Nothing but a styling exercise.

      Now, with the Astra or Monaro/GTO as an example, I might be more inclined to agree.

  • avatar
    viperguy

    Well the only thing I can Assume from all these ridiculous statements is that none of you have ever owned or driven a Viper. I have had 4 vipers and even wrecked one… I still love the sensation of driving a car that is not one I will see again on the road in the next two minutes..also known a s a “Me too car” being that when someone asks you…. what kinda car do you have and they say “me too” like so many mustangs you can count 1,2,3,4 etc as you drive down the road until you get bored. Even a Vette can be seen with a frequency that makes you not even notice when you see one on the road much like a prius or honda civic….because you know that there is nothing special to see and that person has no original thoughts…When you see a viper you take notice and say look that is a nice car…the fact that it has remained the same body style that can be recognized year after year made me want one…I have never conformed to the mass acceptance of the Mustangs and Camaro’s of the world and I never will….I am glad that there will never be a flood of Vipers out there.. if that happens… the truly unique will never be recognized…viper forever!!!

    LS Viperman


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