The Truth About Cars » Viper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:53:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Viper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com September 2014 Sales: $85K Viper Sells Like It’s March 2008 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934234 This is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?” The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow? Over the span of a few […]

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2015 Dodge Viper SRTThis is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?”

The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow?

Over the span of a few days or weeks, the Chrysler Group wasn’t going to inject a barrel full of cash into R&D for a new Viper, perform stress tests, crash tests, performance tests, complete styling mock-ups, consult the Viper-owning faithful, and begin delivering cars to dealers.

But they could drop the price by $15,000, creating a base MSRP of $84,995. Suddenly for September, the Viper was priced like it was two decades ago, adjusted for inflation.

Suddenly, U.S. sales rose to the highest level the Viper has seen since January 2009, when 127 were sold, a follow-up to the Viper’s 152-unit December 2008 performance.

The Viper topped 100 units on six occasions in calendar year 2008: in March, April, May, August, and December.

One month does not offer enough evidence for a thorough sales analysis, but the turnaround is still too distinct to ignore. August sales had fallen to the second-lowest total since the latest Viper arrived early last year. The summer season generated just 158 sales between June and August, a 21% year-over-year drop from the 200 sold during the same season one year earlier.

Can the now $85K Viper maintain this heady level of output? Assuming Dodge/SRT sell another 324 more in the fourth-quarter of 2014, the Viper will have enjoyed its best sales year since 2008, although the total in that assumed case (870 units) would be down 26% from ‘08 levels, when 1172 were sold.

Keep in mind, 2008, when sales jumped 169% year-over-year, was not an especially good time for the Viper. 1511 Vipers were sold in 2002, 2103 in 2003, 1782 in 2004, 1652 in 2005, and 1455 in 2006.

Nevertheless, the year-over-year growth achieved by the Viper in September 2014 is notable. Volume shot up 140%, a gain of 63 units. Automotive News reports that Dodge will begin building Vipers again in mid-November after the price cut began moving substantial portions of dealer inventory. By that time, Viper production will have been idled for more than one-third of 2014.

With Viper numbers ascending, we can’t ignore the upward movement from two other sports cars. Nissan GT-R sales more than doubled to a Viper-besting 159 units, a gain of 83 sales compared with September 2013. GM, meanwhile, sold 2467 Corvettes in September alone, a 197% year-over-year increase, equal to 1636 units.

Only four other passenger cars produced greater year-over-year gains than the Viper in September. Audi’s A3 (up 33,329%) wasn’t really on sale a year ago. The Mitsubishi Mirage (up 6600%) did not put a full month under its belt last September. Mercedes-Benz’s scarcely available B-Class EV was up 3150%. And the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (up 393%), with 1909 September sales, continued to teach every automaker a lesson in how to sell $94,400-$222,000 cars.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Dodge Viper Assembly To Resume Mid-November http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dodge-viper-assembly-resume-mid-november/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dodge-viper-assembly-resume-mid-november/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934754 After months of idling, the Dodge Viper will once again roll out of the assembly line to a roped-off display near you. Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue plant will start production of the supercar in mid-November after shutting down July 3. The move follows a sales increase in September, thanks to a $15,000 discount […]

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After months of idling, the Dodge Viper will once again roll out of the assembly line to a roped-off display near you.

Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue plant will start production of the supercar in mid-November after shutting down July 3. The move follows a sales increase in September, thanks to a $15,000 discount to help move unsold 2013 and 2014 stock, as well as an additional $15,000 off via a coupon given to over 1,000 customers that will remain good until January 2, 2018.

In the aforementioned month, 108 Vipers were dusted off and sent to a good home after buyers paid $86,880 for them, besting August 2014’s 38 and September 2013’s 45. Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis said October sales are also turning out to be strong, helping to bring inventory down to appropriate levels.

Speaking of inventory, dealers have ordered 200 2015 Vipers, which will only be assembled once more older stock heads out onto the highway. Once assembly starts, only the GT and base SRT trims will come down the line at first, with the more upscale TA and GTS trims following after inventory becomes reasonable.

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The Viper Is Snakebitten http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/viper-snakebitten/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/viper-snakebitten/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:22:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894154 The raw, wonderfully American, V10-engined Viper is now in its fourth generation and will likely find more buyers in 2014 than at any time in the last six years. U.S. sales results have been extremely disappointing, however, as this revamped model has failed to attract a meaningful number of buyers in comparison with the relatively […]

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2014 SRT Viper GTSThe raw, wonderfully American, V10-engined Viper is now in its fourth generation and will likely find more buyers in 2014 than at any time in the last six years.

U.S. sales results have been extremely disappointing, however, as this revamped model has failed to attract a meaningful number of buyers in comparison with the relatively recent past.

And in comparison with just about all other vehicles, sports cars or not.

As recently as calendar year 2003, Dodge sold more than 2100 Vipers in America. Viper volume fell consecutively in each of the four following years, but then perked up to 1172 units in 2008, when a new Viper generated 600 horsepower. Only another 1071 were sold in the three following years, before the vehicle all but disappeared for more than a year.

One can’t argue with the fact that the latest Viper doesn’t look dramatically different. Although the new car, known for a while as an SRT and not a Dodge, sits so low and looks so wide and manages to shock with its brashness and boldness, the older models did so, as well. The 2014 Viper doesn’t seem so crazy now that we’re more than two decades removed from the first Viper’s wild arrival.

The Viper’s spec sheet isn’t so terrifying now, either. What’s 640 horsepower when Dodge’s own Hellcat-powered Challenger SRT produces 707; when the Corvette Z06 generates 650? The Viper used to be a car with numbers that sent exotic supercars to the pit lane with tails between legs. Now it’s a ridiculously fast car surrounded by obscenely fast cars.

A true Viper enthusiast will argue the merits of his car’s performance until the cows come home. But that’s not the point. There simply aren’t as many new Viper enthusiasts as there were, because Viper enthusiasts clearly aren’t as enthusiastic about the new Viper.

Only 991 have been sold since the first sale of the new car was reported in February of last year. Cadillac’s ELR is more common. More discouraging is the fact that sales have slowed dramatically. It seemed like nothing when only 226 had been sold through the new vehicle’s first five months. Give them time to ramp it up, let prospective Viper owners make room in their garage, let summer come.

But after peaking at 97 sales in June 2013 – a peak which was matched this April – sales dwindled in each of the next two months. Never were more than 70 sold between August 2013 and March of this year. Year-over-year, Viper volume declined slightly in May, plunged 63% in June, and fell 51% in July.

They stopped building them, because the ones they’d already built weren’t being sold.

Viper sales chartThe unfavourable comparisons aren’t made with the Chevrolet Corvette, a car which is selling at a not-seen-in-years kind of pace. (30,265 Corvettes have been sold in the last ten months. On an annual basis, GM hasn’t achieved a 30K year since 2007.)

No, in a way, the Viper can more easily be likened to the Nissan GT-R. Oh, they’re tremendously different cars, of that there can be no doubt. But they are both $102,000 performance vehicles sold by volume automakers. Nissan sold 1237 GT-Rs in 2013, more than double the volume achieved by the Viper.

Although continuously updated, the GT-R is basically the car which American buyers were first driving home in 2008. Nissan has reported 651 GT-R sales already this year, a number Chrysler dealers will struggle to match with the Viper by year’s end. Since the latest Viper arrived in the first quarter of last year, Nissan has sold more than 100 GT-Rs in a single month on nine different occasions.

FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?

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Corvette Stingray Bests Viper, 911 In Sales Through First-Half Of 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/corvette-stingray-bests-viper-911-in-sales-through-first-half-of-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/corvette-stingray-bests-viper-911-in-sales-through-first-half-of-2014/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867178 The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911. GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, […]

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The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911.

GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, over three times what was sold during the first six months of 2013. Meanwhile, only 354 Vipers managed to do the same — thanks to its high price and the velvet rope surrounding the one or two models available in most showrooms — as well as 5,169 of Stuttgart’s finest during those months. Nissan’s 370Z, priced much lower than the Stingray, also fared poorly against the Kentucky-built thoroughbred, 4,114 sold this year thus far.

Within the Chevy dealership, 2,723 convertibles and coupes left the lot in June, down from 3,328 in May. National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts the Corvette Stingray is on pace to hit 35,000 sold by the end of 2014, aided by the improved 2015 model and the introduction of the Z06.

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Viper Production Sidelined For Two Months Due To Slow Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/viper-production-sidelined-for-two-months-due-to-slow-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/viper-production-sidelined-for-two-months-due-to-slow-sales/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:15:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775697 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, […]

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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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2013 SRT Viper Banking On 90’s Nostalgia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/2013-srt-viper-banking-on-90s-nostalgia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/2013-srt-viper-banking-on-90s-nostalgia/#comments Fri, 17 Aug 2012 15:05:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=457225 A few days ago, I heard Nirvana’s “Come as you are” on a classic rock station. It’s hard to think of a grune song as qualifying for “classic” status, but we are creeping up on nearly 20 years of Nirvana. On the car front, there’s already been a re-issue of the Mustang 5.0, and now the […]

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A few days ago, I heard Nirvana’s “Come as you are” on a classic rock station. It’s hard to think of a grune song as qualifying for “classic” status, but we are creeping up on nearly 20 years of Nirvana. On the car front, there’s already been a re-issue of the Mustang 5.0, and now the Mopar folks are taking a similar path.

The 2013 SRT Viper looks a hell of a lot like the first Viper GTS Coupe, launched back in 1996. I doubt that this is a mere coincidence. The blue/white paint is basically the only thing separating this car from the standard Vipers. Somewhere deep inside, my inner 8 year old can barely contain himself.

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This Is Your 2013 Viper On Drugs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/this-is-your-2013-viper-on-drugs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/this-is-your-2013-viper-on-drugs/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2012 06:35:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428713 “Chrysler Group has elevated the art of the striptease to a new level with the release of its first official image of the next-generation SRT Viper,” claims Automotive News [sub] . Not just the art of the striptease. Also the fine art practiced by the  bar maiden who purrs into your pricked ear: “If you come […]

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“Chrysler Group has elevated the art of the striptease to a new level with the release of its first official image of the next-generation SRT Viper,” claims Automotive News [sub] . Not just the art of the striptease. Also the fine art practiced by the  bar maiden who purrs into your pricked ear: “If you come here more often, then maybe …”

On its driveSRT Facebook page, Chrysler asked Facebook users for virtual petting: “Like” the driveSRT page at least 10,000 times, and Chrysler will show you a picture of the next Viper.

On Monday evening, the Facebook page had 12,000 likes. Chrysler had to ante up. At midnight, hyperventilating Viper-aficionados were given the picture above.

See, that`s what you get when you hang out with bar girls.

According to AN, Chrysler is restarting its shuttered Conner Avenue Assembly plant to build the Viper later this year as a 2013 model. Production of the previous Viper ended in 2010.

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Dodge Brand Phase-Out Watch: There Will Be No Dodge Viper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/dodge-brand-phase-out-watch-there-will-be-no-dodge-viper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/dodge-brand-phase-out-watch-there-will-be-no-dodge-viper/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 19:08:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423611 Once upon a time, the Dodge brand was brimming with pride. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Dodge had it all: affordable compacts, big front-drive cruisers, the hottest trucks on the market, and of course, the Viper. And when the times were good, all of those part melded into one brash, exciting, quintessentially American brand. From Neons […]

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Once upon a time, the Dodge brand was brimming with pride. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Dodge had it all: affordable compacts, big front-drive cruisers, the hottest trucks on the market, and of course, the Viper. And when the times were good, all of those part melded into one brash, exciting, quintessentially American brand. From Neons and Intrepids, from Rams to Vipers, Dodge could do it all, as long as “it all” included a healthy dash of in-your-face attitude. But over the years, as Dodge’s shining moment faded into memory, the brand has managed to become both less viscerally appealing and less well-rounded. And when Fiat’s leadership stripped Dodge of the Ram “brand,” shucked its designs of their truckish cues, and repositioned Dodge as a more “youthful” and “refined” sporting brand, it seemed as if Dodge as we knew it was dying. Since hearing of Fiat’s plans to bring Alfa stateside, and with Dodge appearing to have lost out in brand alignment product battles, we’ve been wondering for some time now if Dodge isn’t headed out to pasture. Now there’s even more evidence that Dodge is being hollowed out en route to replacement with Alfa, as Automotive News [sub] reports

Absent from the redesigned SRT Viper will be the name Dodge… Viper has been linked to Dodge since the Dodge Viper RT/10 concept debuted in 1989. The first Dodge Viper SRT-10 went on sale in 1992, and over the years 28,056 Vipers were produced, according to Chrysler.

Not any more. Essentially, SRT becomes a brand with its own vehicle, in this case the SRT Viper.

That’s right, Dodge won’t have a Viper or a Ram (or, more prosaically, an Avenger or Caravan). Some might argue that, absent these components, the Dodge name doesn’t mean much of anything anymore. Certainly it doesn’t seem that Dodge can have a particularly bright future without any links to its last moment of glory.

Chrysler Group insists that the branding shift has nothing, NOTHING, to do with any elimination of the Dodge brand. In the words of a Chrysler Group spokesman,

SRT is the high-performance end of the company. The whole brand philosophy and the branding separation between Dodge and SRT will evolve over time. This is kind of that first step establishing what SRT means to the company and what that car means to the brand.

The other side of the company’s argument: the Dodge brand has “baggage” in some global markets, and by branding it as an SRT, the Viper can have a unified global brand and be sold (theoretically) at Alfa and Maserati stores. On the downside, these kinds of sleight-of-brand moves don’t tend to fool anybody, and more to the point, how many consumers know anything about the SRT “brand”? But all that aside, the mere existence of an SRT brand seems to trade off directly with Dodge’s continued success. After all, without trucks or performance halos, what exactly is Dodge again? And with Dodge’s post-Fiat-takeover brand boss Ralph Gilles jumping from Dodge to SRT, it seems that the corporate winds are blowing the once-proud Dodge brand towards oblivion. Perhaps Alfa will ultimately prove to be the more compelling performance brand, but in the short term, Fiat-Chrysler seems to be trading in one potentially strong brand for two relative unknowns.

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Who Wants In On The 2013 Viper? Anyone? Bueller? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/who-wants-in-on-the-2013-viper-anyone-bueller/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/who-wants-in-on-the-2013-viper-anyone-bueller/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2011 15:23:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400995 With a new Viper being readied for a 2012 auto show debut ahead of a 2013 launch, Automotive News [sub]‘s Rick Kranz has discovered something of an issue in the development process: suppliers don’t want in. Ralph Gilles, who heads Chrysler Group’s design organization and SRT, the automaker’s performance group, says many suppliers said “thanks, […]

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With a new Viper being readied for a 2012 auto show debut ahead of a 2013 launch, Automotive News [sub]‘s Rick Kranz has discovered something of an issue in the development process: suppliers don’t want in.

Ralph Gilles, who heads Chrysler Group’s design organization and SRT, the automaker’s performance group, says many suppliers said “thanks, but no thanks” when the automaker knocked on their doors.

“It has been tough to get low-volume suppliers,” Gilles says. “We have had a few hiccups here and there as we get suppliers. That type of fringe business has really dwindled. A lot of people are looking for big accounts now, but now that is behind us.”

Kranz blames low volume (2,103 units in its best year, 392 units last year) and supplier consolidation for the “hiccups.” But as it so happens, this has been a recurring problem for the Viper since day one…

Today’s reading is from the First Book of Lutz (“Guts”), Part One, Chapter 3: “We Just Did It”: The Story of the Viper.

Our other problems concerned suppliers. The Viper program proved to be our first experiment in having suppliers do the core engineering for a new model’s components. Curiously, it wasn’t that tough a goal to reach for those suppliers who’d already agreed to sign on. Most of Chrysler’s suppliers had caught Viper fever and wanted to participate. (The fact that many of their CEOs lusted after having their own Viper probably didn’t hurt).

But some of our most trusted partners simply refused to join, contending that the low volume didn’t justify the effort. From a narrowly left-brained viewpoint, they were right. Had they engaged their whole brain, however, and considered the project’s total benefits, most, I suspect would have chosen differently. A German supplier whom we had asked to produce the Viper’s new six-speed transmission really let us down. When we were already well into the program (and when it seemed to late to change something as fundamental as the transmission) he told us the deal was off unless could cough up several million dollars not previously discussed (and not available in our budget).

What to do? Knuckle under to prevent delay? Or tell the supplier “Thank you; it’s been semi-nice working with you, but forget it”? Bravely, the team picked the latter course. Working quickly and creatively they found a excellent alternative in the all-new Borg-Warner T-6 transmission, which was then under development fir GM’s Camaro, Firebird and Corvette models. Viper remained on track, while the German transmission company won an empty victory: To achieve a trivial savings, they sacrificed their opportunity to become a supplier for Chrysler’s more mainstream products and, more importantly, the unquantifiable but undeniable luster they would have enjoyed from being associated with, perhaps, the most publicized car in modern times.

What’s the lesson? Bringing suppliers on board a low-volume project like Viper requires holding “more mainstream product” business over the suppliers head, but even more, relying on “Viper fever” to inspire suppliers to become part of the project. Lutz doesn’t just identify the “luster” from being associated with Viper, but even goes as far as to point out that suppliers may have participated simply because they wanted a Viper of their own. To Lutz, the product guy, this is simply testament to the visceral power of a highly emotional car. To the purchasing and supply chain managers, however, this emotional basis for a business deal is hardly a sustainable state of affairs. Not only does it have the potential to challenge the financial stability of supplier firms with already low margins, but it also makes the supply chain dependent on the hype generated by the vhicle.

And that seems to have been the problem this time around: though the new Viper will doubtless be an impressive machine, there is no way it could even hope to make the kind of splash that the original did. As a car, the Viper has improved with age… as an idea, however, the Viper is getting stale. Are there still supplier bosses who are participating in the project simply because they want a 2013 Viper of their own? Very possibly, but “Viper fever” as it existed back 1989 isn’t going to keep a low-volume project running. The implication of this supplier trouble: the new Viper could well become an even bigger money loser than before. After all, enthusiasm and industry have always been turbulent bed-mates.

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Alfa Zagato TZ3: The Alfa-Viper Connection http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/alfa-zagato-tz3-the-alfa-viper-connection/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/alfa-zagato-tz3-the-alfa-viper-connection/#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 14:39:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=393507 Zagato’s 100 year birthday present to Alfa Romeo, the TZ3 Corsa, was originally designed around the Alfa 8C’s running gear. So when Sergio Marchionne started showing dealers a new Viper prototype that “resembled the 8C,” I suggested that the TZ3 Corsa’s long-nosed, kammback profile made it a good role model for a future Italian-influenced Viper. […]

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Zagato’s 100 year birthday present to Alfa Romeo, the TZ3 Corsa, was originally designed around the Alfa 8C’s running gear. So when Sergio Marchionne started showing dealers a new Viper prototype that “resembled the 8C,” I suggested that the TZ3 Corsa’s long-nosed, kammback profile made it a good role model for a future Italian-influenced Viper. And now, as if to explore that very possibility, Zagato has come out with a street-going TZ3 Stradale which drops the 8C underpinnings for a Viper ACR chassis and V10. Is this a look at the high-performance future of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance?

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2012 Dodge Viper: Ideal Versus Reality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/2012-dodge-viper-ideal-versus-reality/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/2012-dodge-viper-ideal-versus-reality/#comments Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:17:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=365968 When Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne unveiled the 2012 Dodge Viper to dealers at this week’s Florida dealer meeting, he introduced it with the following words [via Automotive News [sub]] We had been debating this particular nameplate for a long time, and every time I just could not get there. And then one morning the […]

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When Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne unveiled the 2012 Dodge Viper to dealers at this week’s Florida dealer meeting, he introduced it with the following words [via Automotive News [sub]]

We had been debating this particular nameplate for a long time, and every time I just could not get there. And then one morning the product committee went into the dome and saw it, and we all knew we were in front of something magic, unique. It took less than five minutes for the committee to fund the initiative. Not a negative comment, not a remark, not a single question. And so I leave you with this. The 17th car in the lineup, in select dealers in 2012.

Based on Marchionne’s words as well as dealer reports that the concept “resembled the Alfa 8C Competizione, we’d like to believe that the 2012 Dodge Viper will look something like the recent Zagato Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa concept (above). In reality, however, it will probably more closely resemble the image after the jump.

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Is Chrysler Lying About Viper Buyers? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/02/is-chrysler-lying-about-viper-buyers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/02/is-chrysler-lying-about-viper-buyers/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2009 16:05:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=238912 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 […]

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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. . . .

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