By on August 27, 2008

Going... going...Rumors have been flying for quite a while that Cerberus would sell off parts of Chrysler. Most of the conjecture centered around Jeep being the first to go. However, Automotive News [sub] reports the Dodge Viper could lead the exodus through the gates guarded by the three-headed dog. This morning Chrysler said they're "exploring strategic options for the Dodge Viper business… as the Company focuses on enhancing its core business and leveraging its assets." CEO Bob Nardelli doesn't deny they're considering the sale. "We have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities for Viper." Then, proving he's unable to speak in any tongue but ManagementSpeak, he added, "As the Company evaluates strategic options to maximize core operations and leverage its assets, we have agreed to listen to these parties." But fans of the hotrod Dodge needn't feel betrayed. "Viper is an integral part of this Company's heritage. While this is a strategic review, our intent would be to offer strong operational and financial support during any potential transaction, in order to ensure a future for the Viper business and perpetuate the legacy of this great vehicle." In other words, "we're going to sell the IP rights to it lock, stock and sidepipes then market the remaining dealer stock as 'last of a legend' to get every cent we can out of them."

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21 Comments on “Chrysler Thinking About Selling Viper...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I swear, management is becoming worse than law in it’s need to pervert language.

    At least medicine has reasons to use jargon–you have to be precise or people die–but law and management (and to a lesser degree, accounting) take existing words and warp them in such a way that their original meaning is lost, and their new meaning is heavily dependent on context and “being in the know”. It’s like the secular priesthood, cloistered from the masses through obfuscation.

    I’d like to install a small electroshock device on people like Bob Nardelli that zaps them whenever they use the words “operational”, “going forward”, “synergy”, “paradigm” and any variation of the word “strategy”.

  • avatar
    JT

    Aha!

    Chrysler is considering selling Viper…and we know GM is looking at unloading the Hummer brand.

    After the Indian company Tata buys both of them, be prepared for a 6000+ lb vehicle with a 6.5 L engine and 30″ tires to be called…

    …Humper!

  • avatar
    TexN

    JT,
    As the Brits would say, “Bloody brilliant!”

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The Viper is built in a small dedicated factory, and because of low volumes, rather expensive for Chrysler to keep it running. I’m not surprised to hear that it’s been offered for sale.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I don’t think it is because of it being expensive to build that is the problem, but Chryslers total lack of r&d. If they don’t sell now, there won’t be a next generation Viper. And that’s what’s gonna happen to every brand and every model in the Chrysler portfolio. Sell off before it’s too obvious the next generation is dead on arrival.

  • avatar
    AKM

    @psarhjinian :

    Agreed, but at least, they’ve stopped making references to The Book of Five Rings, as if a treaty on life philosophy and balance had anything to do with making millions. I guess pretending to be a samurai was cool. Don’t get me wrong, I love samurai stuff, but the idea of fat balding men using bushido references was laughable, not cool. I saw it first hand, having worked in business coaching *sigh*

  • avatar
    dean

    psarj: have you ever seen the bullsh*t bingo game? A classic.

    Does the Viper still exist? I rarely, if ever, see one and they are never promoted. I suppose they probably show up in buff books but I don’t bother with those.

    I guess my question is: does the brand have any value?

  • avatar
    Samir

    I don’t know why they bother spending any time with the Viper. The money spent on developing Vipers is obviously very low, judging by the refinement offered by this automobile. It sells a few thousand a year.

    Is it even materially significant? 100% of the energy should be spent on the bread and butter sedans, while the Viper languishes on the vine.

    Unless of course someone is ready to pay an exhorbitant price for a car that is less and less competitive, that holsters an 8+ L engine (depending on year) during an era of high fuel prices.

    What this suggests is the Chrysler is strapped for cash. This runs in contrast to all the management speak coming from Nardelli et al saying Chrysler is profitable. Well, actions, words, you know which is louder.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    have you ever seen the bullsh*t bingo game? A classic.
    We played an ad-hoc version via BlackBerry during meetings. One of our P/As had spent some off-time writing a version in Java, even, though I don’t think it ever saw the light of day.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    The Viper is probably my favorite car produced in America, and this is coming from a Vette owner. I’m glad that this legendary car could possibly be saved from Chrysler’s incompetence. The Viper is too good for Cerberus

    Anybody that doesn’t appreciate a Viper should check out the latest version of Road and Track to see how the Viper ACR fared against some of the best sports cars in the world (e.g. Porsche GT2, Lambo LP-560). It destroyed the GT2 in nearly every aspect. It may be a crude car, but it’s performance is incredible and I think it would be a shame to see it die

  • avatar
    66Nova

    They don’t even sell a few thousand a year–so far in 2008 (through July) they’ve reported 682 sales in the US.

    So for them to proactively explore the possiblities of leveraging their passionate fanbase bandwith into the functionality of divesting the Viper so as to phase in a strategically focused methodology of customer-based market-driven solutions to their liquidity issues, could be a robust step toward solvency. It’s intuitive to harvest the low-hanging fruit.

  • avatar
    JT

    @66Nova
    …functionality of divesting the Viper so as to phase in a strategically focused methodology of customer-based market-driven solutions to their liquidity issues…

    BINGO!

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Chrysler claims sales for Viper are up 111% compared to last year. People are buying these, and are willing to pour gas and expense into them (insurance costs must be very high, especially on ACE version).
    Whoever takes over manageing Viper production should do fine so long as they keep costs in line with what they build and market. Also, perhaps other investors from countries awash in petro cash will invest to fund R & D (is 1000 HP too much for a RWD car?)

  • avatar
    66Nova

    “Chrysler claims sales for Viper are up 111% compared to last year.”

    Yup, last year Jan-July sales were 323, so they’ve more than doubled.

  • avatar

    If Chrysler kills or sells the Viper, they deserve to go under. That is all.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Ah yes.

    I’m looking forward to renting a Tata Viper next year.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    I can see Viper becoming North America’s TVR.

    You know, making sexy fast cars that are horrifying to drive, and even worse to maintain.

    Owned by a string of Eastern-European investors’ children.

    Yeah, I’m calling it.

  • avatar
    bluvenm97

    If selling it off is the only way we see another iteration of it, then so be it.

    I could see it coming back as ultra performance with new tech added like stability control / active handling / whatever other nanny aids you could put on a 500+ HP 500+ torque vehicle.

    Problem is, the Viper’s niche would be gone, and it would be just another competitor for the title in a sea of high HP, high techmobiles..

    I say keep it pure. It now has ABS, so leave it at that. Are there any other production cars that run those numbers with no other aids to the driver? Probably explains why many, many of these end up wrecked. Darwin’s theory in effect…

  • avatar
    Accords

    Hmmm

    Chrysler doesnt sell the VIPER…

    Its Dodge..

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    psarhjinian, “going forward” is the one business-speak term I hate most.

    Someone should let the MBAs know that time travel is not possible.

    -ted

  • avatar
    bluvenm97

    Accord:

    Chrysler DOES sell the Viper.. Thats like saying GM doesn’t sell the Corvette, Chevy does..

    It’s just semantics really..

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