Chrysler: Someone Wants To Buy The Viper
Speaking yesterday at an Automotive Press Association event, Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Jim Press revealed that Chrysler has “been approached by outside individuals who want to work with us to buy the asset and sustain Viper going forward.” Who are they outside individuals? Well that’s a secret, of course. But someone, hopefully, maybe, wants to buy the rights and equipment to make the Viper in the future. As a car fan, I think this is a nice development. No matter what happens to Chrysler, the legendary Viper would live on the way that the Seven or Cobra live on today. At this point, Chrysler is selling about 80 Vipers per month– which is probably more than a low volume hand-assembler could handle in production. But presumably the amount of interest would drop when you could no longer get a car with a dealership warranty (even though it would have been at a Dodge dealership, that’s something). From Chrysler’s business standpoint, why? What is the entire Viper program really worth? $100 million perhaps. That’s barely enough money to put up new wallpaper in the bathrooms at Chrysler’s headquarters. Meanwhile, when they eventually do sell the entire Dodge brand off, the Viper is an absolutely crucial asset to its image. But then, that wouldn’t fit the perfect profile of a Cerberus strip and flip. And by selling off little pieces of the company– like the Viper– that’s exactly what we’re seeing.
Maybe it's Lutz buying back his baby. Pontiac Viper? GM always could buy and kill the Viper so the Corvette would be the uncontested American Performance Car, but I think they'd be more likely to try and run with it if they bought it.
@chanman: GM doesn't have cash to throw away on another niche vehicle like that.... which means that it's entirely possible!
Thank God Cerberus isn't dismantling Chrysler and selling it piece by piece the way so many had feared...oh wait. It is. Woohoo for private equity. Buhbye Chrysler.
Thank God cerberus is dismantling Chrysler. Where are the synergies between making and marketing a low volume exotic like the Viper and building Minivans, SUVs and Trucks? I hope someone with cash to invest buys Viper and builds it into a Ferrari or Porsche competitor.