Is Chrysler Lying About Viper Buyers?
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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- Spookiness I can see revising requirements for newer vehicles, like 3 years, but not for older. I live in a state with safety inspections next to a state without, within a common metro-area commute "shed." Besides the fact that the non-inspection state has a lot of criminals to begin with, they're poorer, less educated, have a lot of paper-tag shady dealers, very lax law enforcement of any kind, and not much of a culture of car maintenance. It's all of their janky hoopties dead or burning on the side of the road every mile that farks up the commute for the rest of us. Having a car inspected just once a year is a minimal price of civilization, and at least is some basic defense against some of the brake-less, rusted-out heaps that show up on YouTubes "Just Rolled In."
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- David S. 4.4L Twin turbo, thanks BMW!
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The main thing about the Viper now is it's (probably) a money losing operation for Chrysler right now. Selling the Viper will let them kill two house flies (not big enough to be birds) with one stone: Less expenses, and you got some spare change out of the deal. I can't imagine who'd really want this, maybe another sports/exotic brand who wants to add something to their stable on the cheap? I don't see how the V10 is going to fit into this either. I predict that if somebody does actually buy up the Viper they'll use their own engine. Oh, and location of assembly doesn't mean squat for the Viper. It's hand-made.
Who's going the be the Viper dealer? Still sold through Chrysler? Who stocks the parts?