By on October 22, 2014

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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21 Comments on “September 2014 Sales: $85K Viper Sells Like It’s March 2008...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    FCA lesson learned: When even Hertz won’t take our cars, cut the price by 15%.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Can’t comment on if the car is good. But I recently went to a Dodge/Chrysler dealer to look at a Promaster cargo van. And in the shady showroom was a viper. The atmosphere was much worse then next door Mazda dealer (same dealer) and the sales guy was clueless and had a pack of cigarettes in his shirt – classic. Really felt like one of the Kia etc. Subprime loan dealers.
    And I thought, are they really selling luxury cars here? I’m not a snob and ratht pay less than to be in a fancy dealership. But this was a bit much for $85K car.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Is the Viper buyer really a “luxury” buyer?

      BTW, are they bringing back the Viper roadster? That’s what would get me in the showroom. Well, that and a lotto win.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I’m spending $85k on a car, the salesman should be wearing a suit.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Meh, he could be wearing bball shorts and a t-shirt, as long as he keeps the BS to a minimum and gets me out hooning the car ASAP. Because I’d probably be wearing bball shorts and a t-shirt, which is all I ever wear on the weekends if I can help it.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Everyone loves a bargain.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Again I say Redline 426 Hemi option please, and drop the price accordingly. Still I’m glad its not going away.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Alfa can shove the 4 banger 4C up their own a$$.

    If I was shopping this segment, I’d take the Viper @ 80k over a 4C @ 65k all day, every day.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      You don’t like sub 2.0L turbo 4 bangers pushing out 22 psi of boost? Especially made with legendary Alfa quality?

      Let’s check on the 400K unit sales target for 2018….

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There are three things I respect about the 4C, and these include the dramatic measures Alfa took to reduce its weight (which necessarily involved use of a carbon fiber tub), the consequential acceleration (based on power to weight ratio), and (likely) handling*.

        (I can’t comment on handling since I’ve yet to drive it, but would be surprised if it were less than excellent.)

        I’m either lukewarm on its other attributes (styling is not elegant but fussy) or find them less than good (cheap interior, hand-grenade boost, likely to be horrendous reliability).

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          My issue with the 4C is that Fiat spent all this effort and money to replicate the Elise, but didn’t improve on it, despite the advantage of 20 years of improving technology.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Damn, I thought you said $8,500. I hope I can get my deposit back.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Vipers are always a treat to see on the roads. It’s a good deal at $85k, and that comes from someone who can’t even afford one.

  • avatar
    AMDBMan

    Well then. Sucks for the used car dealership up the street from my office that has a 2013 MY, 85-mile example listed on their lot for $92k! Hopefully it’s there on consignment!!

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I’d take a 4C in a heartbeat over this car, but we all know these are not cars buyers cross shop. Let’s be honest, the price cut is just controlling the bleeding. These are selling so poorly, they haven’t even been in production since July of 14. You can express how significant the sales increase on this car is, but the bottom line is Dodge sold a total of 546 of these through September of 2014. We are talking small numbers and therefore % increases (or decreases) become much less significant. Further, they (at least through Sep #’s) haven’t surpassed 2013 sales figures. Yes, they will likely surpass that, but it further shows that in actual numbers, this is a small bump. Personally, the right price point for this car is likely around $60-65k. The same range as the entry Corvette. (yes I realize it is not the exact same price point)

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The Viper is a league above the performance of the standard ‘Vette, it’s in line with the Z06. Not coincidentally, the Viper price cut occurred about the same time GM announced the price of the new Z06 will start at $79k.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe now it can outsell the ELR.

  • avatar
    theupperonepercent

    I’ve heard it argues that the Viper can’t compete with the Corvette. Thing is, it probably can’t, nor should it. The main idea of S.R.T. is to give the consumer inexpensive, technologically competitive performance cars practical for the whole family.

    The Viper SRT isn’t inexpensive and as impractical as a Corvette.

    If they’d make the Viper bigger, it would sell better. The vast majority of S.R.T. buyers can’t fit in it. Have you seen how big these people are???

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I love the Viper and it would most likely be my choice in it’s price range. I wonder how many people commenting have ever sat in let alone driven one?

    The car definitely isn’t for everyone but if you enjoy s visceral experience the Viper delivers.

    I do think the gen V was priced too high when initially released. I’m glad the price cut is bringing more buyers into showrooms.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      The haters are basing their opinions strictly on performance. What you don’t get with a Corvette are exclusivity and all-out style (this is all relative; a Corvette is hardly an “affordable” car). The Viper makes a statement that a Corvette Z06 can’t hope to match, nevermind the similar performance.

      This is the nature of luxury and exotic cars nowadays. It’s not the numbers and feature count; rather, it’s the craftsmanship and uncompromising design, engineering, material choices, etc.

      Case in point: GT-R vs. Audi R8 4.2. Same price point, but guess which one has less performance yet much more street cred?

  • avatar
    mags1110

    Man I wish I had more money, my first house 5 years ago was 91k….

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