EXCLUSIVE: A Group of Investors Attempted to Buy Dodge Viper, Tooling, Assembly Facility From FCA
After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that 2017 would be the last model year for the Viper, I suggested a wealthy collector, or perhaps a group of Viper dealers, could conceivably keep the V10-powered supercar alive.
It turns out that suggestion wasn’t too far from the mark.
According to James Glickenhaus, the former movie director, actor and financial professional who owns a significant collection of rare and unique collectible cars, a group of well-heeled enthusiasts attempted to buy Viper from FCA several years ago, but the group decided against the move after due diligence.
During the due diligence process, the group of investors engaged Glickenhaus for advice on the deal.
“A private group wanted to buy Viper and approached FCA who were receptive. This private group asked me for advice and I gave it to them,” Glickenhaus told TTAC.
But it was all for naught.
“A deal was not reached. They did have the resources to do the deal but in the end decided not to (buy Viper and its facility). I did advise them not to do this deal but why they didn’t isn’t something I know,” said Glickenhaus.
A spokesperson for FCA, who contacted Viper brand management, stated “the company is not shopping the Viper to other manufacturers” at this point in time.
However, FCA would not offer any detail on past discussions.
“Like most automotive OEMs, FCA explores a wide variety of B2B opportunities on an ongoing basis. Such discussions are made and maintained in the highest confidence,” said the spokesperson.
Glickenhaus, while attending the Concours of America at St. John’s and the related auction by Sotheby’s RM, said that any prospective buyer would need to sell about three times the number of Vipers annually that Chrysler’s been selling lately just to break even.
FCA has sold about 650 Vipers a year since it returned to production for the 2013 model year. That would mean the V10-powered sportscar’s break even point is about 2,000 cars a year, a figure the Viper has only reached once in the past 15 years, in 2003.
Those figures likely explain why FCA wants to get out of the Viper business.
[Images: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars]
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Here's the thing. It doesn't matter. No one buys the damn things. I love just the idea of a Viper. But it doesn't make money. Never made money. Never will make money. I live 20 minutes from where they make them. And I have seen exactly 1 on the roads in the last 5 years. I saw one at a dealer. Marked down $30k. And it sat there for months. That's it.
The Viper is an anachronism , a car like that with all that power and a truck transmission is not going to sell. No available automatic so they eliminated 90% of their target market, somewhat forgivable back at the original launch but not now, when even Ferrari probably sell more slush boxes.