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I guess they couldnt take being one-upped by the ZR1, so its "screw you guys, I'm going home..."


Chrysler considers selling the Dodge Viper

Brad Wernle
Automotive News
August 27, 2008 - 10:13 am ET

DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC has put its hand-built Dodge Viper sports car business on the block.

The automaker announced today that it was undertaking a "strategic review" of the Viper business and stressed in a statement that it has not decided whether to sell the Viper.

Chrysler has retained Lazard Ltd., a New York financial advisory firm, to assist in the strategic review. Chrysler has set no timetable.

"We have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities for Viper," Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said in a release.

Todd Goyer, a Chrysler spokesman, declined to identify any potential buyers.

Dodge introduced the Viper at the 1989 Detroit auto show and started building it in 1992. Chrysler has made about 25,000 Vipers since.

Sales of the sports car peaked in 2003 at 2,103.

2009 production started

The 600-hp supercar is made at the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit, which employs 110 workers. The plant has just begun production of 2009 models. Goyer said the Viper business would continue as usual for dealers.

"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," Nardelli said.

With Cerberus Capital Management as its majority owner, Chrysler has been selling a number of assets. The automaker has sold its Tritec Motors engine plant in Brazil to Fiat Powertrain Technologies and its Pacifica Advance Design Center in Carlsbad, Calif., to Chrysler's former owner, Daimler AG.

Chrysler also has put two Detroit area office complexes on the market.

Dave Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said he was not surprised to hear Chrysler had put the Viper business on the block.

'Retreating to the core'

"It's not core, and I think everybody is retreating to the core business right now," Cole said. "There is a very high level of urgency to deal with this stuff."

Goyer said Chrysler's core concerns include "fuel efficiency, quality, small cars, minivans, trucks, crossovers and sedans."

Cole said the Viper business distracts resources from other, more essential jobs. Chrysler's Viper decision is similar to Ford's decision to sell Jaguar and Land Rover and General Motors' to put Hummer on the block.

"The Viper is very low-volume compared to the Corvette," Cole said. "It is a muscle car without much finesse. It's an engine with wheels. It's just not a sophisticated execution."

And Dodge dealers now have the Challenger muscle car, with a price less than half the Viper's $90,000-plus sticker.

Cole said the Viper could be attractive to an investor who wants some muscle-car cachet: "A lot of people can afford it -- Chinese companies, Indian companies, Middle Eastern companies -- somebody who has a lot of money that wants to create a halo for themselves. It's not a billion-dollar-type of asset."
 

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the low volume high cost viper has no place in the current chrysler lineup. the best thing that company can do is to simply discontinue it and stop the losses. at least the corvette range has some volume and a normal production process.

chrysler needs the modern equivalent of "The K-Car" to save its butt. products that are relevant to the current market and sell. "elective" stuff like the viper can only happen when the company is healthy.
 

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This is actually good news. I read somewhere that Dodge had plans to discontinue the Viper and no further updates would be made to this version. At least, if sold, the Viper legacy can continue.
 

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Maybe Lotus cars should buy them. Then they could sell everything from small/light true sports cars to big/torquey heavy race cars.
 

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Here's my suggestion.......

Buy Viper AND TVR. Combine the 2 companies. Similar design and perfromance are shared between the makes.

I'm available for management............:D
 

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the low volume high cost viper has no place in the current chrysler lineup. the best thing that company can do is to simply discontinue it and stop the losses. at least the corvette range has some volume and a normal production process.

chrysler needs the modern equivalent of "The K-Car" to save its butt. products that are relevant to the current market and sell. "elective" stuff like the viper can only happen when the company is healthy.
thats kind of flippant.
maybe they should stop making elises for the same reason.
hell, arent the koreans gonna buy lotus anyway cause lotus can barely keep afloat?
maybe lotus should build a k-car to offset its poor sales and slim profit margin.

no. lotus should continue because it offers the consumer something special and different, and viper should continue as well for the same reasons.
i guess it doesnt matter who owns what company, but will the product or the spirit suffer.
viper owners are very loyal to the brand and most viper owners own several dodge/chrysler products. there will be a lot of P-O'ed folks out there.
 

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check ferrarichat.
he drives a 360 now.
But I thought he was too young to drive. ;)

I agree with your views on the Viper as well. I was also thinking that most American brands would not be interested in the Viper. I doubt Chevy would want it since they offer the Corvette. Ford has the Mustang (although the Viper would be the high-end brother).

The other problem I noticed when I was shopping for Vipers in 2001 was that 99% of the people going into the Dodge dealership weren't looking for an $80+ car. Everyone wanted one and it was certainly showroom eye candy but it just left a lot of Vipers sitting in showrooms. I think after awhile, may dealers (at least in Phoenix) just stop carrying them. Also, I think Viper enthusiast also knew which dealerships (ie Woodhouse) to get their Viper's from.
 

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thats kind of flippant.
maybe they should stop making elises for the same reason.
hell, arent the koreans gonna buy lotus anyway cause lotus can barely keep afloat?
maybe lotus should build a k-car to offset its poor sales and slim profit margin.

no. lotus should continue because it offers the consumer something special and different, and viper should continue as well for the same reasons.
i guess it doesnt matter who owns what company, but will the product or the spirit suffer.
viper owners are very loyal to the brand and most viper owners own several dodge/chrysler products. there will be a lot of P-O'ed folks out there.
With all due respect, why is that flippant comment? That is exactly what Chrysler seems to be doing. Lotus' niche is cars like the Elise/Exige. Its business model is not low cost high volume like Chrysler's. The kcar has some negative connotations but is saved Chrysler's butt. Ford, GM and Chrysler have to drastically cut costs which means fewer vehicles on fewer platforms just like Chrysler did with the kcar in the 80s.

One could also argue that Lotus to a certain extent has adopted a k car approach at least in terms of basing all its current models on the same platform (Elise, Exige, Europa).
 
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