Last month we reported the “mysterious” reopening of the Conner-Avenue plant in Detroit, the plant where the Viper is produced. We say mysterious because it defied logic as to why, of all the plants Chrysler had shut down, they would choose to reopen the one for the feral gas-guzzling niche-market car, and because we secretly suspected it was some big PR bit to proudly herald the awakening of the symbolic Chrysler group through the resurrection of their flagship model–only to sell it at a later date.
Well, that still may be the case, because without any more information than we already lacked, Chrysler has confirmed the Viper is no longer for sale.
As we said, Chrysler has neglected to offer their reasons for retaining the nameplate (perhaps for good reason), but we can think of two: 1) In the chaos of the steep market decline of 2008, they wanted to liquidate every nonviable money-drain, and the Viper seemed the most likely candidate. But now, following the successful merger with Fiat, things are looking up again. 2) Despite interest from Saleen and Roush, only Devon Motor Works threw their hats into the ring for the angry Corvette nemesis, and Chrysler, amazingly retaining their pride, refused to undersell their pride and joy. That is, until a later date. But that, once again, remains to be seen.
Anyway, there’s an inconclusive press release waiting for you after the jump where Chrysler attempts to answer all of our questions with “Well, because. It’s the Viper! And FYI–we’ve sold 25,000 of them so far.”
Chrysler Group LLC announced today that production will continue for the legendary Dodge Viper SRT10.
Originally slated to cease production in December 2009, the Chrysler Group Connor Avenue Assembly Plant — the exclusive home of Dodge Viper production since 1995 — will continue to build the V-10 powered sports car. Chrysler Group is no longer pursuing a sale of the Viper business assets.
“The Dodge Viper has successfully captured the hearts and imagination of performance enthusiasts around the globe,” said Mike Accavitti, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dodge Brand. “We’re extremely proud that the ultimate American-built sports car with its world-class performance will live on as the iconic image leader for the Dodge brand. ”
Introduced as a concept car in 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Dodge Viper was designed and engineered to test public reaction to the concept of a back-to-basics, high-performance, limited production sports car.
The reaction was so overwhelming that customer orders began to flow in even before the auto show was over. Chrysler Corporation immediately decided to determine the production feasibility on transforming the crowd-pleasing Dodge Viper show car into a limited-production sports car in no more than three years.
In May 1990, after months of intensive study and testing, Chrysler Corporation announced that the Dodge Viper, powered by an aluminum V-10 was a “go.”
Dodge Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Viper V-10 engine production transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Avenue Assembly in May 2001. In 2008, Dodge introduced the all-new, fourth generation Dodge Viper SRT10. With more horsepower, more torque and more than 30 exterior and interior color combinations, the latest Viper gives enthusiasts the performance they expect on the track and off, with more factory customization options than before.
For 2009, the Dodge Viper SRT10 offers outrageous power, with an 8.4-liter, 600-horsepower (450 kW) V-10 engine contributing to blistering acceleration (0-60 mph in less than four seconds, 0-100-0 mph in the low 12-second range), setting an American sports car benchmark.
To date, more than 25,000 Dodge Vipers have been built.
SOURCE: Chrysler via Autoblog