• Aug 27, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the Dodge Viper ACR

The Dodge Viper has been Chrysler's halo car since it was introduced back in 1992, but times are tough. Faced with the fact that it might not be able to continue making the brutish sports car, the Auburn Hills-based automaker is reportedly considering doing something that's never been done before by a domestic automaker (as for as we know): selling the Viper's future to a third party. Automotive News quotes Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli saying, "We have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities for Viper." Nardelli claims that whatever happens, his company will work to make sure the best interests of Viper fanboys are served and that Chrysler would continue to offer "operational and financial" support for the car if a transaction takes place. We're honestly a little stunned that Chrysler would consider such a drastic action, though if it means the Viper won't be sacrificed at the altar of economic woes, we're all for it. On the other hand, how does one separate Dodge from the Viper? Can you imagine Ford selling the Mustang to ROUSH or GM selling the Corvette to Lingenfelter? Chrysler has not identified any of the Viper's suitors, so rather than a familiar tuning house, it could also be a conglomerate of investors or another automaker. Is a Viper sold by another brand still a Viper?


[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      comparing a viper spinoff with chevy/corvette or ford/mustang is ludicrous. dodge sells 1000 vipers per year. ford probably sells that many mustangs in less than a week. viper is a boutique car, but from a major manufacturer. so i think it'd be fine as a boutique car from a boutique manufacturer.

      how are cafe numbers calculated? do they take an average of the mileage for each car in the product mix, or do they weigh it based on the sales volume of each model? doesn't make sense to equally weigh a viper and a caliber, when the caliber outsells the viper by 100x.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know what's more insane...the fact that they are even rumors that this is being discussed, the fact that this might be Bob Nardelli showing his true pirate colors, or that more than one person (aside from the people joking, obviously) are suggesting Toyota OR Hennessey should take up the reigns for the snake. I think the Viper NEEDS to exist in Chrysler's stables. if it didn't, you might as well ax any notions of performance from any of their cars. I think Nardelli needs to take his hands out of the slash-n-cut cookie jar he loves so much, and let Jim Press meet with Shelby and some SRT engineers, and prepare the monstrous serpent for a complete overhaul. keep the bean-counters away, and just go for it. Lose the "old camaro-esque" hood details, new chassis, maybe graft 2 more cylinders onto the hemi (Because it just won't be the same snake without 10-cylinders) and let the Chrysler design and engineering teams have their way. They can do it, I know they can, and the 7:22 on the 'ring with the ACR is a testament to that.

      My only requirement is to get the price per unit in around if not slightly less than where it stands now. Oh, and ixnay on the upcomters, eh?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know what's more insane...the fact that they are even rumors that this is being discussed, the fact that this might be Bob Nardelli showing his true pirate colors, or that more than one person (aside from the people joking, obviously) are suggesting Toyota OR Hennessey should take up the reigns for the snake. I think the Viper NEEDS to exist in Chrysler's stables. if it didn't, you might as well ax any notions of performance from any of their cars. I think Nardelli needs to take his hands out of the slash-n-cut cookie jar he loves so much, and let Jim Press meet with Shelby and some SRT engineers, and prepare the monstrous serpent for a complete overhaul. keep the bean-counters away, and just go for it. Lose the "old camaro-esque" hood details, new chassis, maybe graft 2 more cylinders onto the hemi (Because it just won't be the same snake without 10-cylinders) and let the Chrysler design and engineering teams have their way. They can do it, I know they can, and the 7:22 on the 'ring with the ACR is a testament to that.

      My only requirement is to get the price per unit in around if not slightly less than where it stands now. Oh, and ixnay on the upcomters, eh?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The new Toyota Viper !
        • 6 Years Ago
        LOL... At least they wont have to fake it beating all the cars in the Fast and the Furious 5...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can only see this staying in America ...or at least I hope ...and the only company I can see taking this is Shelby ..as he was involved in its creation
        • 6 Years Ago
        azzo45

        WRONG....

        taken from http://auto.howstuffworks.com/dodge-viper-history.htm

        Lutz actually came to Shelby for help...

        Using the brash Cobra as a touchstone brought to the forefront another irreplaceable influence: Carroll Shelby. Shelby had hooked up with Chrysler as a "performance consultant" in 1982, and by 1986, Shelby Automobiles Inc. was turning out hot, limited-edition Dodges. Shelby said that at the time Lutz approached him, he was in fact building a sports car of his own and trying to interest Chrysler in it. But along came Lutz and Castaing. Shelby recalled Lutz's proposal: "'Why don't we build a sports car, something like the old 427 Cobra, only let's build a 1990s version of it -- and what did I think of the idea?' We sat down about 30 minutes and conceptualized the car. He wanted to do what I'd been trying to get done around the company for nine years. In 30 minutes we had the concept . . . . And we ended up with the Viper, where it might have been years before we would have gotten management to agree to build what I was building."

        Around that time Shelby was awaiting a heart transplant and therefore didn't have a direct hand in Viper's engineering or design. But the fathers of the Viper regard him as the "conscience" of the car, a voice that kept it true to the ethic of power and simplicity.
        • 6 Years Ago
        WRONG! Shelby had nothing to do with the Viper... He was off pimping his Olds powered Shelby when the Viper launched.

        Shelby goes where the $$$ is (ask the Shelby America Club... which he tried to sue) & Ford Mo Co is paying him very nicely for performance Mustangs... He's not F-ing that deal up, to pop out a few hundred Vipers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sad.
      As Chrysler's last revitalization/resurgence coincided with the release of the first Viper.
      The symbolism seems to say that the current owners are interested in selling off things instead of cultivating and/or improving them.
      I hope Chrysler makes it.
      They need to rely on bold confident design now to sell cars (as they can't sell them on tech or quality) like the 300 was in it's day or they're gone.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Could you imagine the unfiltered horror of a Chinese-built Viper?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another innovative business idea from Chrysler. I think it's a great idea, though I would hope they continue to provide the engine and possibly a warranty with it. There is so much vaporware out there and this is a practical project just waiting to be produced. I think the DeTomaso/Ford relationship mentioned earlier is perfect; Dodge power available in select Dodge dealerships. I'll step out on a limb and predict SMS will pick up this project.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think the link to Dodge is anywhere as formidable as Corvette/Chevrolet or Mustang/Ford. Those cars have been in production for decades. The Viper is only a 16 y/o car.

      Sadly Chrysler is not in a position to be able to afford the continued production of the Viper. Their options are very limited. Kill the car and have it enter the halls of car history to be remembered like the Ford GT; or sell it off and provide minimal input for minimal profit.

      Tough choice and I don't envy the crew that needs to make the decision.
      o-nics
      • 6 Years Ago
      At least they aren't just planning on killing it. Way too many companies are willing to kill an icon or legend just to save a buck these days. I just hope they dont whore the Viper out to the higest bidder but instead find a proper buyer(s) who will continue the brand in the right way.

      (Fingers-crossed)
        • 6 Years Ago
        @o-nics
        'Way too many companies are willing to kill an icon or legend just to save a buck these days.'

        But making a buck is why they are in business. They don't build cars to provide a non profit public service.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a wise decision for Chrysler. The original plan to dump the beast really sucks. Perhaps some loyal fans have banded together to save the breed.

      If this is the case, then a cash injection couldn't be more timely and Chrysler/Dodge could still handle the sales points.

      "Chrysler's sales of the Viper are up 111 percent through July to 682 vehicles over 323 vehicles in the first seven months of 2007 -- but it is a tiny fraction of the company's total sales. A company spokesman noted Chrysler had sold more than 150,000 Dodge Ram pickups during the same period.

      "Viper is an integral part of this Company's heritage. While this is a strategic review, 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.

      The V-10 Viper is hand-built in a low-volume, modular process at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. The vehicle was introduced as a concept vehicle at the 1989 Detroit auto show. It was first available as a production vehicle in the 1992 model year. Chrysler sold its 25,000th Viper in March -- an SRT10 presented by Nardelli to NASCAR driver Kurt Busch at the plant.

      The Dodge Viper gets 16 miles to the gallon has a zero-to-60 time of 3.5 seconds."

      http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080827/AUTO01/808270445/1148
      • 6 Years Ago
      viper sold to toyota = mating a big and slow non-venomous anaconda to a viper
      introducing the new toyota viper with a toyota century V12 hybrid engine, 2 standard air bags + 16 optional air bags that's bundled into sunroof, nav/sat, leather seats. tons of sound deadener, boat like handling, with 7 speed auto tranny.
      and from then on, it will be known as toyota corn snake!~
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