• Jun 5, 2009
In a letter from California Congressman Darrell Issa to Chrysler's Bob Nardelli, the Auburn Hills executive is charged with failing to disclose information regarding the sale of the Dodge Viper line.

According to the letter obtained by Autoblog from a source close to the situation, the Republican congressman cites Nardelli's explanation as part of the automaker's bankruptcy proceeding that there was "a lack of 'purchaser interest in response to the offering of Chrysler's Connor Avenue Viper manufacturing plant for $10 million." And yet, the letter states, "The Committee has conducted interviews and reviewed materials that clearly show there was in fact one purchaser willing to pay $35 million to purchase the Viper line."

The communication indicates that discussions were held as early as February between Chrysler's emissaries and Joseph Moch Sr. and Joseph Moch Jr. to buy all of the company's Viper-related assets. Further, an oral agreement was reportedly reached in April, with an acquisition agreement drafted later that month for $35 million – substantially more than the $10 million Chrysler was reportedly seeking for the Connor Avenue plant.

Despite the offer from Moch and apparent interest from other companies, the letter notes that Chrysler only reported a single bid for its Viper business to the bankruptcy court's Judge Arthur Gonzalez – the much smaller $5.5 million offer from Devon Motor Works reported last week. In the letter, Congressman Issa warns Nardelli:
"Failure to make this disclosure may have been illegal if you knowingly made false statements in response to questions under oath."
Perhaps the central question is: Why would Nardelli and Co. fail to disclose the Moch offer? Issa's letter offers a theory:
As you know, the Fiat group includes Ferrari, a Viper competitor in the sports car market. If it is the case that Fiat used its "hard-fought" superior bargaining position to establish as a condition of the merger a requirement that Chrysler allow the Viper brand to disappear in order to reduce competition for Ferrari, this too must be presented to the court.
Issa goes on to urge Nardelli to "disclose all legiimate offers for Viper to the court at the hearing," (which is slated to occur today, June 5) as well as "all records and communications between Chrysler and its agents with Joseph Moch Sr., Joseph Moch Jr., and their legal representatives."

So... did Nardelli and Chrysler really fail to disclose more lucrative offers for the Viper – possibly because of pressure from new parent Fiat? Stay tuned.


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  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The best thing I've ever heard about Viper quality/technology was 'Never be to clever to have fun'. A Viper is balls to the wall driving, seat of the pants thrill. Just how a car should be.

      I am getting less and less frustrated by the horrible hypocrisy of government these days. When the complete puzzle is put together and this country is 100% Fascist, I'm going to sit quietly in my detention cell under punishment of the Patriot Act for being an 'extremist' and whisper quietly to myself, 'I told you so'.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't this typical Government practices. Winning bid goes to largest campaign contributer, not highest bidder.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Retard" is a naughty word?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can see what you're saying, but from the article this was NOT a government made decision. Chrysler was hiding this information from the government to appease Fiat and nothing more. If I were the government I'd be super pissed off knowing that they opted not to take an extra 25million as their company failed and the asked for my help for dubious reasons.

        On an unrelated note I'm so happy to see Ford didn't take the government's money. Right on to them for slogging through the mess.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm going to miss that poisonous snake. I don't really like the US car( only Muscle) but Viper always grow on me. Viper is way better than Vette, GM should buy this one and kills the Vette.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Corvette really wasn't spoken in the same breath as a Ferrari until the latest ZR1 came along.

      Who knows, maybe the next generation Viper could have made a similar leap in terms of drivability and overall refinement.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You should crawl back under the rock you live under if you are serious about that statement.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Who knows" ???

        I do - the next gen Viper isn't even in the works...so I think it is safe to say that the next Viper(ware) would not have been more refined nor drivable...


        And dWaltr, why the snooty comments to Jimmy ? Let's be polite and courteous.

        Besides, under his rock is no doubt more spacious than your "Command Center" in your mother's trailer - but then again, you're only 42, plenty of time to move out and be on your own...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Coolio: Yeah, I knew there wasn't a next gen Viper in the works. I was really speaking in terms of the Viper's potential if given a chance to carry on. We're all well aware that's not going to happen in the near future.

        Sure, some independent company may come along, buy the rights and continue the Viper's development..but that won't nearly be the same as the money and effort GM put behind the creation of the ZR1. It's a shame really.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Neither here nor there....

      I'm not surprised Issa said Ferrari. "Maserati" might have reminded people of when he and his brother stole one when he was a kid. A nice red one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      boring day int he news.

      price check on who the fukk cares lmao.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Clearly you do, since you took the time to click this thread and comment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You know, how to these idiot CEO's get jobs???? Seriously, Nardelli ran Home Depot into the ground, they're still trying to dig themselves out of the mess he created. How does someone with such a poor resume keep getting a job???
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nardelli is the poster child for what is wrong with corporate America today. No accountability at the top of the organization. I wonder which company he is going to f- up next?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me. What would surprise me is that Ferrari actually considered the Viper a threat. Don't get me wrong I am not trying to knock the Viper. I would love to have one. But there is still a significant difference between a Ferrari and a Viper. In my opinion they represent two different ends of the super car market. The Viper being brutal, dangerous, raw; the Ferrari more refined, elegant, precise. Just my opinion. Still, either way I think it would be a shame to see the Viper vanish.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Holy S**T ! wow its like a soap opera with these bankruptcies lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      BTW Viper is dead right?

      I think the money that could have been made from Viper should be taken out of Bob's hide... literally as well as his descendants.

      Kidney sale anyone...
      • 5 Years Ago
      But wait a minute.

      Was Chrysler's asking price known beforehand? If so then why would someone offer 35 million when Chrysler was only asking 10 million? Ok, so maybe they wanted to be sure they were not outbid but that is quite the aggressive offer I think.

      Isn't it possible Chrysler just didn't take such a high offer seriously? Or perhaps the party had second thoughts when they realized that their 35m bid assumed things about the assets involved that were not true (i.e. the assets were not worth what they had thought).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chrysler needed to ignore any high bids; otherwise they'd have had a problem going into the bankruptcy court with the argument that Chrysler has no liquidation value.

        I'm surprised this news is coming out this quickly; not only that, I'd bet there are more stories like this from Chrysler's feeble "Look, Nobody Wants To Buy Us So We Have No Value" dog-and-pony show.
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