• Jul 10, 2009
2008 Dodge Viper ACR - Click above for a high-res image gallery

The future of the Dodge Viper has been in question since the summer of 2008, when it was reported Chrysler was considering selling the rights to their halo sports car instead of killing it all together. Initially, there seemed to be plenty of interested parties, including Roush and Saleen, but the dwindling economy led to just one lowball offer from Michigan-based Devon Motor Works. Even after the Viper's production facility re-opened last month, it was still assumed that the 600 horsepower sports car would up for grabs. Not anymore.

Today, Chrysler announced that the Viper program is no longer for sale and that it will be continued to be produced past the end of the year at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant. There was no mention as to why the decision was made or what will happen beyond 2010, but for now, the Viper is safe. The official press release doesn't offer much information, but you check it out after the jump, along with a video from Chrysler discussing the decision and giving brief history of the Viper.



Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.



PRESS RELEASE:

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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very good move by Chrysler. Either keep building it or discontinue it until better times come.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This may be more of a "branding" decision than anything else.

        I have no idea whether the Viper was a moneymaker for Chrysler or not. Certainly, most of the tech's old enough that it can't be costing them THAT much to make, and it brings a handsome margin.

        I'm guessing the final push is that this presents very visceral evidence to Dodge's brand loyalists that the company isn't really changing THAT much, even if the Fiat 500 is going to be wedged on to the showroom floor as well.

        Not saying it's a bad idea, or that the good guys didn't win here, but the suits have their reasons for making these decisions...
        • 5 Years Ago
        they will keep building it because the investment has already been made by old/bad/dead chrysler. now its a money maker
        • 5 Years Ago
        As long as they can make a profit on it I hope they keep building it. When the economy recovers maybe there will be enough business to produce a new generation. I'm glad they're not selling it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Totally disagree... It's time for Crysler to cut the losses and get on with business. They have too many brands that are not offering any added value to the company and do not present any value propositions. Sure they have vested technology, capital, yada yada yada, but end of the day, they are a company that is floating on tax dollars. Time to restructure and get rid of the dead wood (ex. dodge). Look at Ford for example, should they have sold Jag, LR, most of their Mazda ownership, AM, and Volvo? By your same priciples no... But it makes sense for business and Ford is benefiting by not being the free money pirates that GM and Crysler are.

        -M.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe the Fiat/Chrys CEO really saw that the Viper could still be further refined for future production versions. And if revisions are properly handled, the Fiat brand may be able to capitalize on the platform for either a European offering or a Fiat offering in Europe.

        It would be nice to see some sort of development project re-materialize b/t Chrysler and M-B to maybe use a version of the SLR platform to make the next Viper.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This one is pretty simple. Putting it up for sale helped make it look like they were serious about restructuring and helped make the bean counters at Cerberus happy. Now that their new owners happen to be the same company who has brands like Ferrari in house why not hang onto the Viper? The current model is pretty fresh and likely saw an uptick in sales. When it comes time to update it again they can count on some help from their corporate brothers in Italy.

        Hopefully this marks the end of the hack and slash sales at the Detroit 3. Ford needs to keep Volvo and if things don't work out with Magna the new GM should just keep Opel and squeeze the German government for some help.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If a Ferrari or a ZR-1 are scalpels then a Viper is a machete and that's a good thing. It seems so many cars rely heavily on electro nannies (yes, some can be shut off) but the Viper is still a mostly analog drive. No Playstaion paddles and gasp! Three pedals!

      All it needs is a interior upgrade and maybe a couple mechanical upgrades because the exterior still looks great.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Keep the crap interior. That's part of what makes it fun. The Viper is a simple and primitive machine, it the automotive equivalent of playing with matches when your a kid. Giving it a well designed, comfortable interior ruins the experience.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GREAT!

      Someone at the New Chrysler has brains.

      Great idea about building the Cooperhead. Nice sports car to add to the Dodge Division.

      Put in the new 3.5 Litre V6t and off we go.

      There are more competitors coming and now the "New GM" has cancelled its Pontiac/Saturn convertibles, there will be more to sell to the public.

      I hope someone in the "New Chrysler will see this as well.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I love the Viper and I hope it continues to be sold for a long time. It's basically the Yin to the Corvettes Yang. Opposite's to a point, but yet, they bring out the best in each other. It would be a shame to see either of them relegated to the depths of history.

      I do agree though, that maybe the Viper needs a slight refreshing to keep it truly competitive. For starters, maybe a chassis that is more easily mass produced, allowing them to spit out more than ~1000 cars a year. This would allow them the possibility of a less expensive version with a slightly smaller engine (say, one or both of the Hemi twins). Not really a car that's any less raw, but a car that has a less expensive option and can be sold in greater numbers. I would think this is necessary for the survival of the car, as it's presently too much of a niche vehicle. With the low sales numbers it's difficult to justify the resources that go into keeping it running, especially when you've got bean counters scrutinizing every dollar.

      Basically, when the Viper came out it was hailed as a modern 427 Cobra. I think, maybe, it's time to bring out a modern 289 Cobra.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll take heat for this, but why not take the Viper to the next level (lighter, more power, more insane), and intro a V8 Corvette killer ($50-60k)? Big V8, 6-speed manual, RWD, light, no BS - but more affordable and more livable.

      I seriously doubt Viper will last for more than another 5 years unless they have something that sells more units to complement the real deal. The Viper is awesome, but there needs to be something with some volume to compete with the base Vette.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmmm, the idea would help Dodge and Chrysler in this economy, but lets go over the cold hard facts:

        1) The Z06 is a base small-block V8 that was either losing slightly or beating the STR10, an extra 2 cylinder Viper.
        2)The ACR was stripped of most everyday driving utensils and equipment, which made it lighter, and able to set a record lap at Nurburgring. But what if GM did that with the ZR1, or even the Z06?
        3)How would you think, if a V10 can't stop a base V8 Corvette small block most of the time, that a Viper V8 could beat the Corvette, unless some crazy super-mods were applied?
        4)Yes, the ZR1 is more powerful, but due to its custom everything, it's price is a bit high, although it is dubbed the *Ultimate Corvette* I think Gm will understand to lower the price due to the economy, yet, still feeding the true *Legendary* beast that is the Corvette, making it even more menacing towards the Viper.

        Although me personally, I am glad to see the continuation of the Vipers, because as you can see I am a Corvette fanatic, I truly love the Dodge Viper, and seeing it go would've been a true nightmare. Without the Viper, really no other true American Sports Car could rival the Corvette.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Been in the works before. There was a concept car called the Copperhead, never saw production. Google it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yup! That would be the idea. Viper junior without being a Viper turd.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The current Viper is a complete joke. (I'm sure I will get negative hits for this remark).

        I like the idea of making it a more nimble and legitimate challenger to the Corvette instead of this unsightly heavy goofy looking P.O.S. that it currently is.

        • 5 Years Ago
        They tried. The engineers presented to (Daimler) management the concept of an aluminum framed entry level v8 vehicle called the FirePower that would share the fundamentals with the next generation Viper.

        The FirePower would have defrayed the costs of the underpinnings of the next generation Viper, which had a general concept of targeting 1000 HP and less than 3000 lb.

        Management was presented with the business case of doing either the Challenger or the FirePower, but not both.

        When they chose Challenger, it was pretty much game over for the Viper's next gen platform.

        Even more radical Viper proposals were put forth due to the heat coming from the Z06 and ZR1, but at that point DCX was losing so much money that none of those projects got off the ground.
      • 5 Years Ago
      very happy about the news,Dodge keep is image intact.the ACR time to the RING,opens eyes of the World.agin very HAPPY.GO DODGE GO
      • 5 Years Ago
      That bad and red-striped ACR scares me. I want my mommy.

      The ZR1 is raw and refined, while Vipers have never been refined and I dig that! I will take that exact one in the gallery and if you would drop ship it to Heffner for a twin turbo kit that would be great. I will be along next week to pick it up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There are four generations...

      Gen I--92-97' the early RT/10's, 400HP, three colors Black, Red and Yellow, Green and a few others later introduced. In 97' a few handful of blue and white RT/10's where built.
      Gen II--96-02', RT/10's and GTS coupes, 450HP, few special edt., 99-02' ABS, naca duct on the hood, A/C, very rare red GTS w/ gold rims produced
      Gen III--03-06' SRT10's, late SRT Coupe, 500HP, completely new, Comp Coupe race model
      NO 07MY
      Gen IV--08-current, 600HP, coupe convert, ACR re-introduced

      To say the new car is a joke is a understatement depending how you mean it. From a track stand point the new car is above and beyond anything the Gen I/II Vipers put out. Design wise....eh well most of us probably always prefer the well sculpted lines of the Gen I/II but then again...that hood is not cheap. LOL
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is as it should be. The Viper is the heart and soul of Dodge - you don't cut that out.
      Good for them to be bullish. And to heck with CAFE!
      • 5 Years Ago
      .....and thank you for suggesting it to them now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think an SRT8 woulod be fine if they could find a way for the V8 to be as fast or faster then the V10 (Turbo or SC?).
      otherwise i believe it would cause the viper to fall flat on its face.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A direct injected smaller V10 Hemi would kick major ass.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Totally disagree... It's time for Crysler to cut the losses and get on with business. They have too many brands that are not offering any added value to the company and do not present any value propositions. Sure they have vested technology, capital, yada yada yada, but end of the day, they are a company that is floating on tax dollars. Time to restructure and get rid of the dead wood (ex. dodge). Look at Ford for example, should they have sold Jag, LR, most of their Mazda ownership, AM, and Volvo? By your same priciples no... But it makes sense for business and Ford is benefiting by not being the free money pirates that GM and Crysler are.

      -M.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Lol. Ford should have never bought those brands in the FIRST PLACE, then they would not have needed to sell them.
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