Since it hit the market with a bang, the SRT Viper has mainly soldiered on making nothing more than a whimper. Demand for the reborn, V10-powered rocket has struggled, although SRT boss Ralph Gilles remains committed to the slinky serpent, according to a report from Wards.
"The plant is booked solid. We actually have several hundred units outstanding we still have to build," Gilles told Wards. This despite Chrysler trimming production early in the Viper's life, missing its internally targeted on-sale date and having no shortage of competition from the cheaper and equally new Chevrolet Corvette.
The problem Chrysler and SRT are facing now is one of very particular customers, according to Gilles. "I think the mistake we're making is understanding the customer who spends $130,000 to $140,000 for a car. They want what they want - their color, their stripe, their package, their interior. And dealers trying to anticipate the market ended up creating a car that may not be the right car," he said. "I don't think our network understands the segment very well."
Despite this specificity on the part of owners, Gilles claims that sales remain strong heading into the slow winter months, with a majority of Chrysler's 443 Viper stores having inventory in stock. "Most of these vehicles are enjoying an incredibly wonderful life sitting in showrooms looking very sexy, and they've been sitting there since August," Gilles told Wards. "So it's not really all that bad. I'm not worried about the sales."