The SRT Viper is taking an extended production break later this spring while the factory copes with low demand and gears up for the 2015 model year. Chrysler will idle the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant from April 14 to June 23, and 91 employees there will be laid off during that time. Sales have been slow so far this year, with just 91 Vipers sold in the first two months of 2014 (591 were sold all last year), according to The Detroit News.
According to Chrysler, this is all part of the plan for the Viper. The automaker says that the Connor Avenue factory was meant to fluctuate in this way because it only builds one vehicle, and the sports coupe was never meant to be a mass-production vehicle. The company claims that idling the plant will allow it to manage showroom inventories. "Customer and dealer demand for the SRT Viper continues at expected levels," said Chrysler spokesperson Dianna Gutierrez to The Detroit News. SRT hasn't revealed what changes are planned for the 2015 model.
This isn't the first time we've heard of the Viper's weak demand. As of October 2013, SRT had hoped to build around 2,000 examples, but only about 1,000 had been made. At that point, officials then revealed production would likely be scaled back. We've contacted the Chrysler for further information, and we'll update this post if and when we hear back.
UPDATE: Chrysler has passed along this official statement regarding the plant idling:
Chrysler Group confirms that its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant will be down, beginning the week of April 14. Production will resume the week of June 23. Ninety-one UAW-represented employees will be laid off during this time.
The SRT Viper is a hand-crafted American exotic car that is designed for a specific consumer that values performance, style and exclusivity. It has never been intended to be a mass-production vehicle as less than 29,000 vehicles have been produced in the past 20 years. The ability to increase and decrease production at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant allows the company to continue to meet our customers' desire to keep these special cars exclusive. We will be able to take advantage of this transition to manage dealer inventories.