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.



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  • 100 Comments
      El VatoLoco
      • 9 Months Ago
      Well what do you expect when you're selling the Viper at six figures? How about bringing it back down to under $90K and you'll see them sell again. The Viper is suppose to be a fast sports car that is cheap to buy, well for those that can afford it.
      DRO3000
      • 9 Months Ago
      Theres nothing exotic about a Viper, therefore you can't command exotic car money. The Viper should be under $100K
      cadetgray
      • 9 Months Ago
      They should have left it a Dodge halo car. Transforming SRT from a trim level into a brand with models that are essentially trim & equipment levels of Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep vehicles just doesn't make sense especially since it is an in-house creation. Even Hurst and Shelby made more sense than SRT as a independent auto brand. If they thought potential buyers were turned off by the original brand name, then it shows more a lack of confidence and a bigger pressing need. The money spent on branding SRT should have been devoted to addressing the issues that would improve a buyer's perception of the donor car...like assembly quality, material quality, or dealership training and improvements. SRT had the potential to cast a sporty high performance glow upon all the vehicles offered by the Chrysler brands much in the way AMG has done for Mercedes-Benz. The fact that a person would be purchasing their SRT Viper from a Dodge dealer makes differentiating the two only a reality in the marketing materials and in the mind of the Bozo who thought it up. Something tells me his or her grandparent was behind the even worse scheme of Sears selling a poorly-designed Kaiser compact car under the brand name of the department store's insurance company...Allstate...lol. At least at the time a good number of the stores had auto repair centers....they would need them. If it were GM I'd point the finger to one of the Proctor & Gamble brand managers who hasn't been fired yet. Or maybe there's still a Daimler loyalist in Auburn Hills whose last moment of brilliance was voting to eliminate Plymouth just on the eve of what would have been their most successful model (PT Cruiser) since the Voyager launch. But then this is a company that has a habit of damaging their brands more through poor decision making than by the wit of their competition....the launch of the original full-sized low-priced Dodge Dart to invade Plymouth price territory, the launch of Valiant as an independent marque, the launch of the Chrysler Newport at a DeSoto price point, badge engineering a Dodge Demon from a Duster and a Plymouth Scamp from a Swinger, and of course marketing the Neon as a Dodge and Plymouth. These are just a few of many more self-inflicted wounds by the folks in the corner office with the bonuses and stock options. Pity the worse price they might pay for such stupidity will be an early retirement or a severance paycheck, while the people on the factory floor will pay with their child's college education or maybe even by lost home.
      Cl Reply
      • 9 Months Ago
      I don't agree with the guys calling for an automatic transmission. Sure SRT could offer one, but that's not what the Viper is about. The Vipers biggest problem is that it's overpriced for what it is. I get the fact that this is a limitied production hand built car (I use the term hand built very loosely here). But let's break it down: 1. The engine is basically the same engine that's been in Vipers since the 2003 model. In 2008 it got a power boost to 600hp. The engine also was a beautiful piece of machinery. Now we have a plastic covered engine bay! A very poor decision on the part of the SRT team. One last comment, this basic engine was sold in the 2004-2006 Ram SRT-10. That vehicle cost about $50K. Nearly $100K less than the GTS model. 2. Yes the interior is much improved, but it's still full of cheap plastic. Ralph Gilles says the plastic rings around vents (made to look like aluminum) were used to "save weight", I say BS... They were used because they're cheap. You want to save weight use Carbon Fiber, in a $100k+ car. The dash and center console displays are basically the same as that used in a $20k Dart. SRT made a huge deal about the seats being made by the same company that makes Ferrari seats. Big deal!! Keep the Sabelt seats and lower the price of the Viper. 3. The Viper is supposed to be a power and performance benchmark. But it is outclassed and performed by so many other cars. To sell a $120-140K Viper without Carbon ceramic brakes is totally unacceptable. The brakes on all models of the Viper (except the T/A) are ill-equipped for this much power and performance. All Vipers should come standard with Carbon Ceramic brakes just like the ZR1 did in 2009! 4. Fit and finish problems have plagued the Viper. Seams are uneven and plastic parts/vents falling off the car during track runs makes one question the hand built workmanship of the car. Chrysler and Mr. Gilles can publically claim that everything is right on track, but again that's just more BS. One would expect a new model would generate above average sales during its first year. Averaging 1450 units per year over the past 20 years, I would say 591 units is a major failure. At the current pace 2014 will be even less. No one is expecting SRT to build 10,000 Vipers a year. No one expects SRT to sell as many Vipers as GM sells Corvettes. However I don't believe anyone at Chrysler that tells me they are happy with 591 Vipers in the first year of a newly designed model. The fix is pretty simple, get rid of the cheap plastic parts on the Viper and replace them with carbon fiber. Get rid of the atrocious brakes and replace them with Carbon ceramic Brembo brakes. Drop the price of the GTS to $100K, and the standard Viper to $85K. Then watch Viper sales increase to an acceptable levels, and Chrysler won't have to layoff 91 very skilled workers.
      trzjax
      • 9 Months Ago
      Awkward disproportional and dated design, manual-only, high price and made in America.
      ferps
      • 9 Months Ago
      The market for cars like this is very small. You have to absolutely love the styling, be able to afford it, be able to drive it, and not mind things like the noise, the gas mileage and any quality shortcomings.
      Scooter
      • 9 Months Ago
      It really comes off as an arrogant excuse for lower than expected popularity. The car simply costs too much as a base model. Sure C7 isn't as powerful but looks just as exotic and basic C7s can pad the sales of Z06. Viper stands alone as a very expensive American exotic sports car.
      Carlove215
      • 9 Months Ago
      Corvette is just Killing it price wise.
      Andre Neves
      • 9 Months Ago
      Well, when you take cars that originally gave you great performance that you would find in more expensive super cars and you move them up market and into their price bracket, they tend to lose their appeal. I've noticed this trend with many other cars. Just look at what it is priced at now compared to the original first and second generation Vipers. Granted since then we have had A bit of inflation, but not enough to justify such a big price jump. Serves them right.
      Bud
      • 9 Months Ago
      THE VIPER THAT NEVER WAS http://www.allpar.com/cars/viper/viper-project.html
        EB110Americana
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Bud
        Interesting read. Leno always likes to reminisce about the Chrysler of yesteryear, which was always the technical innovator with things like experimental turbine cars back to vehicles like the Airflow. This never-was Viper might be sacrilege in a traditional sense, but it is in keeping with the spirit of the original Viper and the instantly unique persona it debuted with by throwing out the rule book. Let's hope SRT still has some tricks left up its sleeves for their next dose of venom.
          Bud
          • 9 Months Ago
          @EB110Americana
          Last sentence - Don't hang your hat on it ! The SRT group are still products of the corporate system, and do not contain elite original thinkers, in any, way, shape, or form. They are purely enablers of the SRT managements poor understanding of the current and future market place. As you can see by my posts challenging the status quo, both directly in meetings within the belly of the beast and on blogs, the tyranny of the masses within the corporate structure supported by Dale Carnegigism and MBA wishy washy indoctrination. (often called democracy - re: Alexander de Tocqueville), where some muddled and middling vision fals off the table, which everyone can feel "comfortable" with. Feeling comfortable is not the objective - feeling "passionate, engaged, motivated" is. This "comfortable" is pusu and is in part so that blame can be shared when it fails. No one fought for what the Viper heritage was, and for what it was supposed to become. No one had the passion to execute with a clear objective and direction, despite all the rhetoric that was, and still is being distributed unofficially by ad-hoc statements or officially through the PR and Marketing disciplines. Afraid that is all gooble-de-gook, and I am sure that some believe within the group. They have to buy-in to the narrative to be able to sell the story. It is far better to reach and fail, than to not reach and still fail.
      SKINNYwithNOfood
      • 9 Months Ago
      I blame the design, it looks like the older models and does not look all new like the Corvette.
      MechE
      • 9 Months Ago
      Maybe they need to bring the Viper Show back!!
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