You've got to hand it to Dodge for having the gumption to put the original Viper into production in the first place. It was, after all, much more of an emotional decision than a practical one, and a move which saw the first production V10 engine placed in a road car – long before the advent of the Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi R8, Porsche Carrera GT or Lexus LFA, not to mention the other Ford, BMW and Volkswagen Group models that used such engines.
It's now been 22 years since the first Viper entered production and the Viper still rolls on several generations later, but we're sad to say that courageous decision has not always been met with overwhelming sales success. In fact parent Chrysler was forced to idle the Conner Avenue plant where the Viper is made back in April due to slow sales. And while production resumed again as planned on June 23, it apparently didn't do the trick.
As a result, Chrysler corporate communications chief Shawn Morgan revealed to Autoblog that the assembly line has been shut down again for another two weeks. The line was up and running for nearly two full work weeks from June 23 until the holiday weekend that started on Thursday, July 3. But instead of coming back online today as planned, it's been idled again for the weeks of July 7 and 14. That means it will be July 21, at the earliest, before the serpentine supercars start slithering down the assembly line at Conner Avenue again. Once it does, however, production is set to resume at the same pace it was before the shutdown.
The hiatus was originally undertaken to help Chrysler sell off its stockpiled inventory of unsold Vipers it had amassed as production outpaced sales. Reports pegged that number at 756 units, but Chrysler tells us that it does not disclose supply of individual models - only "on a company wide basis," according to Morgan. She did confirm to Autoblog, however, that despite the 91 workers who were originally projected to be laid off from the Conner Avenue plant, the final number of UAW-represented workers to be laid off has been reduced to 82. An unspecified number of hourly workers will also receive certain unemployment benefits as well.
Once production of the Viper - which will return as a Dodge product as the SRT brand is brought back into the fold - will resume, we hope it will be here to stay, and that the remaining workers will be able to get back to work with no further interruptions.