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.


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  • 97 Comments
      Garnner
      • 5 Months Ago
      I wonder if Chevy has sold more C6 ZR1s. To me that it the only car I would cross shop with a Viper (I guess a year ago that is) and that's based on a sub $50k car.
      Bill Burke
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm a Viper fan, but I believe that Chrysler may have to break a few eggs and upset a few owners in making the Viper viable in the long term. To begin, the retro "original Viper" inspired styling of the current Viper, although very attractive, may have been a mistake for expanding the market with those who expected more innovative, bold and fresh styling. On the performance side, folks expected a whole new chassis to push the Viper beyond it's current limitations with it's still dated platform. The new Corvette hit a home run in these areas and I'm sure more than a few sales were lost to the less expensive Chevy, It's time to break some eggs. The creation of two current Viper models was a step in the right direction, but what is needed ASAP is a far less costly Viper that uses Hemi V-8 power from the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and is available with an eight speed automatic transmission. Lighter, bolder and with enough styling differences from the high level V-10 Viper, it should keep the Viper viable in a competitive market. Sure, the well healed Viper nation will show some resistance to it's, so far, untouchable attributes, but the Viper they worship and have preserved in stone and by the way, can afford, is just not selling well enough to assure survival. Corvette is a Viper not, but a Viper that rivals Corvette in price and performance, with Ferrari influenced styling is an over due yes. Time to break some eggs Viper loyalists.
        11fiveoh
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Bill Burke
        Only issue with that is, the supercharged v8 will very likely outperform the v10.
      SCOTTM
      • 5 Months Ago
      This should have received the 725 HP motor that's California ARB 3-Star Ultra Low Emissions, EPA and EU RCD (CE) Certified and used in marine applications. It's been out on the market for over five years. Right now it utilizes the MV10 650, but has catalytic converters for automotive applications. Google: ILMOR MARINE engines MV10 725
      v6sonoma
      • 5 Months Ago
      The pending Corvette Z06 killed this before it's even arrived. Since the old corvette still beats it I think prospective owners got turned off. I feel like the Fiat people kinda screwed Viper over. It's too bad.
      Junkyard Willie
      • 5 Months Ago
      Drop a ZF trans in that bad boy.
      Ibn Faqir Al Comilla
      • 5 Months Ago
      drove the stingray and it is a masterpiece can only imagine what the z06 will be like to drive. Plus the vette looks way better than the viper if I were spending around a 100k I would buy the 2015 z06 not the viper even though I like the viper very much.
      yo
      • 5 Months Ago
      The new hellcat makes the viper seem unneeded. Why not bring that concept back.. Chrysler ME 4-12???
        SCOTTM
        • 5 Months Ago
        @yo
        Unneeded? Speak for your self. They are two totally difference takes on performance. The viper just needs a power boost (700+ hp) and maybe a core model for the traditional enthusiast. It's a great car, just not quite up to expectations in the performance realm.
          k_m94
          • 5 Months Ago
          @SCOTTM
          @cantera You seriously think a 3300lb Viper (or any sportscar, really) could easily lose 800-1000lb? Even the stripped out, $400k carbon fiber everything GTS-R racecar isn't 800lb lighter than the roadcar. Sure, a Viper that weighs as much as a Lotus Exige would be great, but it's as likely as a GTR weighing as much as a Miata.
          cantera.developments
          • 5 Months Ago
          @SCOTTM
          NO IT DOESN'T It needs to lose 800 - 1,000 lbs and as originally proposed a mechanical KERS system giving an extra 100 hp at launch for a 80lb weight increase. ...www.flybrid.co.uk.. It is not that hard really.
      • 5 Months Ago
      When people can buy a comparable performing Corvette with more fun features, like the track recorder, for much less $$ you just won't move a lot of Vipers. Had it continued under the Dodge brand when approved in 2010, it might have had a chance. Instead of leveraging that halo car for the Dodge brand with aggressive marketing, they put a designer in charge. Unlike Lutz, Bernhardt, and even Accavitti before him, Gilles seemed to revel in his rock star status rather than focus on the business of selling cars. Dodge's NASCAR program, the Chrysler Museum, Le Mans participation (France), and even the SRT brand itself all ceased to be under that leadership. The factory Viper Race program? How did the rookie Corvette model do at LeMans? How is it doing in the Tudor Series? It is winning while the Viper is either withdrawing or getting beat. When the new Viper lost to the OLD Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca, they embarrassed more than a few Viper owners. Gilles' comments after that only exacerbated that embarrassment. Who knows how much time and money they spent on the Viper TA ("Time Attack" - really?) to reclaim the track record from that OLD and discontinued Corvette - by 0.08 of a second. Will Dodge will attempt to revive the Viper with the new Hell Cat V8 (707 HP in the Challenger) and reducing the resulting price by 25%? (Many internet posts cite SRT/Gilles as saying it will not physically fit, though.) If they have already invested in the tooling to build a roadster then they will probably have to do something to make it work. Then they have to rebuild their relationship with the Viper owner community that has almost single-handedly supported that nameplate for over 20 years. Chevy has dedicated Corvette corrals at many of their races to win the loyalty of these influential buyers. SRT also killed that too for Viper owners under the last regime. No more were there Viper corrals at Factory Viper races like the GTS-R Days in 2000 - It became SRT corrals. It's time to revisit Marketing 101, evaluate the lack of success in the Motorsports program, and make the appropriate changes if there is any hope to continue the Viper under any brand.
        cantera.developments
        • 5 Months Ago
        Unfortunately I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. I was intimately involved in the discussions in January early 2010 about the new Viper with Ralph Gilles and his merry band of followers. Although RVG was I believe trying to become a brand executive, his first job was and should have been to look around in his new inherited organization and recognized who were the dead wood. I was trying to make him see that - and that is probably my failing, but as they say, you can lead a horse to water....Maybe RG is too loyal to some of his inherited folks ? or he just did not see the inabilities of some of his reports ? (One was actually good, but preferred to stay undercover and take the pay check). I don't know but in those meetings it was apparent to me within 5 minutes who and where those restrictions to him being successful were going to be. To his credit he ask me in a couple of times where I gave him my advice, but it was always in front of his inherited dead wood who got to him and steered him the wrong way - however he should have recognized that. I offered to meet off site, which in British terms meet down the pub, where I could have given him my unfiltered, unbiased, and it would have been brutal advice, but it would have saved his ass ! But he chose not too ? I mean one person who is contract there and is a friend of the RG family would just suck all the oxygen out of the room with his line of questioning....it was ridiculous. Another was an old engine guy who thought that his knowledge was superior to everyone else's, and when as just one suggestion that direct injection should be examined as a racing option "just rolled his eyes" as you might expect from a GM bean counter mentality running the engineering discussion. And he was supposed to be an engineer. ? ?Anyway RG is quite charismatic and articulate, but that is only one small part of what is required - critical thinking is also required and a solid understanding of all aspects of a program whether that is racing or production. I offered up the services of a Peter Elleray who designed the Bentley Speed 8. Peter is a prickly character but knows his racing cars and offered his services in a review of the then current Riley design for FREE - quite unbiased, quite neutral, but was to be honest his offer was disrespectfully dismissed . It was flatly refused, when they needed all the help they could get. All because RG was happy with the Bon Homme in the team, well Bon Homme is fine but I have been on many a race team where everyone respected each other, but that electric tension within the team is also invigorating of frictional characters, and there is no more fun to be had that to be winning on the track and in production. I could go on and on, about such individuals as John Barnard nicknamed "The prince of Darkness", but Ron Dennis managed his personality and his designs revolutionized racing both here and Europe with is use of Carbon Fibre and McLaren (MP4) and Ferarri, etc, et
      sixspeedclutchhh
      • 5 Months Ago
      they would probably sell more and idle less if the car weren't comprehensively awful. let's be honest, half of these are bought by eccentric hicks that feature their 100 viper collections on cable tv. sad to say, the once-beloved viper is now totally irrelevant.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Great more full times jobs lost , now they can get partime jobs and be counted as they never lost there jobs !
      Design1stCode2nd
      • 5 Months Ago
      Niche car, very high pricetag, mainstream nameplate = low volume And there is a worthy competitor in the C7 Vette for less money.
        rsholland
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Design1stCode2nd
        I agree. A mainstream brand name coupled with a very high price and a tiny market is rarely a recipe for success.
      Car Guy
      • 5 Months Ago
      It's $40K too expensive.
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