Early last Wednesday it was found that Chrysler Group is slowing production on the SRT Viper. The rational, first reported by Automotive News, is because of slowing sales which led to growing inventories. One reason for the slowing sales was the upcoming winter season.
Typically, the Viper does well in sales during the early Spring but the fifth generation vehicle got a late start this year because of delays caused by internal quality standards. Ralph Gilles, the President and CEO of the SRT brand, said that they had hoped to begin shipping vehicles late last year but the company didn’t begin actual shipments until April instead. It was originally expected that the Viper would have a production of 2,000 vehicles per year but the 2013 model year was closed out with a production of 805 cars and the company is assembling the 2014 model year line currently.
The first sale of the year was in February and within the last eight months Dodge dealers have sold 426 Vipers with another 565 units currently in stock for both model years. SRT will be starting a program in November where they will visit dealers in the Southeast so customers can test-drive Vipers that are owned by the factory; some dealers have been wary of handing over the keys to those with unproven driving skills. This program will start in the Southeast as a result of most of the current stock being located in that region and will spread to the North next spring.
The fifth generation, which began production in 2012 for the 2013 model year, is the first generation to be rebranded the SRT Viper. SRT, short for Street & Racing Technology, is an automobile group within Chrysler LLC which focuses on high-performance vehicles. SRT currently develops vehicles under the Jeep, Chrysler, and Dodge brands although Chrysler recently announced that SRT will soon become a separate entity. The first generation started in 1992 under the helm of the Dodge Viper and was built with a revamped block V10 engine by Lamborghini, which was owned by Chrysler at the time. Dodge Viper production fluctuated throughout the years, going from a high of 3083 for the 1994 model year to 659 in 2009 and 500 in 2010, the last year for the fourth generation, which included 50 “Final Edition” Dodge Vipers.
The 2014 model starts at $104,480 and can retail for up to $160,000. The price covers destination fees and a special program for professional driving instruction is included as well. With its powerful V10 engine it creates 600 pound-feet of torque with 640hp and it can go from 0-60 mph in an estimated 3.3 seconds. The SRT Viper has a top speed of approximately 206 mph.
The SRT Viper is hand-built at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly plant, which is located in Detroit, Michigan. Because of the slow of production, some workers at that plant will be reassigned to other Detroit area Chrysler plants; reportedly, no one will be laid off. The current number of employees being shifted is unknown but prior to this news it is known that the plant hosted 171 employees.