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Viper production cut

by David Zatz on

Automotive News scooped the industry with the first report that SRT Viper production has been slashed. With output reduced by a third, workers are being reassigned to other plants. There will be no layoffs; Viper workers are generally skilled and experienced, and would be in demand within the company.

The company will go from making nine Vipers per day, to just six. A spokesman blamed the onset of colder weather and unsold Vipers at dealerships for the reduction. SRT CEO Ralph Gilles pointed out that Viper’s prime selling time is early spring.

SRT-Viper-TA-F34-Web

Chrysler had been building an average of nine Vipers per day. Under a revised production schedule, it will build six per day. There are only 443 SRT-certified dealers who can get Vipers (they had to pay $25,000 and take special training courses), and the company is trying to avoid overbuilding. 805 Vipers were built for the 2013 model year; the car is currently in the 2014 model year. However, with only 426 Vipers sold, dealers actually have more cars in stock than they’ve delivered to customers.

Pricing for the 2014 Viper starts at $104,480, with a day of professional driving instruction included, but the price can range up to $160,000. Mr. Gilles told Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette that, as a result, dealers tended to be reluctant to allow test drives; for that reason, SRT reps will start visiting dealerships in warmer areas to facilitate test drives. Automotive News quoted Mr. Gilles as saying, “We really have to focus on putting butts in seats. A lot of people are unnecessarily intimidated by the car.”

Some in the community have suggested that Viper’s advantages over the Corvette no longer justify the higher price; the issue brings Ian Sharp’s 2010 proposal for an alternate Viper design to mind.

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