The snarling, brutal, uncompromising fury of the current Dodge Viper makes it one of our favorite sports cars currently on the market. Unfortunately, the market has not been kind to the Viper. In news that’s probably not a shock to anyone, the snake could bow out in 2017—with no replacement in sight.
That bit of news circulated by Car and Driver and other outlets is what’s inferred from the current proposed contract between Fiat Chrysler and the United Auto Workers union. The contract is approximately eleventy billion words long but I’ll put the relevant part here:
The Conner Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit is where the Viper is built and has been built since the 1990s. (They also built the Plymouth Prowler there.) Production was suspended when the Viper went on hiatus for a few years but it started up again in 2012.
While the wording in the contract is vague, and implies a future product could happen, remember automakers plan these things years in advance, so if they don’t have anything lined up by now I’m not optimistic.
I’m also not surprised it might get killed off soon. Amazing as it is, the Viper has struggled since its rebirth. It’s an expensive car to produce and Dodge has only been moving a few dozen of them a month. At the same time, the new Corvette—a much cheaper sports car with a much broader appeal—has been an unquestionable success and one that actually makes money for General Motors.
When you add in an end to factory-backed racing, a price cut that couldn’t save the day, and the money-printing Hellcat models arising to the halo car position at Dodge, it’s not hard to see why the winds are shifting away from the Viper’s favor.
It’s a real shame though. The Viper is a one-of-a-kind beast, uniquely old school in today’s increasingly green-minded auto climate. If it’s on the way out—and remember, this is unconfirmed by Dodge—we will probably never see its like again.
At least we still have the Hellcat.
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