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Dodge Expects Next Viper To Compete For Corvette And Porsche Sales

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On: Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 11:58AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Dodge Expects Next Viper To Compete For Corvette And Porsche Sales

“Drop-dead beautiful” is a phrase being used by Chrysler to describe their upcoming 2013 Dodge Viper. If Chrysler has their way, this new Viper is going to cause some serious headaches for GM’s Corvette and Porsche SE’s cars. Unfortunately, interested buyers are going to have to wait until 2012 for the next incarnation of the Viper to hit showroom floors. Until then it’s all about creating the sizzle for the steak.

Ralph Gilles, head of Chrysler’s design team, is the Viper’s number one fan. He was singing its praises at the opening of the Detroit Auto Show. “It’s an icon, and as a performance brand, it’s important for me to have a performance vehicle,” Gilles told reporters in Detroit. He went on to claim that the Viper will, indeed, make a profit and that sales volume isn’t important.

Those words might just come back to haunt Mr. Gilles. In 2010, Chrysler only sold 392 Vipers. That number was down from the 482 sold in 2009, which in turn was an even bigger dip from the 1,172 sold in 2008. According to Edmunds.com the sticker price for the convertible Viper clocks in at around $90,255 and that’s with no frills. For the coupe, you’ll have to dig deep with a base price of $91,005. In these tough economic times is it any wonder why they sold only 392 Vipers last year?

For Viper to get a toehold in the high end car market, this redesign really needs to be special. Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with HIS Automotive, takes it one step further by saying this could be the “renaissance of that vehicle.”

“There are not a lot of younger people, and by younger I mean under 45, who aspire to own a Corvette or a Viper,” she said.

Although production of the Viper was halted back in July, Chryslers five-year turnaround plan always included a chapter entitled “bring back the Viper.”

For his part in Chrysler’s rebirth, Gilles has spearheaded the redesign of 16 models since the automaker came out of bankruptcy two years ago. His team was working on full throttle for so long that Gilles called a time out and told the gang to rest and relax.

“We’ve been working so quickly and so fast that we’re not innovating like we used to,” Gilles said. We should all be so lucky to have a boss like that!

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