The Dodge Viper (or SRT Viper, or whatever Chrysler Group decides to call it this week) is the company’s halo super car. With being a halo car, it also comes at a halo price exceeding $100,000. Even though the economy is recovering, sales of the Viper have been slow. So slow, in fact, Chrysler shut down production for a few weeks a few weeks back to help sell through inventory. Now today, the day production was supposed to resume, the plant was idled for another two weeks according to Autoblog. Why would Dodge extend the hiatus of making Vipers? Is it related to the Challenger Hellcat?
Sometimes during the summer, manufacturers will close down their production facilities for a few weeks. If a car has too much inventory on dealer lots, it makes sense to stop building more until sales catch back up. That’s simple supply and demand. But could this current production stoppage be in preparation of a flood of SRT Hellcats hitting dealerships?
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat makes 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The Viper, on the other hand, makes 640 hp from it’s naturally aspirated V10. While the Hellcat is more muscle car and the Viper is more sports car, one of the appeals to the Viper was the huge amounts of power that it’d make from it’s huge power plant.
But we expect the Hellcat to arrive in dealerships soon sporting more horsepower in the $60,000 price range. With a car that can be lived with easily every day, half the sales price and the promises from Dodge that the Challenger will handle on the racetrack, the reasons to buy a Viper seem to be fewer and fewer.
The real answer will come from why people buy the Viper. If they buy them because they make stupid amounts of power, then they might lose sales to the Challenger SRT Hellcat because of the power. If they buy a Viper for handling and track prowess, then they might be waiting for the Corvette Z06 before making a final decision on spending that much for a car. For now, Chrysler is mum on the reasons why, but they’ll have to disclose sales numbers eventually, and that’s where we’ll find our answers.
Chad Kirchner is a freelance automotive journalist with a sincere passion for the industry and helping people. He’s a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Texas Auto Writers Association. When not writing about the latest automotive news or vehicles, you can catch him at car shows around the country. Be sure to check him out on social media, including Google+ and Twitter.