The 2014 SRT Viper may just be a little too insane for most people, as Chrysler is reducing production of the Viper at its Conner Avenue plant in Detroit, according to a Chrysler spokesperson. A report from Automotive News says that this reduced production is due to slow sales and growing inventories of the SRT Viper.
Chrysler says production at the Conner Avenue plant will be reduced from nine Vipers per day to six per day. An undetermined number of employees will be reassigned from Conner Avenue to other plants in the area. Chrysler reportedly hoped to limit SRT Viper sales to just 2000 cars per year, but has yet to even come close to that figure.
According to AN’s inventory database, there were 500 SRT Vipers at dealers nationwide as of September 1. Considering that only 426 Vipers have been sold so far this year and that only 443 dealers are SRT-certified to sell the Viper, it’s clear that demand for the Viper is limited at best. Dealer hesitation may be part of the problem, as Chrysler dealers must pay a $25,000 fee and receive special training in order to sell the Viper. The SRT Viper also starts at a lofty $103,990, much higher than any other product in Chrysler’s stable and considerably higher than competitors like the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which starts at $51,995, half the Viper’s price.
Although the AN report cites SRT head Ralph Gilles as saying that people are “unnecessarily intimidated by the car,” we think intimidation is an appropriate reaction to the Viper’s 640 horsepower V-10 engine. The SRT Viper did just gain a Rain mode for 2014, which is a special setting of the stability control to help keep the wild Viper in line when driving in slick conditions, but it's still a powerful car. Whether this will help spur sales remains to be seen, as the plant has only recently switched over to producing 2014 models of the Viper.