It goes without saying that the Dodge Viper, which ended production in summer 2010, was a niche proposition. Powered by an 8.4-liter V-10 engine and lacking stability control, it was neither for the faint of heart nor those concerned about gasoline prices. Yet when the next-generation Viper bows in late 2012, it will be designed to appeal to a wider range of customers.
Ralph Gilles, head of design at Chrysler Group and president of Dodge, told Automotive News that Dodge is meeting with owners of high-end sports cars (like Porsches) to learn what they like and dislike about the Viper.
“We don’t deal with that type of customer on any other level except for the Viper. So we want to understand them better,” Gilles told Automotive News.
The company is expected to target Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette buyers with the new Viper, which implies it may be slightly less hard-core than the outgoing model. Dodge has been tight-lipped about the car’s mechanical underpinnings, but we know it will not be based on a Ferrari model. However, the new Viper may employ some components from the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
One big change — mandated by the federal government and confirmed by Dodge — will be the addition of stability control to the Viper’s specification sheet. Dodge says the next Viper will arrive in “late 2012”, most likely badged as a 2013 model. We can’t wait.
Sources: Automotive News, Dodge