Talk about a letdown.
The big news last week was the revelation that a new Dodge Viper is in store. This literally came out of nowhere. No one expected it. Only last August, Fiat Chrysler closed the Conner Avenue assembly plant in Michigan where Vipers were built. However, with a projected debut for next January at Detroit, the (again) reborn Viper sounded like a very real thing, especially since it would coincide with its 30th anniversary. Only it isn’t, at least according to FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Road and Track noticed a couple of Twitter posts, one from Automobile Magazine and the other from The Detroit Free Press that quoted Marchionne as to the following: a new Viper “is not in the plan,” although Marchionne still sounded like he was open to the possibility. However, Marchionne specifically stated that the previous Viper was not a strong seller and a poor money maker, so any potential revival, as long as he’s still running the show, will certainly require a profit making plan. That’s a pretty tall order considering the Viper was always a niche high performance sports cars. Marchionne also commented on the rumored reborn Viper engine, a naturally aspirated V8.
In his customary directness, the CEO stated a “cute” European engine, which more than likely would be an Alfa Romeo or Maserati-sourced twin-turbo V6 or V8, simply wouldn’t fit the Viper’s demeanor. The classic NA V10 and six-speed manual is hard to give up. Given this latest update and Marchionne’s very direct words, it’s best to assume a Viper revival isn’t happening at the moment. However, Marchionne plans to retire next April so who knows what his successor has in mind.