The new Dodge Viper sports car, which is meant to rival Porsche SE's cars and General Motors Co.'s Corvette, is “drop-dead beautiful,” according to Chrysler Group LLC.
“A naked woman on the beach” is said to be the inspiration of the new Viper’s appearance. Ralph Gilles, the head of Chrysler's design, told reporters at the Automotive News World Congress that the car will be released next year as a 2013 model-year vehicle.
Gilles, who also serves as head of the Dodge brand, said that Chrysler, which is managed by Italy's Fiat SpA, seeks to attract buyers from Porsches and the Chevrolet Corvette.
Gilles also said that as the new Viper will be profitable, its sales volume isn't important. Researcher Autodata Corp. determined that Chrysler sold 392 Vipers in 2010, 482 in 2009 and 1,172 in 2008. Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with IHS Automotive, said that Dodge has to “do more” to make consumers aspire for the Viper.
She added that the redesign gives them a chance to “make it a renaissance of that vehicle.” She believes that there aren’t many younger people (under 45) who desire to drive a Corvette or a Viper.
Production of the sports car ended in July but under Chrysler’s five-year turnaround plan, it’s possible that it will come back in 2012. [via autonews - sub. required]