Chrysler suspends SRT Viper production on slow sales

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 19, 2014

Slow sales of its SRT Viper sport coupe have led the Chrysler Group to suspend its output for at least two months due. The suspension means that 91 hourly workers at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit will be laid off, a spokeswoman said. “Chrysler Group confirms that its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant will be down, beginning the week of April 14.

Production will resume the week of June 23,” the company said in a statement. Dealers in the United States had sold just 91 of the SRT Viper in the first two months of 2014, and had 756 vehicles unsold on March 1, resulting to a 412-day supply. The 640-hp two seaters have traditionally not sold well in winter partly because its specialized tires do not grip well in snow.

According to Chrysler, the Viper "is a hand-crafted American exotic car that is designed for a specific consumer that values performance, style and exclusivity." The carmaker said the Viper was not intended to be a mass-production vehicle, with less than 29,000 vehicles have been built in the past 20 years.

"The ability to increase and decrease production at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant allows the company to continue to our consumer’s desire to keep these special cars exclusive."

SRT brand chief Ralph Gilles launched marketing campaign for the Viper late 2013 wherein which factory teams visit Viper dealers to enable consumers to test drive the vehicle.

Gilles said that many dealers keep the Vipers locked in their showrooms, thereby limiting sales. The test drive teams commenced their marketing push in the South over the winter, moving north as the weather becomes warmer.

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