Chrysler has made the decision to suspend production of the SRT Viper for a least two months, citing slow sales. The move is expected to result in layoffs of 91 hourly workers at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit.
Back in October of 2013, Chrysler cut Viper production by a third, citing slow sales and growing inventories.
We always knew the SRT Viper was a bit of a niche automobile, though the nationwide sales figures for the first two months of 2014 gave a glimpse at just how slowly the Viper was trickling out of dealer showrooms. Just 91 examples of the sports car were sold during January and February of this year, and as of March 1, dealers reported an unsold stock of 756 cars — a 412-day supply. The pace of sales during the first two months of this year works out to fewer than two cars finding new homes every day, on average. A record winter may be to blame for this, as a parade of snowstorms likely depressed Viper sales across the country. With subzero temperatures persisting throughout the upper half of the country well into the month of March, the slow pace of sales could be a natural result.
Chrysler was keen to point that the Viper was never intended as a mass-market automobile, and that a grand total of 29,000 examples have been produced during its 20-year history — a little more than 1,000 cars per year on average. Still, the current supply of unsold vehicles stretches 14 months, which is a bit too much even for the exclusive Viper.
Some are pointing fingers across town blaming modest SRT Viper sales on the Chevrolet Corvette. The Vette recorded 2,261 sales in January and 2,438 in February, for a total of 4,699 units over that same time period.
Production of the Viper is set to shut down April 14, and will resume on the week of June 23 of this year.