Los Angeles — Ordering for the last production year of the Dodge Viper is expected to reopen by the end of the year, according to company officials.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which produces the car, closed all Viper ordering earlier this year to assess how many cars they’ll be able to build for the supercar’s final year of production. All Viper ordering was closed Oct. 7. Ordering for the top-of-the-line ACR model closed Sept. 27.
Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis, head of Fiat Chrysler-North America passenger-car brands, said part of the problem was the company had to learn how many more orders some of its suppliers could fulfill by the end of model-year production, which is expected to be mid-2017.
“We actually had to shut down the ordering because we outran our headlights,” he told The Detroit News this month on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show. “We didn’t know if we were going to have enough parts to build all the cars that people ordered.”
The company also has experienced a shortage of its custom-built carbon-fiber “extreme aero wings” for its track-capable ACR models, which has caused “a bunch” of Vipers to sit stagnant in Detroit while they wait for the parts.
“The demand for ACR is off the charts — way more than we ever expected,” Kuniskis said. “We are close to opening it back up now that we know how many more we can build.
“They will sell out quickly.”
Many of the final orders came from Gerry Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Salisbury, North Carolina. The dealership ordered 135 Vipers. The dealership even created three of its own special editions through Dodge’s “One-of-One” customization program.
Kuniskis said despite demand for the roughly $90,000-$121,000 vehicle, production at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant will not continue into the 2018 model year. “It was last call, now it’s really last call,” he said.
Fiat Chrysler declined to say how many Vipers are expected to be produced or were produced for the 2016. Production for the model year started in the third quarter of 2015 and is believed to have ended this summer when model-year 2017 production began.
From September 2015 through last month, Viper sales totaled about 670 cars in the United States, including 447 cars this year. Those figures do not include Canada, where sales during the first nine months of this year have totaled fewer than 50 cars.
Since 1992, the company has built approximately 30,000 Vipers at the Mack Avenue Assembly (1992-1994) and Conner Avenue Assembly Plant (1995-current), both in Detroit.