Dodge Viper ordering halted amid car’s final year

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

The 2017 Dodge Viper is an endangered species with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV no longer taking orders while it assesses how many cars are available for the supercar’s final year of production.

Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis, head of Fiat Chrysler-North America head of passenger car brands, recently told The Detroit News that the company has no plans to extend Viper production past the 2017 model year.

“That’s the end,” Kuniskis said last week. He added, “We have orders for Vipers way out into next year.”

Many of those orders are from Gerry Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Salisbury, North Carolina. The dealership recently announced on its website it had ordered 135 Vipers.

General manager Brad Wood said the dealership ordered the cars over the last couple of months. The dealership has increased its “Viper Team” to five people to assist in selling the cars. “I took a gamble,” said Wood, a self-proclaimed Viper enthusiast. “We don’t know how it’s going to work out.”

The dealership even created three of its own special editions through Dodge’s “One-of-One” customize program: six “Black Stripe;” 14 “A/E Solid;” and 18 “ACR Solid.”

The 128 Vipers currently listed on Gerry Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram’s website range from manufacturer’s suggested retail price of about $97,000 for a Viper SRT to more than $159,000 for one of the dealership’s Black Stripe Editions, which share a black-and-gold color combination with ACR Extreme Aero but unique stripes and other features.

A post on the dealership’s website previously claimed the order was nearly 99 percent of remaining production for the 2017 model year. However, Wood said the dealership removed that claim after finding out “that is not fact.”

Fiat Chrysler confirmed the order amount but declined to address whether it was nearly all of the remaining cars. It said officials are “currently studying just how many more Vipers can be built” at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant before production ends at the end of the 2017 model year.

“Ordering is still closed for all Viper models. Again, the ordering system will be re-opened, but the timing on when that will happen is still to be determined,” said a Dodge spokeswoman Monday afternoon in an email to The News.

The company said all Viper ordering was closed Oct. 7. Ordering for the top-of-the-line ACR model closed Sept. 27. It is expected to reopen in the coming weeks.

Fiat Chrysler declined to release how many Vipers are expected to be produced or were produced for the 2016 model year. 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 less 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.

The company said despite the large order from the North Carolina dealer, it’s “important to note that other dealers still have Viper stock.”

(313) 222-2504

Twitter: @MikeWayland