The Dodge Viper is finally being put out to pasture. In a new contract between Fiat Chrysler and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, the Dodge Viper was listed as ending production at FCA’s Detroit Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in 2017. Plans for the Viper’s end of production will be voted on members of the UAW union next week. The all-American sports car has been hand-built at the Conner Avenue factory since 1995.
The Dodge Viper has always had a 10-cylinder engine and has undergone several updates throughout the years. 23 years ago, 400 horsepower was a lofty number and has since risen to an incredible 640 horsepower. Nowadays a Dodge Challenger Hellcat has an eye-popping 707 horsepower and a Tesla Model S, with the optional P85D package, can throw 691 horsepower to the wheels.
The original Viper went into production in 1992. It was updated in 1996, 2003 and 2008, before Chrysler’s bankruptcy ended its run in 2010. A redesigned version debuted in 2013, but it came with a big price increase. At its peak, 2,103 units were sold in 2003, but that has since fallen out of favor with all the better performing competitors on the market today. Last year only 760 Vipers were sold.
When Dodge revived the Viper after a three-year break, it had high hopes of achieving 1,600 units sold annually. But there were numerous heating issues with the car, and it didn’t perform as expected. Additionally, at over $120,000, the Viper was more expensive than even the Corvette Z06, which has more horsepower and better handling. Despite giving the Viper another shot in 2015 with a $15,000 price drop, only 503 units were sold, Yahoo! Autos reported.
There is a slim chance that the Viper could move production to another plant, but the numbers needed to make it possible looks insurmountable. The unapproved $5.3 billion contract between FCA and UAW does not call out a replacement vehicle to fill the void after the Viper production shuts down at the Conner Avenue assembly plant.
2013 was the comeback year for the Viper. In this video shot at Sonoma Raceway, ride along with Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of SRT brand who was the driving force bringing the Viper back better than ever.