One of the likely casualties of Chrysler’s woes was the Viper brand. It has been perceived that the manufacture of cars like the Viper lead to the downfall of Chrysler and GM. But that’s so far off the reality it’s laughable. After all, the most successful car makers in the world have high performance ‘Halo’ cars, but that doesn’t stop them making a decent regular car or two – we’d cite Audi and Mercedes as prime examples, and there are more.
The real problems for GM and Chrysler were their appalling high-volume cars, stuck at least a decade behind Europe in both styling and efficiency, they were an accident waiting to happen. And the meltdown in car sales worldwide, coupled with the jump in gas prices in the US (which has now gone), signalled the end of the old ways. But dump an iconic halo car like the Viper for peanuts? Now that was madness, and fortunately Fiat are a bit more savvy than that.
So it has been confirmed that the Viper will live on, and continue production at the Connor Avenue production plant that was threatened with closure. Quite right, too. The Viper is an exceptional car (it holds a Nurburgring lap record for a production car – quicker even than the Nissan GT-R Nurburgring time) and is a good example of what can be achieved at the performance end in the US. It even handles properly.
Long may it live.