11/28/13

SRT Viper Doing Just Fine Thanks You Very Much, Says Brand Boss


SRT may have reduced Viper production by 33 percent earlier this year, but the iconic sports car is here to stay. The message was sent from SRT CEO Ralph Gilles at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where the executive stressed that the Viper has a bright future.

“The plant is booked solid. We actually have several hundred units outstanding we still have to build,” Gilles said in an interview with WardsAuto at the auto show. He admitted, however, that the launch of the fifth-generation Viper was not ideally timed. “We had a very late launch. We were six months offset from where we wanted to be,” Gilles explained.

Because sales only began in April and deliveries followed later, the Viper missed the spring selling season. Furthermore, dealers were not prepared to deal with the new model’s extensive list of optional equipment and ordered cars that they had a hard time selling.

“I don’t think our network understands the segment very well. I think the mistake we’re making is understanding the customer who spends $130,000 to $140,000 for a car. They want what they want – their color, their stripe, their package, their interior. And dealers were trying to anticipate the market ended up creating a car that may not be the right car,” Gilles explained.

To make sure that doesn’t happen again, Chrysler has launched a fourth-quarter training program across the U.S. that pair dealers with existing Viper owners and potential customers, with the latter getting test drives of the vehicles.

Gilles also said all 159 units of the limited-edition Viper Time Attack have been sold in three days after orders opened up, and that the 50 Viper GTS models with Anodized Carbon paint are already spoken for.

Currently, SRT has about 500 Vipers in stock and has sold 495 units through October.

By Dan Mihalascu


PHOTO GALLERY

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