Chrysler Group has cut output of the SRT Viper by a third and will reassign scores of workers to other plants because of slow sales, growing inventories, and the onset of colder weather.
Workers at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit, where the car is assembled, were told of the production moves late last week. None will be laid off; instead they will be reassigned to other Chrysler plants in the Detroit area, a Chrysler spokeswoman said. The exact number of employees who will be reassigned is not yet known.
Chrysler had been building an average of nine Vipers per day. Under a revised production schedule, it will build six per day.
Ralph Gilles, head of the SRT brand, said that the Viper’s delivery to Chrysler’s 443 SRT-certified dealers was delayed earlier this year by difficulties in achieving internal quality standards set for the exotic sports coupe.
“We got off to a late start. We had hoped to begin shipping vehicles late last year, but we shipped the first 67 units in April,” Gilles said. Chrysler lifted its self-imposed quality holds over the summer and shipped over 200 held Vipers to its SRT dealers in July and August.
“We typically do very well with the Viper in early spring,” Gilles said.
The re-engineered 2013 Viper was first shown in April 2012 at the New York auto show, but it wasn’t available to dealers and customers until early this year.
The two-seat sports coupe is equipped with the automaker’s most powerful engine, a naturally aspirated V-10 that produces 640 horses and 600 pound-feet of torque.
Pricing for the 2014 model starts at $104,480, including destination, and each car comes with a “track day” of professional driving instruction included.