SRT Viper Production Idled for Two Months Amid Slow Sales

The Chrysler Group said it is temporarily idling the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant that produces the SRT Viper sports car. Although the carmaker didn’t say why it made this decision, it was most likely provoked by slow sales.

“Chrysler Group confirms that its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant will be down, beginning the week of April 14. Production will resume the week of June 23. Ninety-one UAW-represented employees will be laid off during this time,” spokeswoman Jodi Tinson told The Detroit News in an email.

Even though SRT boss Ralph Gilles said in November last year that there were no reasons to worry regarding the SRT Viper’s success, it appears that things are more complicated than that. Chrysler sold 591 Vipers in 2013 and 91 in the first two months of the year. Furthermore, SRT had 756 unsold Vipers on March 1, representing a 412-day supply.

Still, Chrysler is downplaying the recent decision and says the Viper has never been a mass-production vehicle, as less than 29,000 vehicles have been built in the past 20 years.

“The ability to increase and decrease production at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant allows the company to continue to meet our customers’ desire to keep these special cars exclusive,” said Chrysler spokeswoman Dianna Gutierrez, adding that customer and dealer demand for the SRT Viper continues at expected levels.

By Dan Mihalascu

PHOTO GALLERY

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