The Dodge Viper rumor mill kicked into overdrive last month when Car and Driver reported the model was going to make a return in 2020.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case as Sergio Marchionne used the question and answer session of today’s Capital Markets event to reveal a new Viper is “not in the plan.” Road and Track points to a tweet from Automobile’s Todd Lassa who says Marchionne stated the previous Viper wasn’t profitable and a new model wouldn’t work with a European-style engine.
New @Dodge Viper? Marchionne: "That's a great question. … It's not in the plan, if that's what you're asking." Didn't make money, and wouldn't work with a "cute" Euro-style engine…@fcagroup #FCAFiveYearPlan @automobilemag
— Todd Lassa (@AM_Lassa) June 1, 2018
Despite sounding like a nail in Viper’s coffin, the Detroit Free Press’ Eric Lawrence noted Marchionne said he would be happy if FCA could figure out a way to build a new Viper. That leaves the door open for a possible return but it doesn’t seem like the company is actively planning to build a new version of the sports car.
Return of the Dodge Viper? Marchionne says it's not in the plan, but if FCA could find a way to get it done he would be happy. Says it never really made any money for the company. Didn't sell enough. #FCAFiveYearPlan #FCACapitalMarketsDay
— Eric D. Lawrence (@_ericdlawrence) June 1, 2018
While the Viper has always been a halo car, it appears FCA was disappointed with the slow sales of the last model. Carsalesbase data shows sales of the last-generation Viper peaked in 2014 when the company sold 760 units in the United States. For most of its remaining run, the model sold around 600 units annually and there’s still a few trickling out of dealerships today.
Previous generations of the Viper were more popular with consumers as the company sold an average of around 1,500 units annually from 1998 to 2006. There’s been a lot of debate about why the previous-generation Viper didn’t catch on with consumers and a number of critics point to the lack of a roadster variant.
Regardless of what caused the slow sales, it looks like the 2020 model – with its rumored V8 engine developing 550 hp (410 kW / 557 PS) – isn’t happening.