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Dodge Viper will stay with Chrysler

July 10, 2009 |  2:37 pm


The Viper will stay in the Chrysler family.

Chrysler Group said today that it is no longer trying to sell its Viper sports car business, which it put on the block last summer in an attempt to raise cash and stave off bankruptcy.

Industry-watchers had speculated in recent weeks that Chrysler’s new owners, Fiat of Italy, would opt to keep the hand-built super-car in its lineup, at least for the time being. That, and the fact that no viable buyer emerged, may have pushed Chrysler to hang on to the Viper.

That’s good news for fans of the distinctive growler, which, according to one press report, holds the unofficial sports car lap record at the Nurburgring course in Germany of 7 minutes, 22 seconds.

Viper sales slumped badly in 2007 but rebounded strongly last year after Dodge put a new 8.4 liter V-10 engine under the hood. Last year, Dodge sold 1,172 Vipers, which have a starting sticker price of around $88,500, although sales slumped 48% in the first half of this year amid a general collapse in auto sales.

“The Dodge Viper has successfully captured the hearts and imagination of performance enthusiasts around the globe,” said Mike Accavitti, head of Dodge. “We’re extremely proud that the ultimate American-built sports car with its world-class performance will live on as the iconic image leader for the Dodge brand.”

-- Martin Zimmerman

Photo: Chrysler Group