DETROIT -- Chrysler Group will continue making and selling Dodge Vipers after all.
The company, under new ownership, today removed the for-sale sign from its Viper business and will continue making the sports car through 2010 and beyond.
Chrysler Group is no longer pursuing a sale of the Viper business assets, the company said in a statement.
Michael Accavitti, CEO of the Dodge brand, said: Were extremely proud that the ultimate American-built sports car with its world-class performance will live on as the iconic image leader of the Dodge brand.
The move to keep Viper marks a sharp departure for Chrysler under a Fiat-led management team. Under former owner Cerberus Capital Management, cash-strapped Chrysler had been trying to sell assets to stave off bankruptcy. The plan failed as Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 on April 30 and emerged June 10.
Chrysler had put the Viper business up for sale in August 2008. The company had sought $10 million for the Conner Avenue (Detroit) plant that produces the Viper, the company said in bankruptcy court filings.
On May 15, while Chrysler was still in bankruptcy, the company had received a $5.5 million offer from a company called Devon Motor Works, according to bankruptcy court documents. Chrysler also got an offer from a Polish group.
The Viper plant was the first to resume production after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy. The plant produced vehicles during the weeks of June 15 and June 27 before shutting down again.
A Chrysler official who declined to be identified said Chrysler will make 2009 models for the remainder of this year, switching to a 2010 model in January. The plant will produce cars when there is a demand.
Chrysler built 1,545 Vipers in 2008 and has built just 118 so far this year. Conner Avenue, which employs about 100, did not make any cars in January, February, March or May.
The Viper sells for a sticker price of $90,000 or more. Chrysler began producing the Viper in 1992 and has made about 25,000 of the cars since.
The 2009 Viper SRT10 is powered by an 8.4-liter, V-10 engine that cranks out 600 hp. Chrysler claims the Viper can go 0 to 60 mph in fewer than four seconds.