DETROIT -- Chrysler next month will start a marketing program at dealerships to offer test drives of the SRT Viper.
The automaker last week said it was scaling back production of the hand-built sports coupe amid slowing sales and the onset of winter.
"We really have to focus on putting butts in seats," said Ralph Gilles, head of Chrysler's SRT brand. "A lot of people are unnecessarily intimidated by the car."
The test-drive tour of dealerships will begin in November in the Southeast and move elsewhere as warmer temperatures return next spring. Vipers traditionally sell better in spring than they do at other times of the year.
Gilles said SRT will coordinate with dealers to schedule test drives of the Viper, which starts at $104,480, including shipping, and can retail at $160,000 or more, depending on options and dealer markup. Through the first nine months of 2013, 426 Vipers have been sold.
Chrysler last week slowed Viper production at its Conner Avenue plant in Detroit from nine units per day to six. It also said it would reassign an undisclosed number of workers there to other Detroit-area plants.