The plan to fix the Viper hatched after a July gathering of about 500 Viper owners from the U.S. and Canada at Chrysler's headquarters in suburban Detroit. Kuniskis said he spent hours meeting Viper owners and seeking their input.
He said the Viper's price hike -- its base sticker price jumped from $86,425 in 2008 to $101,880, including shipping but excluding the gas guzzler tax -- made it seem unattainable, especially to Dodge buyers.
"It's not that I'm lowering the price $15,000; it's a psychological thing to put you back into the realm of being an accessible car at a price point that I think is right for the car," Kuniskis said.
The new $86,880 base sticker, including shipping but excluding the gas guzzler tax, is almost identical to the 1992 model's sticker price, adjusted for inflation. It is "the same price it was seven years ago, when we were selling two and a half times as many," he said.
For the 1,025 customers who bought a 2013 or 2014 Viper, the $15,000 coupons -- good for them or an immediate family member through Jan. 2, 2018 -- are a way to "true up" the values of their Vipers.
"I can eliminate the depreciation you have today in your car if you come in and trade it in, or get you pretty damn close," Kuniskis said.
He said he will also change the way Vipers are allocated, limiting stocks to a 30-day supply, to prevent all but the most experienced Viper dealers from stockpiling the car.
While all Dodge dealers will be able to sell the Viper beginning this month, the more than 400 dealers who paid $25,000 each in 2012 for the privilege won't get their money back.
Dodge dealers will still have to pay for the tools and training to work on the Viper, Kuniskis said.