WASHINGTON -- Chrysler Group will restart the idled Conner Avenue plant in Detroit in mid-November to build the Dodge Viper. Sales of the car jumped in September after a $15,000 price cut.
The Viper plant in Detroit has worked just 10 days since April 14 and has been idled since July 3.
In September, Dodge brand head Tim Kuniskis lowered the price of unsold 2013 and 2014 Vipers by $15,000. He also offered more than 1,000 consumers who had bought the car since its reintroduction in 2013 a coupon good through Jan. 2, 2018, for an additional $15,000 off.
With the $15,000 reduction, Vipers start at $86,880 including shipping but excluding gas guzzler tax.
Dealers in the U.S. sold 108 Vipers in September, up from 45 in the same month a year ago and 38 in August.
The Viper “was never intended to be a high-volume car. It’s always been intended to be a very high-performance, exclusive car,” Kuniskis said last week at a press event here.
He said that although Viper sales are seasonal -- the sports coupe’s tires are not made to be driven in cold weather -- October is proving “to be a very, very strong month for us.”
Kuniskis said higher sales in September and October “will get us much closer to the proper inventory levels,” allowing Dodge to begin building 2015 Vipers.
Dealers have taken about 200 orders for 2015 Vipers, but Dodge won’t begin building them until unsold inventories are reduced further.
Dodge plans to build only the GT and base SRT trim levels initially as it restarts production at Conner Avenue. As inventories of unsold 2013 and 2014 models decline, the brand will begin building its upscale TA and GTS trims again, Kuniskis said.
He said, “Our goal with the repositioning was just to align the car with the market and get the car priced where it will sell better.”