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Chrysler to resurrect Viper


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Chrysler to resurrect Viper

High-profile American-made sports car to return in 2012 after production hiatus

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Chrysler Group LLC plans to bring the iconic Dodge Viper back to its lineup in the summer of 2012.

The all-new Viper will be a 2013 model.

The Auburn Hills automaker ceased production of the all-American sports car last summer after 18 years.

There has been speculation since then that the hiatus would be short-lived and Chrysler would bring the car back.

Ralph Gilles, head of the Dodge brand, confirmed the Chrysler board has given the Viper final approval and development is on schedule.

The new Viper "is not based on anything else," he stressed, countering speculation that it will share underpinnings with Ferrari or the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, given the partnership of Chrysler and Italy's Fiat SpA.

The car has its own underpinnings and while there is some similarity to the 8C, an overlay of the two vehicles shows their proportions to be quite different.

"Where the cabin is, relative to the wheels, is unique," said Gilles who is also head of design. "The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore."

The Viper will not get a Ferrari engine, but Gilles did not rule out a new engine for the car, which previously had a 640-horsepower V-10. "There won't be a part of the car that's untouched," he said.

Fiat, he said, will lend expertise in dynamics.

"We will use their expertise to open the performance envelope in the Viper," Gilles said. "Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars. I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car."

The lack of stability control and a powerful engine made the Viper a unique American sports car in the eyes of many.

"Dodge used the Viper better as a halo vehicle for the brand than Chevy ever did with the Corvette," said analyst Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics in Birmingham.

The Viper also was the genesis of the performance SRT lineup that boosted Dodge's image, he said.

Dodge celebrated the final year of the Viper with a series of limited-edition models. The last one rolled off the line July 2 at Detroit's Conner Avenue plant.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101201/AUTO01/12010326/Chrysler-to-resurrect-Viper#ixzz16s3moVeC

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Ralph Gilles Confirms 2013 Dodge Viper

By Viknesh Vijayenthiran


December 1st, 2010


The Dodge Viper died a quick and ignominious death shortly after Fiat partnered with Chrysler, though even then there was talk that the car would be revived for 2012. With production at the car’s Conner Avenue assembly plant finally coming to an end earlier this year, all eyes have shifted towards the launch of the next iteration of the car and the man who will make it happen, Dodge boss Ralph Gilles.

Previously, Gilles boasted that the Viper would be back in 2012, infused with Fiat Group DNA--think Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari--and most likely a lighter chassis and more fuel efficient powertrain. Gilles has now gone a step further, confirming that the Dodge Viper will return in the summer of 2012 as a 2013 model.

Speaking with The Detroit News, Gilles explained that the new Viper "is not based on anything else," quashing speculation that the car will share its underpinnings with a Ferrari model or the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

"Where the cabin is, relative to the wheels, is unique," said Gilles who is also head of design. "The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore."

One thing’s for certain, the 640 horsepower 8.4-liter V-10 of the current model will be replaced with a new engine. "There won't be a part of the car that's untouched," Gilles said. There’s no official word on what this new engine will be but there’s rumor that it will be a variation of Chrysler’s new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 but with some form of forced induction.

The other major change is that the new Viper will be a softer and more forgiving beast. “I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car," Gilles revealed.

We’ll keep you updated on news of the 2013 Dodge Viper as it breaks.

Pictured above is the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X that was unveiled back at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. Built specifically with road courses in mind, the ACR-X offers the best of the Viper ACR with some of the performance enhancements of the Viper Competition Coupe and some extra safety gear.



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Report: Next Dodge Viper confirmed for 2012 rollout, won't be Alfa 8C-based

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Dec 1st 2010 at 9:58AM


According to The Detroit News, most of the rumors we've been hearing about the next Dodge Viper aren't true. The meanest of the Dodge models won't be riding on a modified Alfa Romeo or Ferrari platform when it bows anew in 2012 as a 2013 model. The Pentastar has said while there may be some similarities to the 8C Competizione, the Viper will make use of entirely unique underpinnings and will carry significantly different proportions compared to the Italians. Part of that means doing away with the snake's iconic long hood in favor of a design with a little more balance.

What's more, Dodge head Ralph Giles tells the Detroit daily that the Mopar supercar won't utilize a Ferrari engine for its power, though he stopped short of saying whether or not the old 640 horsepower V10 will survive the vehicle's rebirth. That means that a new lump may surface, though the number of cylinders and how much horsepower it will produce remain a mystery. Thanks for the tip, Prhime.



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Long-Rumored Revival Of Dodge Viper Confirmed

New version of the “snake” to be “unique,” and debut as a 2013 model.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.01, 2010

One of the last of the old Dodge Vipers proves its mettle on the track. A new version returns in the 2013 model-year.

Long-time fans of Chrysler’s quirky supercar, the Dodge Viper, have gotten an early Christmas present, though they’ll have to wait a few years to unwrap it.

As part of its restructuring, the automaker wrapped up production of the Viper earlier this year, (Click Here for more), after an 18-year run. But as TheDetroitBureau.com first reported in November 2009, a revival was already under study. (For more on that story, Click Here.) Chrysler is now confirming that the 2-seat sports car is scheduled to make its comeback in 2012 as a 2013 model.

Don’t expect Chrysler to simply pick up where it left off, however, says Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s corporate chief designer and the head of the Dodge brand. “There won’t be a part of the car that’s untouched,” he tells Alisa Priddle, of the Detroit News.

While Gilles won’t provide all the details – perhaps because some significant development work is yet to be completed – he did drop one big surprise. Shortly after taking control of Chrysler, after its 2009 bankruptcy, Fiat sources suggested that the next-generation Viper would be paired with one of the Italian maker’s models, most likely the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Alfa used that high-performance model to launch a limited return to the U.S. market, two years ago.

The original Dodge Viper - the 1992 snake shown here - put a premium on performance, rather than technology or creature comforts.

That approach seemed to fit the broader Fiat-Chrysler strategy of sharing platforms in an effort to reduce costs and improve economies of scale. A Fiat platform will be used for a planned 2012 replacement of the new Chrysler 200, for example, while the new Jeep Grand Cherokee’s “architecture” will provide the starting point for an all-new Alfa SUV.

But according to Gilles, while there might be some visible similarities, the 2013 Dodge Viper “is not based on anything” else in the Fiat-Chrysler line-up, and has a distinct silhouette to prove it.

That’s not to say the folks at the Chrysler Technical Center, in Auburn Hills, Michigan, are doing the supercar project entirely on their own.

“We will use their expertise to open the performance envelope in the Viper,” Gilles told the News, adding, “Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars.” One only has to witness brands like Alfa, Maserati and Ferrari to confirm that.

Whether the 2013 Dodge Viper will get the last-generation model’s 640-hp V10 engine remains to be seen. The good news for the development team is that they have an extensive array of alternative powertrains to choose from in the Fiat portfolio. One thing seems certain, however: the next-generation Viper will be expected to at least match, and more likely exceed the performance numbers of the last 2010s.

The original Dodge Viper was the brainchild of Bob Lutz, the one-time second-in-command at Chrysler who went on to become “car czar” at General Motors, before retiring this year. While some felt it was meant to simply give Chrysler a way to battle back against the long-running Chevrolet Corvette, Lutz originally had a very different product philosophy in mind.

That meant stripping the “snake,” as fans often called it, down to the bare essentials. That meant no traction or stability control, not even anti-lock brakes, in the initial version. In fact, the first generation didn’t even have airbags, the only car in the Chrysler line-up to skip that safety feature otherwise mandated across the line-up, in 1989, by former Chairman Lee Iacocca.

Later models did get more technology and a few more creature comforts, but the focus of the Viper team was pure performance. The original car debuted with a then-impressive 350 hp – something the 2011 Ford Mustang comes close to making with its new V6. Dodge later made headlines bumping the figure up to 400 hp, a first from Detroit using modern horsepower measurements. And, as the global auto industry dove into a full-fledged performance battle, the final version hit that 640-hp mark.

Another question that remains to be answered is where the 2013 Dodge Viper will be built. Since 1995, it rolled out of a low-volume factory on Detroit’s East Side. That facility was shuttered following the end of the 2010 Viper run, this year.



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New venom for Viper

By GREG MIGLIORE on 12/01/2010

It appeared onstage for a few fleeting moments, more phantom than future sheetmetal. But like a ghost that won't go away or a car company that refuses to die, a reborn Viper has been penciled in for Dodge for 2012.

A concept version of the next American supercar was shown in September in Orlando, Fla., by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne to a convention center filled with thousands of people—most of them notoriously talkative car dealers. But reports of just what exactly the next Viper will be are sketchy. Still, in speaking with numerous sources who were present, AutoWeek was able to construct a composite sketch of what this new supersnake could be.

A common theme emerged: The Viper had a distinct Italian theme with an unmistakable American presence. Descriptions ranged from “beautiful” to “sexy with a lot of muscle” to “different” and, of course, “a classic.” That's high praise from a dealer body starved for new cars and trucks and still reeling from two years of choppy waters for Chrysler.

The car shown in Orlando was painted bright red and had flashy lights, perhaps LEDs. The windows appeared to have a teardrop shape, and the curves and flares were a bit more pronounced. One source compared it to the 1998 Viper. The size and shape were close to that of the current generation, although there were more angles and lines. The Italian sports-car vibe was especially evident stretching back from the A-pillar.

“It looks like it's about to open up and attack you—like a Viper,” one impressed source said.

The fact that any Viper was shown is remarkable in some ways. The supercar business was put up for sale in 2008 and then taken off the market after Chrysler successfully emerged from bankruptcy. The Viper factory in Detroit, dubbed the “Snake Pit,” was the new company's first plant to reopen.

It's “firmly in the product fold,” a spokesman said. “It's going to remain true to its roots.”

Powertrain specifics remain unknown, but a V10 has always been the Viper's signature feature. As Chris Marshall, president of the Viper Club of America, put it: “The main concern for the true Viper purists is the big-displacement engine.”

And considering all that Chrysler has been through in the last two years, that's not the worst problem to have. Viper Nation can rest with some assurance that a new snake is poised to strike in 2012.

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20101201/CARNEWS/101209997#ixzz16sjCbgdZ

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Chrysler revives Viper



Chrysler will reintroduce an all-new Dodge Viper in mid-2012, but has not yet decided whether it will be built in the company’s idle Conner Avenue plant in Detroit or elsewhere, company officials said Wednesday.

The high-performance sports car went out of production in July after 18 years. But bringing it back was always under consideration, based on Chrysler’s November 2009 product plan. It will be a Dodge-only car and not derived from a future Ferrari or Alfa Romeo model. Chrysler is considering an all-new engine for the Viper, according to those familiar with the plans. Chrysler is developing a new 6.4-liter version of its Hemi V8.

Bringing back the Viper is important both as a way to keep Dodge in the high-performance sports car segment, but also to reinforce Dodge’s credibility as Chrysler’s performance brand.

“I think it’s great,” said Dan Frost, who owns Dodge dealerships in Southfield and Taylor. “You don’t sell a lot of them, but it’s the image of the car that matters.”

Frost said he sold about 20 Vipers in his best year with the car.

“Whenever we do anything with the Viper it has a huge social media impact, and to this day it has been the most photographed car ever in terms of magazine covers,” said Ralph Gilles, Dodge president and CEO

Fiat engineers will have a significant role in the driving dynamics of the new Viper, which likely will have electronic stability control, a feature the Viper did not have previously.

Read more: Chrysler revives Viper | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101201/BUSINESS0103/101201053/Chrysler-revives-Viper#ixzz16u4rzQHm

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New Dodge Viper coming in mid-2012


Free Press Business Writer

Chrysler will bring an all-new Dodge Viper to market in mid-2012, but has not yet decided where it will make the ultra-performance roadster.

Reviving the Viper is important for preserving Dodge's status in the high-end sports car segment and clarifying Dodge's identity as Chrysler's performance brand. Viper production stopped in July, after an 18-year run at the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit.

With a sticker price of $90,000-plus, Viper was the ultimate "halo" car. It wasn't measured so much by sales as by enthusiasm of its owners.

"I think in my best year I sold 20 of them," said Dan Frost, who owns Dodge dealerships in Southfield and Taylor.

A Viper comeback was always under consideration, according to Chrysler's November 2009 product plan. It will be a Dodge-only car and not derived from a future Ferrari or Alfa Romeo model. Chrysler is considering an all-new engine for the Viper, according to a person familiar with the plans.

"We're extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car and icon of the Dodge brand will continue to live on," said Ralph Gilles, Dodge president and CEO.

Chrysler has a new 6.4-liter version of its Hemi V8 coming sometime in the next four years. But the previous Viper had an 8.4-liter, 640-horsepower V10 engine.

Fiat engineers will have a significant role in the new Viper, the Chrysler official familiar with the planning said.

Read more: New Dodge Viper coming in mid-2012 | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101202/BUSINESS01/12020528/New-Dodge-Viper-coming-in-mid-2012#ixzz16xm3Dhdo

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Chrysler Confirms 2013 Dodge Viper, Says It’s Not Going to be Based on Alfa's 8C Competizione



When the last Dodge Viper rolled off the assembly line in July, there were only rumors about a new generation. A couple of months later, new information leaked about a possible successor, said to have been an “Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione with a Viper face”, much to the dismay of Viper fanatics. Some even went as far as to speculate that the Viper could be based on the Alfa's platform.

Now, The Detroit News reports that Chrysler officials confirmed that next summer we will see the 2013MY Viper adding that it won't be based on Alfa’s supercar. In particular, Dodge CEO, Ralph Gilles, said that the new Viper “is not based on anything else” and any similarity with the Alfa is accidental, as the two cars have different proportions.

“Where the cabin is, relative to the wheels, is unique” said Gilles. “The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore” he added.

Mr. Gilles also reassured that “there won’t be a part of the car that’s untouched” and that the 2013 Viper will be “a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people”.

Indeed, the previous generation was an unforgiving beast, without any electronic gizmos, bent on destroying those who treated it with disrespect. Granted, this accounted for much of its appeal, but a more drivable Viper is not such a bad idea - or at least it isn't for some.

The extent to which Dodge plans to dilute the sports car's much character is not known at this point. We just hope that Chrysler will keep a fine balance between the ingredients.



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Dear Fiat:

Keep your hands off the Viper, it's an American Automotive Icon

and as such does not need you fine tuning. While I am not in

the market for one I think I understand its appeal:

A rough around the edges, coarse & offensive brute. Giving the

Viper stability control is like putting wheelie bars and a GMC

blower on a BMW M3.

I personally think the raw power & testosterone injected

styling was what sold the Viper. I can forgive the Viper

trading its V10 for a Hemi V8 but I do not think it needs or

should gain sophistication & a huge price increase as a

result. The Viper never really competed directly with anything

else (including the Vette) and that was a part of its appeal.

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