What Killed the Viper?

The Dodge Viper is a legendary piece of machinery. Introduced as a concept in 1989 and introduced to showroom floors in 1992, the Viper was a supercar that nearly everybody fell in love with at the first sight. Unlike the Corvette (in its C4 generation by this) the Viper was built as a no-frills V10 powered monster. As time went on the Viper gained more power, became less spartan, and never lost the appeal. Fast forward to 2017, and the Viper is leaving us again, with the first time being in 2010, where it went on a brief hiatus. 

The main question is…what killed the Viper? That answer can be summed up with 3 specific reasons.

First, the Viper was a slow seller. Granted the Viper started at a tick over $85,000, that couldn’t have been the problem. In comparison, the Corvette (and I’m only using the Corvette because it’s the Viper’s direct competition) starts near $30k lower. If we take a 2017 Viper versus the 2017 Corvette Stingray (even the Z06, which matches HP for $7k less), the Corvette may have the edge in handling and real world comfort, but the Viper has the edge in power (a near 180HP difference) and the fact that it’s a more race oriented vehicle.

Maybe it’s my second reason, the competition at that price point. The Viper was always known to be unnerving. The driving experience of a Viper was typically like trying to hit a fatality in Mortal Kombat, after your second attempt or trying to install a bolt in a sketchy spot. That’s not necessarily bad, but when the competitors had names like Corvette Z06 or ZR1 , GTR, 911, and more, there’s a certain level you have to meet. The Viper was there and not simultaneously.

Last, but the probably the main killer, were the Hellcats. One thing an automaker   should never do, is beat their own selves. While the Viper was in a different category when compared to the Challenger and Charger Hellcats, the Hellcats had the edge. The 707HP was more than the Viper 645HP, they were more refined and quite frankly, more popular. 

Ok, so maybe the “more popular” remark was a stretch, but in terms of sales, the Viper fell and the Hellcats rose. While the Viper was much more exclusive and the cool factor was the same, the Hellcats were still better vehicles. 

That V10 tho

Personally, I’d love to be the proud owner of a Viper (especially one of final editions or a GTS), I just see the Hellcat Charger as a better deal. More power and more room, for a slightly lower price. Still, between the sound of the Viper V10 and the curb appeal of a Viper, I might have to reconsider some life choices. Not to mention, FCA doesn’t really have to kill off the Viper, they just have to revise their strategy. Seeing as the Hellcats fall in Viper territory, why not push the Viper further up market? 

I think the whole trio of my reasons, contributed to FCA’s decision to pull the plug on the Viper. Even though the slow sales was the main cited reason for killing the Viper, I feel as if the competitors from other brands and in-house competition, is what ultimately led to the slow sales and the death of the Viper. Check out the The Final Edition Vipers post, to see some of the final edition Vipers.


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