Tuesday, September 9, 2014
2015 Dodge Viper price cut by $15,000, now starting at $84,995
The Dodge Viper has been in crisis for the past several months. Since the fifth-generation model arrived for 2013, sales have been poor, and dealers currently have 15 months' worth of Vipers gathering dust.
The Connor Avenue plant in Detroit where the Viper is built has, since July 3, been shut down. Even a mild reworking of the snake for 2015—including a small power increase to 645 hp and a new GT model—wouldn't be enough on their own to bring new buyers in.
In an effort to save the Viper and get the plant and its people back to work, Dodge has announced a $15,000 price reduction, starting immediately. This means you can now pick up a 2015 Viper for $84,995, the inflation-adjusted equivalent of the $50,700 original Dodge Viper.
All existing owners of current-generation Vipers will receive a $15,000 certificate (used in conjunction with the price drop) to be put towards a new one, meaning that if you have a trade-in value of roughly $70,000, you'll be able to switch your old Viper for a base 2015 Viper at no cost.
The top-of-the-range 2015.5 Viper GTS can be had for $107,995, compared to the old price of $122,385. And the new GT, splitting the difference between the base SRT model and GTS, slots in at $94,995. To further fix its problem, the Viper will be open to all Dodge dealers, not just those licensed to sell SRT models.
Dodge, given its new positioning as a performance brand within the Fiat-Chrysler empire, is unwilling to retire the Viper just yet. It says the super car is an integral halo for the brand, and that sales — which have just crested 1,000 units since the latest version was introduced at the 2012 New York auto show — should be compared to the likes of Ferrari, not a Corvette.
That's all well and good, but the comparisons are inevitable, and justified. A base Corvette Stingray, while considerably underpowered compared to the Viper, will still keep it honest on a racetrack, and do so for around $55,000. The impending new Z/06 — with its 650 supercharged horses — will likely run the Viper off the road altogether, while costing just $78,995. The price drop, therefore, was fundamental.
But enticing enough buyers to go Viper won't be an easy task. After all, despite featuring more creature comforts and being a wickedly enjoyable machine to drive, there's no denying that it's loud, uncouth and highly niche. But as Dodge will tell you, it doesn't need to be a Corvette blockbuster; it just needs to play its part as a halo machine and sell enough to keep the wheels turning at Connor Avenue.