It took just about a week for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne to shoot down rumors that the Dodge Viper would make a comeback. The Viper wasn’t mentioned in FCA’s recently announced five-year plan, and now Marchionne has confirmed that the sports car won’t be resurrected anytime soon.
Automobile Magazine’s Todd Lassa and Eric Lawrence of the Detroit Free Press quoted Marchionne in separate tweets. The FCA CEO told both journalists that a new Viper is “not in the plan.” He said the Viper never sold in high enough volumes to make money, and told Lassa that a redesigned Viper “wouldn’t work with a ‘cute’ Euro-style engine.”
Marchionne was likely referring to a downsized engine smaller than the last-generation Viper’s 8.4-liter V10. This would likely be necessary to boost the Viper’s appeal in Europe, where gas prices are substantially higher than in the United States, and to meet stricter future emissions standards worldwide. A big V10 has always been a Viper trademark, but the recent report that triggered Viper resurrection chatter indicated that engine would be ditched.
The report, from Car and Driver, said the new Viper would be powered by a V8 engine, likely shared with other FCA cars. That would save FCA money by spreading out development costs over a higher volume of cars. The report also indicated that Dodge could offer multiple tiers of Viper, just as rival Chevrolet does with its Corvette. Offering a lower-priced base model could also help increase sales.
FCA’s future does include sports cars, just not American ones. The automaker’s five-year plan includes an all-electric Maserati sports car based on the 2014 Alfieri concept. Alfa Romeo will get a 700-horsepower hybrid sports car called the 8C, as well as a two-door coupe version of the Giulia sedan reviving the iconic GTV nameplate, and packing 600 hp.
Dodge wasn’t specifically mentioned in the five-year plan, so it’s unclear what the American brand’s future will hold. The Challenger and Charger are expected to stick around, so Dodge won’t be without performance models. But it seems the Viper won’t be making a comeback, at least not during the next five years.
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