Ignorance Is Killing the Viper, Go Drive One Now!

I could say Ferrari has managed to sell just as many LaFerraris as Chrysler has managed to push Vipers. When this happens, you know you’ve got a problem. OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the numbers are totally comparable. The fact that Ferrari and Chrysler are both owned by Fiat makes the whole matter even more ridiculous.
And while those who missed out on buying a The Ferrari could end up paying double for an used example, the US company has just announced a $15,000 price cut for the 2015 Dodge Viper SRT - yes, the supercar was launched as the SRT Viper, but now SRT is no longer a standalone brand and the V10 machine is back to being a Dodge.

The issue here is poor judgement, on the buyers' side and well as from the Chrysler Group. I’ll get to the details in a minute, but the idea is that while Dodge has corrected most of its errors through the recent 2015 Viper updates, pricing included, it is now your turn to do so.

If you are in the market for a super-fast car, go out there and test drive a Viper. You’ll freaking fall in love with its visceral character and you won’t be able to live without its feel.

And if that doesn’t happen, it means this snake is not for you and you’re not the subject of my story - I’m here to talk about all the people that dismiss the Viper without even giving it a try. This is the biggest issue that has slowed down sales to the point where production had to be paused.

The Viper is that kind of car that needs to be experienced in order to be assessed. You can just compare the bang for buck to what the Corvette or the Corvette Z06 offers and then deem the snake as unworthy of your dollars.

Of course, many steer clear of the Viper simply because they feel their driveways have to be adorned with an animal far more special than the Ram on Dodge’s logo. I’m talking something like a Prancing Horse or a Raging Bull.

People will always be ignorant or snobbish and it’s Chrysler’s fault for not knowing how to deal with this.

When the Viper was born three generations ago, enthusiasts saw the hope of a modern-day Shelby Cobra, but Chrysler tried to make the thing exclusive, only offering it through special dealers. No, you don’t do that. The Viper should be in each and every Dodge showroom, so that people that walk in to buy a Dart see it and spread the word.

Fortunately, they got the idea - with the 2015 model year changes, an extra 2,300 Dodge dealers will be able to sell the Viper, adding to the current SRT network.

Then there’s the pricing. Chrysler explains that the $15,000 cut, which is applied throughout the range, brings the 2015 Viper in line with the first-gen Viper - of course, inflation was taken into account here, with KBB assessing the matter. By the way, the whole story means the Viper now starts at just under $85k, not including taxes.

I’ll take the conclusion for granted and ask: why hasn’t this been done from the very beginning? Everybody who actually talked to a dealer about buying a Viper knows that the discounts were fat, so the recent financial move isn’t even as large as it appears.

Moreover, owners of the current Viper get a $15,000 coupon towards purchasing a 2015 model, which means their discount climbs as high as $30k. Once again, had the correct price been set from the very beginning, such extreme measures wouldn't have been required.

Then again, I can’t stop thinking about the buyers. I’m puzzled by those who claim the Viper needs more technology and point their finger at what they call a “truck engine”. The Ford GT also borrowed its block from a pickup and yet you see one in any serious collector’s garage!

Admittedly, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Viper fitted with an automatic. It doesn’t defeat any purpose as long as it’s an option. And if you end up buying an used example and complain about the auto, tough luck. When it come to cars like the Viper, I see extra technology as the expected supercharger addition.

If you want technology, pay the price and go to Porsche. And if we're talking about affordable technology, choose the Corvette. All the tech built into it make the thing a brilliantly modulable sportscar and a sweet daily driver, but it simply can’t match the Viper when it comes to being thoroughbred. I’ll say this one more time, for all the future years that will treat us with sanitized, eco-friendly vehicles: Viper. Thoroughbred.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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