Chrysler LLC said that it may sell the Dodge Viper business, and has retained Lazard as its financial advisor in connection with a review of strategic options for the unit.
The Viper is a two-seat, high-performance sports car first introduced as a production model in 1992. Earlier this year, Dodge introduced a new, fourth-generation Dodge Viper SRT10 featuring an 8.4-liter V-10 engine that delivers 600 hp (447 kW) of power and 560 lb-ft (759 Nm) of torque. The Viper carries an EPA fuel economy rating of 13 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg combined.
For the period of January-July 2008, Viper sales more than doubled compared to the same period in 2007, increasing from 323 to 682 units.
We have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities for Viper. As the Company evaluates strategic options to maximize core operations and leverage its assets, we have agreed to listen to these parties. We will do so keeping in mind the best interests of those who have shown tremendous support for the vehicle—including employees, suppliers, dealers and a worldwide group of loyal Viper owners and enthusiasts. Viper is an integral part of this Company’s heritage. While this is a strategic review, our intent would be to offer strong operational and financial support during any potential transaction, in order to ensure a future for the Viper business and perpetuate the legacy of this great vehicle.—Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO
The strategic review is unique to the Viper specialty vehicle. The Viper is hand-built in a low-volume, modular process at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, which operates largely independent of Chrysler’s other production facilities. The Conner plant built its 25,000th Viper in March.