New Viper Designed to Lure Vette and Porsche Buyers

Huw Evans
by Huw Evans

According to Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Group design chief, the next generation Dodge Viper will be drop dead gorgeous – the car’s look being inspired by “a naked woman on a beach,” he declared at a recent Detroit press conference.

However, the new car, to be launched next year as a 2013 model, will have a different mission than its predecessors. Rather than being a brutish, all-out muscle type sports car, relying on cubic inches and brawn to get the job done, it will be conceived to go head to head with the likes of the Corvette and Porsche 911, with features designed to woo drivers away from those iconic machines.

That will probably also mean targeting younger buyers. According to Rebecca Lindland, an auto industry analyst with IHS, “Dodge needs to do more to make the Viper an aspiration to consumers and the redesign gives them a chance to “make it a renaissance of that vehicle. There are not a lot of younger people, and by younger I mean under 45, who [currently] aspire to own a Corvette or a Viper.”

Perhaps, but given the Fiat influence, now might be the perfect opportunity for Chrysler [and Dodge division] to really knock one out of the park and deliver a car with broader appeal, yet one that doesn’t sacrifice its core raison d’etre.

Although Gilles didn’t give any specifics regarding the 2013 Viper, he recently instructed his design staff to take a ‘breather’ after styling 16 vehicles since 2009. The reason? A chance for them to get creative again, on cars like the upcoming Viper.

“We’ve been working so quickly and so fast that we’re not innovating like we used to,” he said.

He also mentioned that the new Viper won’t use Fiat engines and although it will be profitable; “sales volume isn’t important.” Chrysler expects to sell most new Vipers in North America, with just trickle likely headed for overseas markets, including Europe.

[Source: Automotive News]

Huw Evans
Huw Evans

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