While the Corvette Stingray continues to fly off the showroom floors almost faster than Bowling Green can produce them, the same can’t be said for its long-time competitor, the SRT Viper.
In fact, Chrysler just announced that it would suspend production of the Viper for at least two months, leaving 91 hourly workers laid off at the assembly plant in Detroit.
While the Viper definitely has its loyal supporters, apparently the award-winning 2014 Stingray is slicing deeply into the market for two-seater sports cars. Some experts blame the rough winter weather, too, but it hasn’t hurt the Corvette.
Compare the numbers. The Stingray sold 2,261 units in January followed by 2,438 in February for a total of 4,699. The Viper, on the other hand, moved only 91 cars during the first two months of 2014 – combined!
It could be something of a miracle if the suspension of the Viper production ends anytime soon, considering that as of March 1, dealers reported an unsold stock of 756 cars.
Based on the sales figures for the first two months of 2014, it would take more than eight months to sell all the Vipers already produced.
While Chrysler claims that Viper never has been a big seller – only 20,000 units have ever been produced over the past 20 years – the pathetic sales figures in 2014 are definitely not what SRT wants to see.
Production of the Viper will wind down on April 14, with resumption planned for the week of June 23.
In addition to its slow sales woes, Autoweek has learned that the factory backed SRT Vipers will be backing out racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The SRT Viper returned to ALMS competition last year and made the trip to the Le Mans in 2013, its first since 2001.
In response to the news that Viper will be pulling out of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan says he is disappointed that the crosstown rivals at SRT will not be racing in France:
“As everyone knows, Viper played a key role in the initial days of the Corvette Racing program,” Fehan told Autoweek. “All those early battles created huge interest and enjoyment both stateside and at Le Mans. It is certainly disappointing to learn that our American countrymen won’t be joining us this year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They will certainly be missed by road racing fans from around the world.”
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