An old adage says that imitation is the best form of flattery. Obviously we were not the only ones that recognized the high bar in terms of value set by Chevrolet’s performance leader, the Corvette Z06. The folks over in Auburn Hills (that’s Chrysler headquarters) also have come to realize that the 600 SRT Vipers sitting unsold weren’t flying out the dealers’ doors; in fact they aren’t even limping out the doors, and compared to the new Corvette Z06 things were obviously going to get worse for SRT’s sports car.
Last month only 38 SRT 2014 Vipers were sold. That rate of sale equates to a full year and a half supply of unsold 2014 cars and the 2015s are on their way. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to realize that when the new Corvette Z06 hits the dealerships in late December or early January things for the Viper wouldn’t get any better especially considering the price of a 2014 SRT Viper is $101, 300, over $20K more than the more potent 2015 Z06.
So Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis took an innovative approach to incent potential buyers to sign on the dotted line for a new Viper. Rather than just throw a rebate at the challenge he decided to lower the price of the 2015 SRT Viper and the remaining unsold 2014 cars to a price (adjusted for inflation) comparable to the Viper’s price the year it was introduced, 1992. In 1992 the new Viper sold for $50,700, which in today’s dollars equates to $86,100, just above where the new 2015 Viper SRT will start $84,995. Kuniskis is offering the substantial $15K price reduction on the 2015 Viper in hopes of at least doubling or tripling the sales.
So what about those buyers of new 2013 and 2014 Vipers? Commendably Viper owners that already bought the all new 2013 Viper and the 2014 Viper will be given a $15,000 certificate towards a the purchase of the new Viper—whether they trade in their existing car or purchase a new Viper outright. And this $15,000 certificate is in addition to the $15,000 price reduction! It is a commendable move designed to recognize the importance of existing Viper owners. In addition all Dodge dealers will now be allowed to sell the Viper as another attempt to beef up sales.
But the real story here is what all of this says about the Corvette Z06 and the Corvette C7 in regards to the tremendous value inherent in the Corvette brand. There is no “catch up” or “reactionary” pricing necessary for the Corvette brand, the value is already in place and offered to Corvette buyers at the time of purchase. Though the approach Kuniskis has taken shows an innovative approach to helping cure the sales problem and get the pricing more realistic, it is clearly something not necessary at Chevrolet.
This is illustrated on a similar comparison to the new Corvette in regard to pricing. If we use the same year the Viper used, 1992, the Corvette MSRP was $33, 635; adjusting for inflation that would be comparable to $57,117 in 2014 dollars, while the MSRP for a 2015 C7 Stingray is $54,000. Also the new 2015 Viper SRT discounted price of $84,995 is still a hefty $6,000 about the new Z06 pricing.
Based on dealer allocation for the new Z06 if you want to get one of the 2015 models you better get your order in especially in light of the fact that some dealers are already reporting they have deposits for their entire 2015 allocation.
Rick Tavel writes about automobiles with an emphasis on Corvettes and the hobby in general. You can see his website at Corvetted.
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