Dodge will work with Fiat to develop a new version of its iconic Viper sports car that will be sold well into the next decade, it has announced.
Chrysler LLC confirmed the plan for the Viper at a press conference in Detroit designed to outline how it plans to incorporate technology and manufacturing techniques from Fiat, which took a stake in the troubled firm earlier this year.
The V10 Viper, sold as the SRT-10 in the UK, was introduced in 1992. It had been widely expected to be axed as part of the new plans, as Chrysler/Dodge followed rival brands GM and Ford in offering more efficient vehicles.
However, this afternoon the firm announced that 500 further examples of the current car will be built between January and July next year, and that a new model will be developed with assistance from Fiat and its brands. That could mean a tie-up with Maserati, although the relatively low price of the Viper means that shared technology with Alfa Romeo is more likely.
The press conference has not outlined what platform the new Viper will use, and it has omitted any details about the powerplant. One cost-effective option would be to revise the existing Hemi V8 units, and then to fit them into an adapted 300C platform.
The conference has also confirmed that Chrysler LLC will release 11 new vehicles by 2014, and that it will use three platforms from Fiat, one of which will be the 500. Fiat parts will be used to develop a new Fiesta-size hatchback for North America, as well as C and D-segment saloons. The latter will be a replacement for the Avenger.
Chrysler will also re-engineer the current Avenger, Journey and Caravan within the next two years. And Dodge’s Caliber will be repositioned as a ‘youth’ car, and given a revised interior, new colours, new wheels and branding.