SRT Viper Convertible Is Coming - Or Is It?
- A report in WardsAuto says that a convertible version of the SRT Viper is in the works, but industry sources tell Edmunds that the drop top is not showing up in any product-cycle plans.
- One source said that advocates of the SRT Viper convertible are "fighting an internal battle" to get the car into production.
- One analyst's forecast that stretches to 2020 does not show any plan for an SRT Viper convertible.
DETROIT — A report in WardsAuto says that a convertible version of Chrysler's SRT Viper is in the works, but three industry sources tell Edmunds that the drop top is not showing up in any product-cycle plans.
The sources asked not to be identified because of the confidential nature of the information.
One source said that advocates of the SRT Viper convertible are "fighting an internal battle" to get the car into production and that any talk of a convertible is "thinking out loud."
Another analyst's forecast that stretches to 2020 does not show any plan for an SRT Viper convertible.
A Chrysler spokesman contacted by Edmunds on Tuesday would not confirm the WardsAuto story about a convertible version of the SRT Viper.
Chrysler's long-term product plans revealed to analysts last month showed an unidentified model being added to the SRT line in the 2017 model year. That model is presumed to be the Viper convertible or a spiritual successor to the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. The redesigned 2013 Viper is marketed under the SRT brand, the Chrysler Group's performance label. The previous Viper generations were marketed under the Dodge brand.
The first-generation Viper went on sale in 1992, and up until the redesigned 2013 model, the automaker introduced the convertible first when each new generation debuted, followed years later by a coupe. The automaker reversed the cycle when the 2013 SRT Viper was introduced last year as a hardtop only.
Viper's development team decided to introduce the coupe because it was more suited to compete in racing events this year. So far, Chrysler plans to participate in the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. Two SRT Viper GTS-Rs are being prepared for the race.
WardsAuto noted that in 2003, it took four years for the hardtop Viper to join the convertible lineup.
"We won't wait that long" to begin selling a convertible version of the new Viper, Ralph Gilles, president of Chrysler's SRT performance division, told the publication. Asked how long it will take for the convertible to arrive, Gilles said he "hopes within a few years," said WardsAuto.
One industry source who did not want to be identified doubted whether "there is a big enough market for a convertible version of the SRT Viper" and expressed concern over the "monumental engineering required because of torsional rigidity."
Total Viper output is estimated at 2,000-2,500 cars per year.
Gilles told WardsAuto that removing the top of the 2013 SRT Viper will be simple because "the car was designed to be a convertible."
In comparison, General Motors didn't waste any time announcing a convertible version of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The drop top Corvette will debut in early March at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show.
Edmunds says: Here's hoping that the advocates of the SRT Viper convertible win out in the end.