FCA Almost Sold The Dodge Viper To A Group Of Private Investors
The deal fell through because the investors backed out on the advice of James Glickenhausby Kirby, on
The problems that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has had with Dodge Viper is well-documented. As it turns out, the Viper was such a problem that FCA almost sold it to a group of deep-pocketed enthusiasts a few years ago. Word of this a rather shocking revelation that comes from The Truth About Cars, which managed to talk to none other than noted car collector James Glickenhaus, who himself had first-hand knowledge of the proposed deal.
According to TTAC, Glickenhaus served as an adviser to the group of investors who eventually backed out of the deal after doing their due diligence on the Viper’s business. Glickenahus himself advised on not doing the deal, arguing that anybody who ends up buying the business would have to sell “three times the number of Vipers” that Chrysler has been selling annually “just to break even.”
Considering how much trouble FCA already has had in convincing people to buy the Viper, the targets were simply too difficult to attain. That’s not to say that the group was in over its head from the very beginning because, apparently, they had the financial means to pull it off. It would just be too much of a headache to partake in and, ultimately, would not be worth all the trouble.
A spokesperson for FCA told TTAC that it wasn’t shopping the Viper “at this point in time” but refused to comment on whether the discussions with this group even took place. Glickenhaus did say that the automaker was receptive to the idea of selling the Viper, even adding that the deal, had it gone through, would have also included the production facility where it’s being built.
Whether the negotiations happened or not, none of it will change the current fate of the Viper, which is headed to retirement very soon now that FCA has thrown the white flag on the model.
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Why it matters
I’ve always believed that if there’s anything good that FCA can get out of the Viper these days, it’s that it should get someone to write a book about the car’s history because that would make for a great read. People forget that, at one point in time, the Viper was considered the premier American sports car, and a worthy competitor to some of the exotics that were being built across the Atlantic. But, it’s been a long time since the Viper has been regarded in such high esteem.
These days, FCA can’t even get people to buy the car without slashing prices and offering customization incentives along the way. Worse, those gimmicks didn’t even yield the desired results that the automaker was looking for. It’s all come to this for the Dodge Viper and this revelation that it was almost sold to a group of private collectors and enthusiasts only adds to the legend of the model.
I don’t know if it happened or not, but I know that Glickenhaus is as connected as any person is in the US auto scene. If he says it happened, it probably did. If the transaction ended up taking place, it would have been very interesting to see what this group would have done to the Viper. It’s a nice “what-if” now that we all know what FCA plans to do to the car.
To be clear, the company itself said that this likely won’t be a permanent death for the Viper. Depending on what happens in the future, FCA could bring back the model in a far different configuration than what the industry has been used to. If it comes to that, the new model would have to share a platform with another model for the company to cut costs in producing the car. Then there’s the V-10 engine, which has always been the Viper’s true calling card. While it would make sense from a nostalgic point to keep the V-10 to retain the car’s rip-roaring identity, it’s unlikely to be the case if FCA does bring back the model in the future.