We’ve known for a while that the new Dodge Viper would be beating its way to a triumphant return soon, but Chrysler has now made it official: according to the car maker, the 2013 Viper will begin rolling off the assembly line starting in late 2012. In fact, they’re reopening their Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit just for Viper production, a move that restores 150 jobs to the city. Apparently employment in Detroit is still so scarce, adding 150 new jobs in a city of 700,000 warrants mentioning in the first paragraph of the press release. Wow.
On an interesting side note, Chrysler goes out of their way to avoid referring to the new Viper as the “Dodge Viper” anywhere in the press release. Anytime the car’s full name is given, it’s called the “SRT Viper.” Likewise, the release refers to SRT as a separate brand—”Chrysler Group…produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mopar, SRT and Fiat vehicles”—which makes us wonder if the car maker plans on spinning their go-fast department off into a completely separate brand.
Does this mean we’ll eventually see the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep names struck from SRT models? Or will the Viper be the only car given the special naming treatment? We’ll have to wait and see, but if Chrysler plans on badging their performance cars exclusively as SRTs, we’re gonna have to register a complaint. Take away Ram, take away the Viper, and take away the SRT models, and the only cool car Dodge has left is the Challenger R/T. That ain’t right. [via Chrysler]
Pictured: Previous-generation DODGE Viper SRT-10.
The Snake Returns to Chrysler Group’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant
Conner Plant reopens to produce 2013 SRT Viper
Nearly 150 jobs to return to Detroit
New Viper to roll off the line in late 2012
December 13, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it will reopen its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit for the production of the next generation SRT Viper. With the plant’s reopening, nearly 150 jobs, both hourly and salaried, will return to the City of Detroit.
The Conner facility was idled when production of the Dodge Viper ended in July 2010.
“The next generation Viper will make its return to the product lineup in late 2012 as a 2013 model,” said Ralph Gilles, President and Chief Executive Officer – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “We’re extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City.”
Current Chrysler Group hourly employees who previously worked at Conner were first offered the opportunity to return to their home plant. The balance of the positions will be filled by hourly employees volunteering to transfer to the Conner Avenue plant.
Conner Avenue will begin building the new Viper in late 2012, but employees began reporting for training and orientation this fall.
In preparation for the reopening, the Conner facility will begin its transformation by implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM), a system that is focused on reducing waste and making continuous improvements throughout the assembly process to improve quality and productivity.
Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant, then moved to the Conner Avenue site in October 1995. All Vipers that rolled off the line were hand-built in a low-volume, modular process. Over the course of 15 years, Conner Avenue employees built about 12 vehicles a day for a total of 22,070 Vipers.
The reopening of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant reaffirms Chrysler Group’s commitment to the City of Detroit as the only auto manufacturer with two assembly plants in the city.
About the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant
The Conner Avenue Assembly Plant was built in 1966 and purchased by Chrysler in 1995. Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Prowler production began in May 1997 and ended in February 2002. Viper V-10 Engine production was transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Assembly in May 2001. In 2003, the newly engineered SRT10 Roadster hit the market and the SRT10 Coupe followed in 2005. With a production run of 28,056, Viper production ended on July 2, 2010. As a result, the facility was idled.