It has been long suggested that the newest Dodge Viper is too expensive for what it is. In light of new pricing for the 2015 Viper, Car and Driver seem to imply that that’s still not enough compared to the price-for-performance Corvette Z06. But really, the Dodge Viper’s problem (and subsequent slow sales) are not because it’s not cheap enough. Really.
The Corvette is not America’s supercar, even if it has the power and performance to compete with the supercars from Italy. The Corvette started as a muscle car and evolved into a sports car. It’s a damn good sports car, too. The Viper’s formula has always been supercar, for better or for worse.
Yes, the Hemi Hellcat engine makes more horsepower than the naturally-aspirated V10 in the Viper. On paper, it’s embarrassing that a four-door family sedan makes more power than the same company’s supercar. But the Hellcat’s formula is muscle car simple; take a big engine and add a stupid amount of boost. The Viper’s naturally-aspirated approach is much more appealing to many performance car enthusiasts. Yes, it needs a horsepower bump, but it needs to be done in a uniquely Viper way.
With Ferrari, at least for the time being, under the same umbrella as Dodge, you’d think they’d have this supercar thing figured out. Ferrari has been doing this supercar thing for a lot longer than Dodge has, but there was a time where Ferrari sold a lot of cars that really weren’t that good.
So what does Dodge really need to do to help the Viper out? First, they do need to address the V10. It doesn’t necessarily need more power, but updating it new technology and a bit more power can go a long way in making the car look fresh. No, it doesn’t need a Hellcat. Even if it would be able to fit inside the car, it’s not an engine that really belongs in that type of car.
Second, they really need to find a way to shoehorn an automatic-type transmission in there. I know it’s heresy to want an automatic in a high-performance car, but offering an automatic opens up more doors to people to buy it. And let’s be real for a moment, car companies are in the business of making cars and selling them. The selling part is the key part.
Does it need to be more tame; more livable? I don’t think so. There’s a certain personality that’s uniquely Viper in there. That needs to stay.
So to recap;
- A Corvette, even in Z06 trim, is a sports car. A Viper is a supercar. Different markets.
- The Viper isn’t too expensive.
- An automatic transmission would really be valuable here.
Making the car more exotic and bumping up the price might even be a smart play here. Rumor has it Ford is bringing out a new GT soon, and that’s where the Viper’s competition really resides.