Sales of the long-discontinued sports car were down 20 percent year over year, but not out.
The Dodge Viper, the wild, on-again/off-again 10-cylinder sports car that menaced roads since the early 1990s under different brand names went out of production in 2017. That didn’t mark the end of the line for the Viper, it seems. While Dodge stopped making the things long ago, a few have apparently been lurking on dealer lots these past few years, coiled and waiting to strike the right buyer. Really? Really. Dodge parent company Fiat Chrysler released its full 2020 sales figures today, and right there in the charts with sales totals for the Ram truck, Jeep, Chrysler, and Fiat brands in addition to Dodge was a familiar if unexpected reptilian name: Viper.
It turns out, Dodge sold four Vipers in 2020, a year over year decrease of 20 percent. We’ve reached out to FCA for clarity on whether any more brand-new Vipers exist in dealer inventories, or if these four were the last out there. (Our money is on there being a non-zero number of new Vipers still slithering through dealer inventories around the country, but we look forward to FCA’s response.) Amusingly, despite only selling two brand-new, three-plus-year-old Vipers through the first three quarters of 2020, Dodge doubled up that sales performance with another two Viper deals in Q4. Way to pull through in the clutch. As for an explanation, it’s possible one or more of the cars have been slinking around, accumulating some light mileage while wearing dealer plates or serving as decorations/foot-traffic generators before only now being titled as new cars.
The Viper wasn’t even the strangest inclusion on FCA’s 2020 sales charts, either, even if it was the most notable. We spotted a single Jeep Patriot—the tragically cheap and underwhelming crossover which also died in 2017—haunting a line in Q4. That lone survivor joined two other Patriots sold during the rest of the year to generate a whopping three sales for FCA’s popular Jeep brand in 2020. Chrysler even managed to off-load nine of its long-discontinued 200 sedans onto some customers this year, and Dodge nearly matched that with seven new Dart sales in 2020, as well. The 200 and Dart have been out of production since 2016!
Will there ever be another Viper, one whose sales won’t inspire awe and curiosity? Rumors have circulated, but there are no known plans for Fiat Chrysler to resurrect the famously hairy-chested sports car. But, hey, a new-old one might be at a dealership near you.