Sergio Marchionne Says a New Viper Isn’t in the FCA Five Year Plan

Automotive News 27 June 5, 2018 by

Less than a week ago we told you about a report from Car and Driver signaling the return of the Viper. At that time we were a bit skeptical since the rumor lacked a source. Now in a Tweet from Todd Lassa from Automobile magazine, it looks like we were right to question it.

According to Lassa, the question of a new Viper came up at the FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) “Capital Markets Day” presentation.

When asked, Sergio Marchionne responded that the Viper is currently not in the five-year plan for FCA. The reason? The car wasn’t profitable, nor would it work with a “cute” Euro-style engine.

We tend to agree. A Viper without the iconic, massive V10 lacks the Cobra-like essence of the original car. However, cute isn’t exactly the word we’d use to describe a V8, especially ones from the FCA lineup.

On the flip side, this might just be a ruse from Marchionne. The Viper may very well be a top-secret project. By flat-out denying its existence, FCA would at least stop the automotive press from continuing to ask about it.

Another theory is the return of the Viper is just a concept that’s in the works. The first Viper prototype came along in 1989, making next year the 30th anniversary. Marking this occasion with a homage to the original would go over well – especially at the Detroit Auto Show.

Perhaps the best explanation though is that FCA is looking at a new sports car. While FCA didn’t mention anything during the presentation, it’s not out of the question.

The Challenger, along with the LX platform it rides on is starting to show its age. The underpinnings of the car date back to 2005 — or even earlier in their original Mercedes form — and are certainly due for a refresh. The design of the Challenger is also still fairly similar to how it was when it hit the market a decade ago.

Both the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro are now in their sixth generations and only a few years old. If FCA wants to continue to compete, it needs to do more than just throw gobs of power at the car like with the Hellcat and Demon.

A lightweight, rear-drive sports car with suspension from the Euro side of FCA is intriguing. Throw the second generation 6.2-liter Hellcat into the equation and the competition will start trembling. Meanwhile, FCA could anchor the other end of the lineup with the 2.0-liter turbo I4 from the new Jeep Wrangler. That’d arguably make the Challenger more of a world car.

Once the auto show season starts to heat up again towards the end of the year, chances are we’ll know more.

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