Chrysler says it will explore options to sell the Dodge Viper
--not as a 2009 model, but as a business unit that presumably no longer makes sense in its strategic plan.
The company says it's been approached by potential partners, which means it's been poking around and floating the idea of spinning off the Viper business for a while. While not axing the Viper--yet--a sale would give Dodge and Chrysler more money and brainpower to devote to core products like mid-size sedans, minivans, and hybrids.
Chrysler chief Bob Nardelli says in a release that it's pursuing talks over the Viper, "keeping in mind the best interests of those who have shown tremendous support for the vehicle – including employees, suppliers, dealers and a worldwide group of loyal Viper owners and enthusiasts," adding that the company would offer financial support during a transaction.
How soon will it take the Viper to join the ranks of HUMMER, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover? Chrysler only confirms there's no official timetable involved, but it has retained financial advisors Lazard to shop the Viper business unit.
The Viper was introduced as a concept in 1989, went into production in 1992 and is currently built in downtown Detroit.
Do you think Dodge is making a fatal mistake in sawing off the Viper from its lineup? Tell us in a comment below.