Dodge will use Fiat technology to improve the performance and accessibility of the next generation of its Viper, due in 2012. However, the car looks set to retain its own platform rather than becoming too closely linked to Ferrari's and Alfa Romeo's product lines.
Fiat, Dodge's new owner, gave approval to the new Viper earlier this fall, and Fiat Group chief Sergio Marchionne revealed a preview of the car to Dodge dealers in September. But the new model was expected to make extensive use of the Fiat parts bin; some sources had even suggested that it could be based on the same platform as Alfa Romeo's 8C Competizione. However, Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles has now revealed that the Viper will get a chassis setup designed with assistance from Fiat but not derived from another product.
The car “is not based on anything else,” he told the Detroit News. “Where the cabin is, relative to the wheels, is unique. The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore.
“We will use Fiat's expertise to open the performance envelope in the Viper,” he added. “Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars. I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car.”
Gilles ruled out the idea of the Viper switching to Ferrari power but admitted that there won't be a part of the car that's not open to a radical overhaul. It's thought that two engines could be offered in the new Viper: an 8.4-liter V10, possibly making us of Fiat's innovative MultiAir technology, and an entry-level V8.
Production of the current Viper stopped in July, after 18 years. Chrysler has yet to commit to where its successor will be built, although it's thought that the line will be kept in Detroit.