Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chrysler says parties interested in buying ViperBy David Bailey

DETROIT, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Chrysler LLC has drawn interest from international and North American parties for the possible sale of its high-performance Dodge Viper sports car line, Vice Chairman and President Jim Press told reporters on Wednesday.

Chrysler in late August announced it was exploring the sale of the Viper sports car business as part of its effort to generate cash and ride out the deepening U.S. auto industry downturn. The Viper is a low-volume V10-powered sports car first produced in 1992.

"We have been approached by outside individuals who want to work with us to buy the asset and sustain Viper going forward," Press told reporters after an Automotive Press Association event.

Viper needs development, and Chrysler is putting its money into advanced technology, Press said, adding later that the future of the automotive industry lies in the development of battery technology.

"Someone who is better able to make money in a business model that is hand-built 50 units at a time, those people can invest in the product, expand the product line and make it a much more robust vehicle," Press said. "I think that will preserve Viper to the fullest."

Press said it would not be necessary for Chrysler to retain any stake in the sports car line. He added that it was difficult for an organization to focus on building 300,000 vans per year profitably and low-volume hand-built sports cars.

Chrysler sold about 680 Viper sports cars in the first eight months of the year.

The privately held car company has struggled along with other automakers through a downturn in U.S. sales in recent years that has landed hardest on large trucks and SUVs.

Chrysler, which retained Lazard as its financial adviser on Viper, had said earlier that it had identified about $1 billion in non-earning assets for potential sale to raise cash. (Additional reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

1 comment:

Aaron Wyse said...

Chrysler needs to stop the ridiculous talk of selling off the Viper line. It would end up somebodies love child contraption that would destroy the reputation Dodge built with the car they designed. The car would make a more graceful demise if they'd politely run the assembly line into a tree.
If the company would listen as "Chrysler listens" would lead to proclaim. There would have never been talk in that direction in the first place.
Had Diamler not bled the company dry and depleted it down to the point where Cerberus has to work to rebuild assests; this would not be an issue.
It is difficult to maintain an optimistic outlook as I've had to watch from the sidelines to see a company I've loved and fought for for decades mismanaged into financial troubles.
Mine is one of the most sincere outbursts of constructive criticism only because it is 100% from the heart.
Please--- Keep the Viper where it belongs; do the finetuning to the model lineups; and just let us outsell the imports, GM & Ford.