DODGE VIPER PLANT TO CLOSE
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will close its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, home to the Dodge Viper sports car, effective Aug. 31, the automaker said in a notice to the state.
The company said it expects to offer the 87 employees affected by the plant closure jobs at other FCA locations, the automaker said in a letter to the state. Hourly workers are represented by UAW Local 212.
The closure is not a surprise; the company in June 2016 announced the 2017 model would be the last for the American supercar.
“We are still committed to the City of Detroit, and the Conner Avenue facility will remain part of that,” FCA spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.
Tinson declined to elaborate on the company’s plans for the Conner Avenue facility. FCA also operates the Jefferson North Assembly Plant on the city’s east side. The Conner Avenue facility, located south of Eight Mile and east of Van Dyke, is not far from the company’s Warren Truck Plant.
The fifth-generation “Snake” has an 8.4-liter V-10 engine delivering 645 horsepower and 600 foot-pounds of torque. The company offered six special-edition models to commemorate the car’s final year and 25th anniversary.
The handcrafted sports car starts at about $90,000 and Fiat Chrysler says there are still some of the cars in dealer stock.
Viper sales are up 33 percent this year through June to 402 vehicles.
More than 30,000 Vipers have been built in Detroit since its debut. They were built at the Mack Avenue Assembly Plant from 1992-1994, and at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant since 1995. The sports car was not produced from July 2010 to December 2012. Fiat Chrysler refurbished the plant in 2012 to relaunch production of a new Viper for the 2013 model year.
The 392,000-square-foot plant — one of the few auto factories remaining in the city — opened in 1966 as a Champion Spark Plug plant. Chrysler Corp. purchased it in 1995. The plant, which also hand-builds V-10 engines, for a time produced the Prowler, SRT10 Roadster and SRT10 Coupe.