Chrysler to Reopen Detroit plant

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Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press:


Chrysler plans to reopen its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit to produce the next generation SRT Viper, the Free Press has learned.

The decision is expected to create about 150 jobs, both hourly and salaried, giving the city of Detroit a much needed boost.

Production will begin in late 2012, but training and changes at the plant, idled in 2010, will begin sooner.

In Detroit, the unemployment rate was 19.2% in October — nearly double than the state’s 10.6% unemployment rate, according to state figures.

“We’re extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City,” Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Chrysler’s SRT Brand and Motorsports said in a statement. “The next generation Viper will make its return to the product lineup in late 2012 as a 2013 model.”

SRT is Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology brand.

Chrysler did not release any photos of the Viper on Tuesday.

Back in 2010, Gilles tantalized reporters with a glimpse of a sketch of a possible successor to the Dodge Viper exotic sports car at the Chicago Auto Show. The sketch featured what appeared to be a ring of red LED lighting around a high, squared-off rear end

The Free Press has previously reported that the Viper is expected to share some chassis and powertrain technology with Fiat’s luxury Maserati and Ferrari brands. Chrysler declined to comment on that possibility today.

While the Viper was never sold in high volumes, the powerful two-seat sports car breathed life into Dodge when it debuted but was discontinued in 2010 as Chrysler went through a painful restructuring.

Dodge first showed a concept version of the Viper at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 1989. Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and moved to the Conner Avenue site in October 1995.

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