The first Dodge Viper GTS coupes began arriving June 3 in U.S. showrooms. Chrysler plans to build about 1,700 coupes during the calendar year, said executive engineer Roy Sjoberg. The U.S. market will get about 1,400 coupes, while the rest of the production will go to Canada and Europe. Sjoberg said versions for Europe will hit the market in September.
The coupe becomes the second model of the plastics-intensive Viper sports car, joining the RT/10 convertible, which was introduced in the 1992 model year. The coupe is 70 pounds lighter than the convertible, and sells for $73,030, including destination charge, which is $7,770 more than the convertible.
The Viper uses resin transfer molding to form the body and undercarriage panels, and the hoods are manufactured with sheet molding compound.
Chrysler will produce only coupes during the rest of this year. It will begin building coupes and convertibles in January.Sjoberg predicts that coupes will represent more than half of all Viper sales.
The Viper GTS-R racing coupe goes on sale in August. Two versions will be offered: a 525- horsepower model for $200,000 and a 670-horsepower version for $270,000.
Sjoberg said the racing car can be purchased only from the factory and cannot be driven on public roads.
He said the company probably will build one or two GTS-R models a month.