- Fiat Chrysler published its annual US sales report on Tuesday.
- The automaker sold four Dodge Vipers in 2020, according to the report. The Dodge Viper was discontinued in 2017.
- The automaker also sold three Jeep Patriots, despite the car being discontinued at the end of 2016.
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As automakers roll out their end-of-year sales reports, it’s always entertaining to keep an eye out for fun oddities. Here’s one from Fiat Chrysler, which managed to sell four (4) Dodge Vipers in 2020 — a car that had been discontinued three years prior.
FCA released its fourth-quarter and full-year sales results on Tuesday. Only the Jeep Gladiator pickup truck and Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV managed to post positive sales in 2020 over 2019, but the most interesting tidbit of information present, by far, was the fact that the automaker managed to sell four Vipers.
It’s not totally unheard of for dealers to keep selling cars after they’ve been discontinued. Sometimes, dealers will buy cars from the manufacturers but they won’t sell them immediately, holding onto them as centerpieces or demo vehicles. This very thing happened with a handful of 2012 Lexus LFAs showing up as unsold at dealerships in 2017.
It’s unclear which dealers sold the Vipers, but it’s heartening — yet not surprising — to know there are still new ones out there that people want to buy. This is because the Dodge Viper was one of the most iconic American muscle cars ever made.
It started life in the early 1990s with an 8.0-liter V10 engine, a six-speed manual transmission, a canvas roof, no outside door handles, no air conditioning, no airbags, no traction control, and no ABS. In other words, a perfect vehicle.
Famously, most Viper models had side-exit exhaust pipes located just beneath their doors. As exhaust pipes do, these tended to get hot after extended periods of driving and owners could burn their ankles and calves on them upon exiting the vehicle if they weren’t careful. Again, this was a feature and not a bug.
By the time the fifth-generation Viper rolled around in 2013 — the final generation — the car was actually quite refined. True, the engine had been enlarged to 8.4 liters and was making a claimed 640 horsepower, but it had just as much technology on it as other modern sports cars: electronic stability control, ABS, and traction control.
In 2017, the Viper officially ended production because it could not meet new safety standards that took effect in September of that year. The Viper’s low sales numbers probably didn’t do it any favors, either. Motor Trend reported in 2017 that just 630 Vipers were sold the year before.
Not long after production ceased, the Viper’s factory was turned into an FCA historic car storage facility. The very last Dodge Viper built was auctioned off along with the last Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and the pair fetched $1 million.
At least the Viper wasn’t FCA’s worst seller of 2020. That award goes to the Ram Cargo Van (one sold) and the Jeep Patriot (three sold). The latter was discontinued at the end of 2016 and considerably less cool than the Viper.