Reporting Jeff Gilbert
Chrysler says it’s going to reopen its Connor Avenue Plant in Northeast Detroit, to pave the way for production of an all new SRT Viper.
“The next generation Viper will make its return to the product lineup in late 2012 as a 2013 model,” said SRT Brand & Motorsports President/CEO Ralph Gilles. “We’re extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City.”
The move will bring 150 jobs back to the City of Detroit, and will make Chrysler the only automaker to have two plants in Detroit. The plant doesn’t employ as many workers as a traditional auto plant, because Vipers are built by hand by a specially trained team.
Those who worked at the Connor Avenue Plant before it was idled in 2010 will have first opportunity to transfer back. Chrysler has already begun transforming the plant in preparation for the resumption of Viper production next year. Like all Chrysler plants, Connor Avenue will be shifted to the Fiat designed “World Class Manufacturing” system.
During the initial 1995-2010 Viper production run at Conner, employees hand-built 22,070 Vipers in a low-volume, modular process.
Chrysler has kept the look of the next generation Viper a closely guarded secret. It’s likely to be introduced at an auto show in the first half of 2012.