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Dodge Viper may leave Chrysler


Third parties interested in exploring future possibilities

Chrysler's iconic Dodge Viper sportscar brand may soon be on the block, the automaker said on Wednesday.

"Chrysler is preparing to explore strategic options for the Dodge Viper business. This strategic review comes as the company focuses on enhancing its core business and leveraging its assets," it said.

The move parallels Detroit rival GM's move to pare off the Hummer brand, which has reportedly attracted recent interest from two separate investors in the Gulf Arab region. "For sure, there has been interest from various parties within the Gulf," General Motors Middle East managing director Terry Johnsson told Reuters yesterday.

"As the company evaluates strategic options to maximise core operations and leverage its assets, we have agreed to listen to these parties. We will do so keeping in mind the best interests of those who have shown tremendous support for the vehicle - including employees, suppliers, dealers and a worldwide group of loyal Viper owners and enthusiasts.

The company stressed the strategic review was unique to the Viper specialty vehicle while it works to strengthen Dodge's core model line with four 2009 models - Journey minivan, Challenger sports coupe, Durango Hybrid SUV and Dodge Ram truck - while promising "more exciting vehicles in the near future".

The Viper is hand-built in a low-volume, modular process at Chrysler's Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit, which operates largely independent of other production facilities.

The vehicle was introduced as a concept at the 1989 Detroit show and was first available as a 1992 production model.

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