A 2015 Dodge Viper on the production line at FCA's Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit on May 8, 2015. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
UPDATED: 7/12/17 7:24 am ET - adds details
DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler will permanently close its Conner Assembly Plant here on Aug. 31, as production of the Dodge Viper ends.
In its 2015 contract with the UAW, FCA said it would end production of the low-volume, high-powered $90,000 sports car. No replacement had been planned for the plant.
The plant employs more than 80 people who build Vipers by hand. In a notice filed on June 30 with the state of Michigan, FCA said it expected it would be able to offer positions to all of affected employees at other locations.
Last year, FCA sold 630 Vipers, down 8.7 percent vs. 2015.
Conner is FCA's smallest assembly plant in North America, where the automaker has built the Viper -- with interruptions -- for over 25 years.
FCA has been celebrating the Viper's sunsetting output for more than a year. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Production will end in August because the two-seater cannot meet new safety regulations which go into effect Sept. 1. FCA has been celebrating the Viper's sunsetting production for more than a year.
Over the years, workers at Conner Avenue, many of whom transferred in from other FCA plants in the metro Detroit region, suffered frequent layoffs as Viper sales waxed and waned, but chose to remain at the plant because of its special nature first within Chrysler and later within FCA. The plant operated as a bespoke car assembly facility in terms of the hand-assembly and painting process each Viper underwent.
Larry P. Vellequette contributed to this report.