More stories related to 2005 NAIAS The dust has yet to settle on the hood of Chrysler Group’s new Firepower performance coupe concept, yet the vehicle already has a committed champion within the ranks.

Trevor Creed, head of Chrysler’s design office, calls the Dodge Viper-based concept, “The most exciting product I have been involved in since the ME Four-Twelve,” which debuted at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.

“I really like it. I could imagine it in my garage,” he adds.

Chrysler Firepower concept

Creed says the Firepower would be the perfect competitor for Aston Martin and even the Chevrolet Corvette, with ride and handling more akin to a GT sports car, as opposed to the Viper’s racecar roots.

“It wouldn’t have anywhere near the aggressiveness or the acute handling of a Viper. It would be much more refined and more comfortable,” he says.

Creed envisions the Firepower having the same halo effect on the Chrysler brand as the Viper brought to Dodge.

Chrysler has room in Detroit at its Conner Ave. plant, where the Viper is handcrafted. The plant also used to build the Prowler roadster.

“If we did anything like this it would have to be a very, very affordable vehicle,” Creed adds. “If you were in the Corvette (price) range, maybe you could anticipate something less than Corvette volumes, because that is an already established name.”

Since the Firepower utilizes the less-expensive 6.1L Hemi V-8 engine and most of Viper’s bits and pieces, the business case could easily be made. But Creed isn’t ready to commit himself, just yet.

kekelly@primediabusiness.com