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Why did the price of a Viper go up so?:

At a staged media event at Caesars Palace on Tuesday, DaimlerChrysler introduced two new models and announced a large, multiyear endorsement deal with Dion, the platinum-selling Canadian chanteuse.

Dion made her appearance by driving one of the models out from behind a black velvet curtain onto a viewing platform. "I always have chauffeurs to drive me," she said with a giggle as she emerged from the sleek, silver Crossfire prototype.

After emerging, she said it was the first time she had driven a car in at least a decade. (When I asked her later if she even had a driver's license she didn't respond.)

After she spent a few minutes comparing Chrysler automobiles and her songs to love and passion, she took some questions from the assembled ink-stained wretches.

The first inquiries were pretty simple: How long was her Chrysler contract? How much money she would be paid? Why, exactly she was doing it? Did she need the money?

"I do not talk about money, and I am not going to start now," she snapped.

For a deal estimated to be in the seven-figure range, all Dion has to do is record a new song that will be the music for a commercial, make a few appearances at tightly controlled company events and ... that's about all.

Oh, and drive something from her new fleet of Chryslers.

"As a mom, I expect to be spending a great deal of time behind the wheel of my new Town & Country minivan," she said after she calmed down a bit.

Right, whatever you say, honey . . .
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