The Viper wasn't done in by poor sales, but by safety regulations.
The Dodge Viper was always the car that never should have been. Low-slung, with a racey space frame chassis, and motivated by a behemoth of a V10 engine - the final iterations of the car packed a whopping 8.4 liters of displacement - the Viper was the pure, unfiltered essence of performance.
And that, in a sense, is what did the car in. As it's been reported, the fifth-generation Dodge Viper simply didn't have the headroom in the cabin to accommodate side curtain airbags, which became mandatory standard equipment in the US starting in 2017. FCA might have investigated raising the Viper's roofline to fit them, but such a change would almost certainly have been prohibitively expensive.
At the least, "it went out on a high," FCA Head of Passenger Cars Tim Kuniskis told Muscle Cars & Trucks recently, noting the Viper ACR's multitude of race track lap records. "Will be ever see another? I don't know. TBD."
A new clean-sheet design of the Dodge Viper could, of course, address the issue of headroom shortage that kept the fifth-generation model from soldiering on into the new decade. But developing a new car from the ground up costs lots of money, and the business case for Dodge's late V10 sports car might be too thin to support such an expenditure.
There have been reports that FCA is planning a Viper revival regardless, sans the V10, with production to start within the next year or two. But if that is the case, Kuniskis and company are keeping things close to their chests. In a way reminiscent of Kuniskis's uncertainty toward the prospect, last summer, FCA Head of Design Ralph Gilles said only that he would like to see the Viper return "in his lifetime."
With the world's increased focus on reducing automotive emissions and leaning into lean, green internal combustion engines and pure-electric propulsion, time is running out.