It’s frustrating, ridiculous and avoidable.
While reports and rumors are going around that the Dodge Viper may come back in the future, the fact is that the American supercar is going out of production soon. And now we know exactly why. A new report from Motor Trend reveals that the Viper doesn’t meet new occupant-ejection airbag requirements. The vehicle doesn’t comply with a federal safety standard that is meant to prevent occupant ejection. Quite simply, the Viper will be illegal to sell by 2017 because it lacks side-curtain airbags.
According to Motor Trend, engineers at Dodge can’t fit side-curtain airbags into the Viper without reducing its already pitiful amount of headroom. That means the Viper won’t meet federal requirement FMVSS 226—“Ejection Mitigation”—and therefore can’t legally be sold by 2017. Introduced in 2011, FMVSS 226 is meant to prevent passengers from being thrown from the vehicle in rollover or side-impact crashes. To meet this requirement, vehicles have to be fitted with larger side-curtain airbags that help block the car's window, which the Viper doesn’t have. Automakers were allowed a period of time to introduce “ejection mitigation” features and only 75 percent of an automaker’s cars made between September 2015 and September 2016 must meet the standard.
However, vehicles made after August 31, 2016 need to meet FMVSS 226. While there’s a chance that the Viper will come back in the future, the vehicle will have to be radically different to meet these safety standards and bring in more sales. The Viper totaled only 676 sales in the US in 2015, which was down 11 percent compared to 2014. The Viper may not be the best supercar on the road, but it’s sad to see it die because of a relatively simple fix.