Aston Martin Cleared to Sell DB9, Vantage in U.S. without Curtain Airbags

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Carnage, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Carnage

    Carnage SRT Hellcat Supercharged Moderator Staff Member Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member HCC Charter Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2014
    Messages:
    12,108
    Likes Received:
    3,265
    Trophy Points:
    823
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    Challenger SRT Hellcat
    Source caranddriver

    Thanks, Obama! Aston Martin Cleared to Sell DB9, Vantage in U.S. without Curtain Airbags
    [​IMG]
    It wasn’t because the Republicans dominated the midterm elections, but, really, who cares how it happened: The government is letting Aston Martin continue to sell the DB9and the Vantage for the next two to three years.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, taking mercy on Aston’s small-builder status, 230 dealership employees, and financial hardship, granted a waiver for the British automaker to sell the last of its DB9 and Vantage models without side-curtain airbags. The agency enacted a more rigorous pole and side-barrier crash-test standard in 2010 that every automaker, except Aston Martin, had worked to comply with as of September. In July 2013, Aston Martin submitted a petitionclaiming the safety modifications, at $30 million, would put the company in jeopardy and cut its four-car lineup in half. It didn’t look good.

    Aston, however, had the federal agency’s lethargic reaction timesin its favor. NHTSA was silent as its own September 1 deadline passed, even after a dealer in Los Gatos, California, posted another petition in mid-October. The waiver, finally posted on Halloween, allows Aston Martin to import the 670 cars it had planned through 2017 completely unchanged, albeit with disclaimer labels placed somewhere on the door. The Rapide and Vanquishmodels already comply with the crash tests and come with curtain airbags.

    [​IMG]
    NHTSA said Aston Martin had met “evidence of a good-faith effort” to comply by first installing side airbags eight years ago, well before the current rule was adopted. It also reviewed crash-dummy readings from a DB9 side-impact test in 2011 that actually passed under the new rules and said that Aston Martin was “expeditiously working toward producing fully compliant next-generation DB9 and Vantage vehicles.” (As we’ve learned, the next DB9 will bow no later than September 2016 and an all-new Vantage will arrive a year later.) According to NHTSA, no one has been seriously injured or killed from a side-impact crash in a DB9 or Vantage, and since the vehicles are obviously not commuter cages, any added safety risk was “negligible.” They also felt bad about losing American jobs at ridiculously expensive car dealerships that, as of now, are “barely profitable.” Aston Martin sells roughly 800 cars per year in the U.S.

    As cut and dry as this ruling may seem, there was no guarantee the feds would offer relief given their rather arbitrary ruling process over safety waivers. Three years earlier, Lotus and Pagani were denied similar airbag waivers and were barred from selling certain models. And Ferrari, since being fined $3.5 million by NHTSA, is no longer treated as a small-volume automaker since Fiat took over Chrysler, despite Ferrari being a Fiat subsidiary since 1969 (go figure out that logic.) Now would be a good time for Aston dealers to use their posh fountain pens and write a few thank-you cards.
     

Share This Page