The U.S. Aston Martin dealers might be forced to shut down. They need an exemption to the safety rules in place from the federal regulators in order to keep selling all four models the British luxury sports car producer makes.
At the moment, U.S. Aston Martin dealers cannot sell DB 9 and Vantage models produced after 31st of August. The 101-year-old sports car maker, which includes James Bond’s original choice car, asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in spring for an exemption of up to three years to federal side-impact safety standards.
Aston Martin stated that the lack of an exemption would lead to substantial economic difficulties for the money-losing brand. During the recent recession, it had to delay redesigning the DB9 and Vantage that have to meet the new side air bag standards which NHTSA has implemented since 2010.
A spokeswoman for NHTSA said on Tuesday that the agency has not decided yet on the Aston Martin exemption: “the agency has been in contact with Aston Martin regarding their exemption request and is awaiting additional information from their dealers.”
NHTSA can exempt manufacturers that sell fewer than 5,000 cars annually in the United States and Aston Martin falls under that criteria as the brand sold worldwide 4,200 vehicles. Without the DB9 and the Vantage on sale, some of the 35 Aston Martin stores will be forced to closedown , according to James R. Walker, chairman of the U.S. Aston Martin dealer advisory council.
Aston Martin claims that a rejection from NHTSA would keep 670 cars out of the United States, asking for exemptions for the DB9 model, priced at $186,525, until September 2016 and for the Vantage, which is being sold at $119,525, until September 2017.
By Gabriela Florea