Earlier this year Aston Martin filed a petition with NHTSA to exempt the luxury automaker from having to adhere to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 214 – Side Impact Protection. Late last week NHTSA granted the automaker a partial waiver.
NHTSA has agreed to waive the side pole test requirement for Aston Martin’s DB9 and Vantage models, but denied the petition to waive the moving deformable barrier (MDB) test.
No threat to wealthy, weekend warriors
In their response NHTSA stated that because there were no injuries or deaths recorded involving Aston Martin cars and because the automaker had made progress meeting other motor vehicle safety standards, some earlier than required (i.e. roof crush resistance standard and side impact air bags), that granting this exemption would have “a negligible impact on motor vehicle safety.”
The agency further concluded that because Aston Martin vehicles aren’t
used as a primary means of transportation they are at a lower risk of accident.
Why the partial waiver?
NHTSA agreed to waive the pole test, but not the moving deformable barrier test. Why? Why would they not waive them both? Why!? Simple. According to the agency the cars already passed the MDB test.
Un…awk-ward for Aston.
Poor Aston is still very poor.
“The petitioner has had a cumulative net loss position over the past several years. Denial of the petition would require Aston Martin to expend a large amount of capital to modify the DB9 and Vantage right before the model year change or would force the petitioner to cease sales of the vehicles in the U.S. Either outcome would cause substantial economic hardship to the petitioner.”
And economic hardship is a justifiable and legal reason for NHTSA to grant a waiver. Just ask Lotus.
I’m not sure two new models is going to usher in the kind of profitability the company needs, but NHTSA’s position is about projecting the future of the automaker, but rather a “let’s not kick them when they’re down” approach. The only catch here is that when Aston sells one of the waived 670 cars they are required by law to inform the buyer that the car does not adhere to the pole test crash standard. Doubt that is going to be a deal breaker, but it’s a thing nonetheless.
Aston is saved! For now…
There you have it. Aston Martin’s future in America couldn’t be brighter! The company has a new CEO, a new Head of PR and now they have a waiver that will allow them to sell 670 cars that do not meet federal safety standards.
The sky is the limit.