Aston Martin could lose a big market in the U.S. if federal regulators don’t exempt the brand from an upcoming safety rule.
The rule in question deals with new side-impact crash regulations that require vehicles to better withstand the impact from running into a pole or tree. This rule has been phased in over the past few years, but low-volume manufacturers like Aston Martin have been given an exemption runs out this month. Convertibles built by low-volume manufacturers don't lose their exemption till next September.
According to Reuters, Aston Martin reached out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in March asking for exemptions up until 2017 for the DB9 and Vantage. These happen to be the oldest models in Aston Martin's lineup. Aston Martin explained that with money tight during the recent recession, they weren't able to redesign the DB9 and Vantage to meet the upcoming standards. The lack of the exemption would cause "substantial economic hardship" to Aston Martin, including the possible closure of dealers in the U.S.
A spokesperson for NHTSA told Reuters that a decision hasn't been made at this time.
"The agency has been in contact with Aston Martin regarding their exemption request and is awaiting additional information from their dealers," the spokesperson said.