With all the rules and regulations in play, it’s tough being a standalone carmaker these days; just ask Aston Martin which is facing a crisis in the U.S. due to new crash standards.
According to James Walker, chairman of the Aston’s U.S. dealer advisory panel, two of firm’s best-selling models, the DB9 and Vantage, do not comply with the new side-impact crash rule that comes into effect this September.
Walker, who represents Aston Martin Washington D.C., petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get an exemption for the two cars, stating that if dealers were to lose them, a number of stores would be forced to shut down their operations.
“[The] loss of V8/V12 Coupe and DB9 Coupe would reduce new car gross profit by approximately 25 percent, which would drive the average dealership to negative profitability,” wrote Walker. “Loss of convertibles would reduce new car gross profit by approximately 40 percent and all dealers would be in the red.”
According to Bloomberg, last year, upon learning about the new crash tests for protecting passengers from side collisions into narrow fixed objects such as poles and trees, Aston Martin had requested exemptions for the DB9 through August 2016 and for the Vantage through August 2017.
“The financial viability of Aston Martin dealers is very much in question with the loss of volume represented by the petition,” said Walker. “If dealers make the decision to shutter the franchise, a very likely outcome, the impact on employment is significant.”