Increasingly-strict crash-test standards have kept several desirable cars away from U.S. shores, and now a top Aston Martin dealer says the British carmaker's wares could be among them. Certain versions of both the Aston Martin DB9 and Vantage won't meet new standards that take effect in September 2015, although the company has asked for exemptions for both models according to Bloomberg.
If they're not granted, Aston's U.S. dealers could be "in the red," James Walker—chairman of the carmaker's U.S. dealer advisory panel—wrote in a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The DB9 and Vantage are two of Aston Martin's most popular models, so eliminating some of their sales would have a potentially-devastating effect on U.S. dealers. This problem sometimes occurs when a model is on sale for a long time. Designers can't anticipate every possible crash test a government might implement, and crashworthiness is something that can't really be altered without a full redesign.
In this case, the DB9 and Vantage won't comply with new crash tests meant to protect passengers from sideways collisions with utility poles, trees, and other narrow-fixed objects. Last year, Aston requested an exemption for the DB9 through August 2016, and the Vantage through August 2017.
That would give the carmaker time to implement a planned redesign of the DB9, and potentially the Vantage as well. It's currently working on a new platform to replace the current VH (Vertical-Horizontal) architecture that dates back to the first-generation Vanquish of 2001 and underpins all of Aston Martin's existing lineup. The new platform is expected to debut with the new DB9 in 2016, with a new Vantage presumably arriving sometime after that.
Stay tuned for an update.