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Aston Martin's U.S. stores at risk due to new crash rule, dealer says
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The Aston Martin DB9, pictured, and the Vantage do not comply with new side-impact crash rules being introduced in the U.S. next month.

August 15, 2014 10:45 CET

(Bloomberg) -- Aston Martin stores in the U.S. will be unprofitable and could close if the sports-car maker is unable to get an exemption from crash standards that take effect next month, a top dealer said.

The average Aston Martin store will lose money if the carmaker can't sell the DB9 and Vantage, two models that don't comply with the new side-impact crash rule, said James Walker, chairman of the automaker's U.S. dealer advisory panel.

Without convertible models, which won't meet the standard by September 2015, all the brand's dealers would be "in the red," Walker wrote in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration petition.

Aston Martin spokesman Matthew Clarke said he had not seen the petition and therefore could not give an immediate comment.

Next month, U.S. regulators will begin implementing an additional crash test to protect passengers from sideways collisions into narrow fixed objects such as utility poles and trees

Aston Martin last year 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," wrote Walker. "If dealers make the decision to shutter the franchise, a very likely outcome, the impact on employment is significant."

One of the few premium auto producers not part of a larger manufacturing group, the 101-year-old company's independence has hampered its ability to fund new models, including the next-generation DB9 and Vantage, both of which have been delayed.
 

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I read a report that it would cost over $43 million to upgrade the DB9 and Vantage, that Aston Martin does not have.

"Aston Martin last year requested exemptions for the DB9 through August 2016 and for the Vantage through August 2017."

I can just see the lawsuits now if the US allows an exemption for the DB9 and Vantage, and someone is killed in a side impact accident that would have been avoided if the car met the safety requirements all other auto manufacturers must follow.

It looks like Aston Martin needs a new buyer with deeper pockets that can afford to maintain the brand. It also seems like Aston Martin is just begging Ford to take them back.
 

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Aston Martin without the Ford support is finnancially very weak. I'm surprised they still are producing cars.
 

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I'm on the fence about this. Rules exist for a reason, and all have to play by them. At the same time, as a car fan, I hate to see a storied brand like Aston forced out of the US. Would it be more reasonable for all current models from manufacturers to be allowed to be grandfathered in (for up to 5 years, for example), and new models be required to meet the new requirements?
 

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With everyone so litigation crazy here in the states I think it's fair to say that the Feds are probably unwilling to entertain an exemption for Aston Martin or any other car manufacture who are not able to comply with the new crash test standards by next month.....especially in knowing that this was common knowledge well before the impending deadline. It's quite unfortunate for Aston Martin---as they make some really great looking cars IMO. But they've really been floundering since Ford dropped them. I think the Vantage and DB9 are still riding on a very lightly modified incarnation of the VH platform that predates the past decade. This too probably have contributed greatly to their current situation with the Feds.

I hope someone will come along and throw them a lifeline.
 
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