Aston Martin - We're Too Busy Making Money to Build Safe Cars Too - Give Us a Break!
Law and Rights

Aston Martin - We're Too Busy Making Money to Build Safe Cars Too - Give Us a Break!

Side impact crashes injure more often
In 2007 the federal safety agency in charge of setting safety standards for motor vehicles sold in the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wanted to protect passengers from side crashes into things like utility poles and trees so they set a new standard for side impact crash protection.

That's because over the last 20 years frontal crashes have gone down while side impact crashes have increased by more than 20%.

Like most new vehicle safety standards, it was argued about and fought over before it finally became law. One of the compromises in the process was that the new law would would not begin to take effect for 3 years and that complete phase-in compliance would not be required for 7 years. So motor vehicle manufacturers had up to 7 years to redesign their cars to add greater side impact protection and comply with the new law. 

Are they too busy making money to build safe cars?
The law was passed in 2007 and was to be complied with by September 1, 2014. Plenty of time to get the job done, right?

So all the manufacturers started working on it and now they all comply. Except one.

Aston Martin, who apparently has been busy building and selling their expensive sports cars, has filed a request to postpone their convertible car model compliance for another 2 and 3 years. And their reason for the requested extension? Being unable to sell the soft-top cars would reduce their new car gross profits.

Buy a 2014 Aston Martin DB9 for just $214,000
The Aston Martin DB9, which carries a $214,000 MSRP, won't comply with federal safety standards until August 2016. The Aston Martin Vantage, with its paltry $126,000 MSRP, won't comply until August 2017.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin saw a 2013 sales jump of 11%, so the cash is certainly flowing.

The world's 8 top auto makers complied with the new safety standard and none of them saw their sales jump 11% in 2013 but Aston Martin did.

Will Money Buy NHTSA's forgiveness?
GM had a 2013 sales drop of 6.3% but it has complied with the new safety standard. VW had a whopping 2013 sales drop of 22.7% but it complied. Hyundai and Kia dropped 2% but they complied. Toyota dropped 1.7% but they complied.

Ford sales only increased by 1.8% but they complied. Honda scrapped by with a 1.9% increase but they complied. Chrysler sales increased 6% and they complied and Nissan, with an increase of 10.5%, complied too.

NHTSA should not reward Aston Martin for its decision to make more money instead of complying with a federal safety standard that they saw coming 7 years ago. They had 7 years to get around to it and instead focused on the almighty buck and big bucks at that. Aston Martin has no excuse. They do make beautiful sports cars, sure. And expensive ones, too. Let's hope that money is not what makes the safety decision at NHTSA on this.

Burdge Law Office
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