Last Monday, we brought you news that the first U.S. bound Pagani Huayra had been delivered to a customer in the United States. Now it seems like Pagani may have jumped the gun in selling cars on U.S. soil, thanks to a requirement that automakers implement advanced airbags beginning with the 2000 model year. In the past, low volume manufacturers such as Lamborghini and Tesla had been granted an exception to the regulation, which lead Pagani to believe they’d be granted the very same exemption. It was a logical assumption, since Pagani’s production is far less than Lamborghini’s, and Pagani lacks the technical support of Lamborghini’s parent, Volkswagen/Audi.
Pagani learned the hard way what happens when you assume. Ignoring Pagani’s low-volume manufacturer status and limited technical resources, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has denied the automaker’s request, which gives Pagani only two choices: either develop the required airbag system for the Huayra before deliveries can begin, or forgo the U.S. market entirely as they did with their Zonda supercar. Pagani estimates that designing an airbag system to meet NHTSA requirements will cost them some about $5.7 million, which surely means that the price of U.S. spec Huayras will be raised to cover development. That doesn’t bode well for buyers who’ve already put money down on Pagani’s latest, since the best they can hope for is a higher purchase price. The alternative, sadly, is that the U.S. again loses out on the opportunity to experience one of the world’s premier supercars.