Things aren’t looking so good for Aston Martin’s future if the automaker fails to get an exemption from the U.S. government’s crash test standards regarding its DB9 and Vantage models. More specifically, both models fail to comply with the new side-impact crash standards coming into effect next month and therefore would not qualify for sale within the U.S. Bloomberg reports Aston Martin filed for an exemption for the two cars last year, but the word is still out on whether the automaker will be able to continue selling the two models without making significant structural changes to meet the higher standards.
The exemptions would allow the DB9 to be sold through August 2016 and the Vantage through August 2017. Without such leeway, the automaker could suffer tremendous financial losses to its dealer network, resulting in many lost jobs and closed franchises.
With the independently owned Aston Martin already in a tight financial bind, the automaker likely cannot afford to significantly alter the DB9 and Vantage to comply with the new legislation. Since Aston Martin isn’t a part of a larger organization of automakers, it cannot simply borrow technology or shift funds to fix the problem.
The new side-impact crash standards taking effect next month are designed to heighten a vehicle’s ability to protect occupants against impacts with solid objects such as utility poles and trees.
Click past the jump to read about the Aston Martin Vantage and DB9
Quality and safety took a hit this week as a number of vehicles are headed back to the dealer for some much needed repairs. It started with 432 units of the 2013 SL-Class recalled due to an air-conditioner refrigerant line before the Toyota whammy of 7.4 million units recalled because of a potential malfunction with the power window systems.
Today, the recall affects a total of 169 Aston Martin V12 Vantage coupe models produced between 2010 and 2012. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those models have failed to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138, "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems." "On these vehicles, the low tire pressure warning light will not illuminate until the tire pressure in the front tires is more than 25% below the recommended cold tire pressure." Under certain situations, this problem could lead to tire failure and a possible crash.
From the 169 units, only 148 were delivered to customers, while the other 21 units are being put on hold until the problem is solved. The owners who have received their models are being asked to take their vehicles to the nearest dealer where their car will have the software for the tire pressure monitoring system reprogrammed free of charge.
The Aston Martin Vantage Carbon Black is one fast piece of machinery, as it features a 6-liter V-12 engine that pumps out 510 horsepower and 420 pound-feet with a top speed of 190 mph. Not many Aston Martin owners ever really sniff that top speed, but when they do, it is typically on a closed course or somewhere that it is permissible, like the Autobahn.
There are two reasons that drivers don’t do this on normal roads: No. 1- it is flat out unsafe and No. 2- you can get into serious trouble. One driver in Belgium named Erik Paris decided to get as close as he could to that top speed on the E17 highway in his home country, and he managed to get his ride up to 292 km/h (181 mph) with his friend filming it. In a fit of stupidity, his friend chose to upload the video on YouTube, which you can see above in all of its “The Doors” blaring glory.
Apparently the authorities in Belgium are well aware of the Interwebz and YouTube, as they managed to dig up the video and nail the driver for this excessive speed. His punishment is pretty hefty too; a 30-month driving ban in the entire country. Actually, the punishment is relatively lax, considering the fact that Belgium law allows a ban of up to 5 years for this moronic act of negligence.
Rumor has it, that following getting busted for this crazy act, Erik sold the Aston Marin. That is likely the wisest move that this man has ever made in his life.
Yes, even the mighty, high-end, top-performance cars are not immune to recalls. We know what happened to the Ferrari 458 Italia, right?
Now it looks like a British marquee is poised to have a recall of its own. Aston Martin has announced that they are in the process of recalling over 1,000 units of a fleet of their models in the US. In total, 1,090 units of a number of Aston Martin models, including the DB9 Coupe, the DB9 Volante, the V8 Vantage Coupe, the V8 Vantage Roadster, and the DBS will be recalled out of fears that a bolt that secures the car’s front suspension arm has the potential to crack, thereby increasing the likelihood of a crash happening. The defective bolts only encompass models built between March and September 2007.
Aston Martin has likewise announced that dealerships will replace the defective bolt with new ones in hopes of avoiding any accidents in the future. Owners of affected models are expected to receive their recall notifications sometime in the middle of October.