Aston Martin’s DB9 and Vantage get crash regulation exemption, due to good-faith effort

Aston Martin Vantage
James Bond may be known for dodging bullets, but his automotive supplier just sidestepped a pretty big blow as well.

British sports car manufacturer Aston Martin has been awarded a temporary safety exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one that grants the brand immunity to side-impact crash requirements that go into effect next September.

The vehicles in question are the DB9 and Vantage, two of Aston’s most popular models, so a ban in the U.S. could have been a fatal setback for the struggling automaker.

Here’s what the NHTSA said: “NHTSA finds that Aston Martin has made a good faith effort to meet the pole test requirements by, inter alia, installing side air bags in vehicles substantially ahead of the date on which it was required to do so by that standard. Further, Aston Martin believes that its test data indicate that its vehicles may in fact pass the performance criteria of the pole test with the current side air bag.”

The boutique manufacturer is desperately trying to recover from a bad 2013, where Aston reported pre-tax losses of $40.6 million. New CEO Andy Palmer clearly has his work cut out for him.

Luckily for Palmer, the NHTSA has his back. In an online statement, the organization said, “The basis for the grant is that compliance would cause substantial economic hardship to a low volume manufacturer that has tried in good faith to comply with the standard.” Enforcement of the federal safety standards would cause the brand “substantial economic hardship,” the statement continued.

An Aston Martin spokeswoman told Reuters that if the exemption had not been given, up to 670 vehicles could have been affected over three years.

The DB9 and Vantage are now cleared until August 2017, which is right around the time when their replacements start to arrive.

Both cars are still in roughly the same form since their debuts roughly 10 years ago, and Aston is responding by developing a new aluminum platform that will accommodate Mercedes-Benz’s 4.0-liter biturbo V8. The DB9’s replacement is due out in 2016 for the 2017 model year, with the Vantage’s successor arriving in 2018.

UPDATE (11/4/14): We have updated the headline and added a quote from the NHTSA

Smart Home

It does everything you can imagine, but the Instant Pot Max has one major flaw

Instant Pot Max has more cooking functions and features than the Duo and most other IP models. Is the Max worth the higher price tag? We tested it out to find out. Here's what we like and don't like about it.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu in May 2019, and what’s leaving soon

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for May 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.

From first-person to arcade, these are the best shooter games on the PS4

The PlayStation 4 is one of the most popular video game consoles of all time, and it has a ton of different shooters available to choose from. These are the best PS4 shooter games of all time.

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 proves the General Motors luxury brand still cares about sedans. Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it features Cadillac's Super Cruise tech and a lineup of turbocharged engines.

2020 Lincoln Corsair crossover is small in size, but big on luxury

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair made its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. It replaces the MKC as the smallest crossover in Lincoln's lineup and shares underpinnings with the 2020 Ford Escape.

Genesis’ all-electric Mint concept proves small cars can still be stylish

Unveiled ahead of the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Genesis Mint concept is a future electric city car with scissor doors in place of a traditional hatchback. Genesis likely won't put it into production, however.

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.

The 2020 Subaru Outback wants to take you to (and teach you about) the outdoors

The Outback is one of Subaru's most significant models, so the Japanese firm couldn't afford to make a mistake when it overhauled the model. The sixth-generation Outback is still rugged but more user-friendly than ever before.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes in a bold new design direction, with LED streaks on its hood and sleeker bodywork all around. It starkly contrasts with the current Sonata's conservative design.

With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.