U.S. Blocks Sale of Italian Supercar Huayra
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has denied the Italian maker of the million-dollar Huayra supercar permission to bring it to the U.S. market until the car is equipped with advanced child-safe airbags. Pagani Automobili SpA, the automaker, had requested an exemption from the rule, saying that complying with it would be a “substantial economic hardship,” according to NHTSA documents.
In denying the request, NHTSA said Pagani did not show that installing the airbags would cause the company financial strain or that it had made serious efforts to comply with the rule. The auto safety agency has in the past granted temporary exemptions from certain safety rules, especially for companies planning to sell only a small number of cars.
Robert L. Gidley writes the following on ThirdAge.com:
The NHTSA requires that cars sense whether a child, or small adult, is in the front seat and adjust the force of the airbag accordingly. Early airbags were found to injure or kill small children when deployed with full force. Although the Huayra met all other NHTSA safety requirements, it did not have the advanced airbags — perhaps reasoning that no one in their right mind would let a sticky-fingered child ride in a car that cost more than most houses.
Pagani, however, anticipated that its request would be denied and has been working on incorporating the technology into its carbon-titanium frame.
The Huayra weighs about 3,000 pounds and has a V-12 engine that moves the car from zero to 60 in about three seconds. The top speed is estimated at 230 miles per hour and it can pull 1.5 G’s going around corners, meaning that if you dropped your jaw — or your wallet — it would fall sideways.
Pagani’s managing director Francesco Zappacosta told Bloomberg News that it plans to sell five to eight of the Huayra gull-wing coupes in the U.S. per year and that it has sped up development of the advanced airbag system so it can begin selling the car in the U.S. in late 2012 or early 2013. Developing the system would cost four million euros to cover crash tests and for its airbag supplier to create deployment algorithms, Pagani had said.
The boutique automaker’s factory can produce only a few of the mostly hand-built cars per year, which sell for 825,000 euros ($1.2 million) each. The company named the car — which has a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo Mercedes-Benz AMG V-12 engine — after the Andean wind god Aymara Huayra Tata.
Source: “$1 Million Supercar Blocked by Safety Regulators. ThirdAge.com, 08/10/11
Source: “Pagani Plans to Launch Huayra Car in U.S. By 2013 After Delay,” SFGate’s Business Report, The Chronicle with Bloomberg, 08/09/11
Source: “Safety regulators block $1M Pagani sports car in U.S.,” Chicago Tribune, 08/10/11
Source: “Pagani Huayra still coming to U.S., just delayed until 2013,” Autoblog, 08/10/11
Source: “Pagani’s Latest Lustworthy Car Comes to America,” Wired.com, 08/10/11
Image by Autoviva.com, used under its Creative Commons license.