American car-safety regulations have blocked Pagani Huayra from going on sale in its current form, delaying the launch until 2013. Reports in various media last weekend suggested the Italian supercar would not be able to sell its cars in the US after the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) denied an exemption request from the advanced airbag rule submitted by Pagani over three years ago.
Pagani had applied for an exemption from federal auto safety rules requiring child-safe advanced airbags, arguing that complying with the rule would have caused substantial economic hardship, according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 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.
But, Pagani learned the hard way what happens when you assume. Ignoring Pagani’s low-volume manufacturer status and limited technical resources, NHTSA denied the request, essentially blocking the car from sale in the US, because Pagani failed to show that installing the airbags on the twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder carbon-titanium car would cause the company undue financial strain.
Pagani created the Huayra as part of the automaker’s plan to break into the US market. The car was engineered and crash tested to meet safety standards in both the US and Europe. Much of the Huayra’s structure, particularly the area around the driver, is made from a strong, lightweight material called carbon-titanium. The fuel tank, made from different composite and ballistic materials, is integrated into the body just behind the cabin, according to the company. At about 3,000 pounds, Pagani boasts that the Huayra is the lightest car in its class, enabling it to go from a zero to 60 miles per hour in about 3.5 seconds.
Pagani says it made the request for an exemption three years ago but the decision from NHTSA came just as Pagani was preparing official unveiling ceremonies in the U.S., the first of which took place in Los Angeles last Thursday. Pagani insists it will sell the car here, just not in 2012 as it had planned. The Huayra will now go on sale some time in 2013, Paganai spokeswoman Sanaz Bakhtiari said.