New U.S. airbag rules going into effect in September could be a disaster in the making for supercar maker Bugatti. Apparently complying with the new rules will require a redesign of the Veyron, increasing the price of the car more than $125,000.
In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, Bugatti president Thomas Bscher said the requirement for "smart" airbags "could well put Bugatti out of business," citing the domino effects of costly redesign of the current car, cuts in production and delay in the introduction of its next model.
A number of low volume automakers have applied for an exemption to the rule, including Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari, Spyker, Lotus and Morgan.
If the NHTSA grants Bugatti's requested two-year exemption, it will only affect the 150 cars it hopes to build for the U.S. market before introducing its next version, which presumably will include smart air bags. Lamborghini is similarly affected only for its current models - the next-gen Murcielago, due out in 2009, will comply with the new rules.
[Source Financial Times via MSNBC]