Earlier this week it looked like Pagani’s Huayra would be excluded from sales in the U.S. after all. The reason was an NHTSA ruling that required all cars built after the 2000 model year to use advanced airbags. Some manufacturers, such as Tesla and Lamborghini, were granted exemptions due to their low unit-volume sales in America. Pagani attempted the same thing when they decided to sell the Huayra in the U.S., filing for the exemption with the NHTSA back in 2008. The boutique supercar builder estimated that designing, testing and implementing an advanced airbag system for the Huayra would cost upwards of $5.7 million. Besides, they argued, the Huayra already uses advanced safety features in its construction, such as a carbon fiber and titanium safety cell designed to protect the occupants in the event of a crash.
The NHTSA wasn’t impressed, and slapped Pagani with a cease and desist order on delivering cars to U.S. customers. Things looked bleak, as designing an NHTSA-compliant airbag system from the ground up could take years. That was still the lesser of two evils, since Pagani’s alternative was pulling out of the U.S. market entirely, as they did with their Zonda supercar.
Now comes word that Pagani anticipated the NHTSA’s move, and has been working on a Huayra airbag system for some time now. If the reports are accurate, Pagani is proceeding with U.S. sales, but deliveries will be pushed back from late 2012 to early 2013. There’s no word yet on whether the airbag requirement will raise the price of a Pagani Huayra, but does that really matter? With a sticker price of $1.1 million, who’s going to notice another $10,000 or so for airbags?