WASHINGTON -- Italian supercar maker Pagani Automobili S.p.A. will delay the U.S. launch of its 825,000 euro ($1.2 million) Huayra gull-wing coupe by a year, less time than it told U.S. regulators, who are requiring it to install advanced air bags.
The one-year delay is less than the automaker told the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because it anticipated the agency's denial of its waiver request and sped development of an advanced air-bag system, Francesco Zappacosta, Pagani's managing director, said in an interview.
"We'd expected the possibility of a negative outcome, so that's why the delay isn't as long as it might have been," Zappacosta said in a telephone interview. "We're really looking at an extra year." The company plans to sell the Huayra in the U.S. in late 2012 or early 2013, he said.
NHTSA last week denied Pagani's request for an exemption from the 11-year-old U.S. mandate to install air bags with sensors that adjust deployment force based on the size of occupants. The company has said that developing an advanced air-bag program would cost it 4 million euros.
The costs come from crash tests required for the air bags and for the supplier, Robert Bosch GmbH, to develop deployment algorithms, Zappacosta said. "It does have an additional number of crash tests involved for the dual-stage involved, which is obviously a cost especially for someone like us who makes few cars and they're expensive," he said.
Pagani plans to sell five to eight cars in the U.S. a year, Zappacosta said. The company has taken more than 60 orders internationally and is now accepting U.S. orders, he added.