FANCY what could be Australia’s fastest pram? British sports car marque Aston Martin is being forced to sell two of its high-end cars with child-ready rear seats as standard.
A hiccup with the way child seats fit into the $517,000 Vanquish Volante drop-top that’s about to go on sale here means that, just like the cheaper $479,995 tin-lidded two-door before it, Aston must fit each sun-loving sports car rolling out of Australian showrooms with either a child seat or baby capsule.
The 424kW front-mounted 6.0-litre V12 soft-top convertible, which sprints from 0-100km/h in four seconds flat, has failed to meet Australian Design Rules that spell out where the back-seat attachment points for child restraints in all vehicles sold here need to be located.
However, while the Volante’s mounting points fell outside the ADR’s strict limits, meaning seats developed for the Australian market were not compatible, the Department of Infrastructure – the federal government’s overseer of vehicle safety standards – said the infraction was “minor and inconsequential” and has allowed the drop-top to sell here with factory-supplied units.
An Aston Martin spokesman told Wheels that the brand had already sold “a number” of Vanquish-badged Astons in Australia with the child seats.
The Australian Government is currently looking at ADRs, which despite being constantly updated were framed almost 20 years ago. Part of the review’s role is investigating whether Australia should align itself with overseas vehicle standards, such as those used for European or US markets.
According to a Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries submission to the review, which is due to hand down its report, the cost of complying with ADRs costs more than $14 million a year.
A separate Senate inquiry into road safety is also looking at whether ADRs have kept pace with the technology creeping into car design. It is due to show its list of recommendations to the government by September next year.
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