Aston Martin's impressive growth plan will have one negative consequence — exposure to stringent corporate average fuel economy standards.
The British luxury automaker reckons that with all the models it's going to launch, including an SUV, it'll double production to beyond 10,000 by 2021.
Clear that number, however, and suddenly NHTSA will no longer classify you as a small-volume manufacturer. At which point, penalties occur for missing CAFE targets.
Aston Martin warned buyers of its stock — available to the public (or Aston Martin owners at least) for the first time starting this week — of this fact in its share prospectus. It said it "had accounted for any related costs," without saying what they might be.
Automakers such as Aston and Ferrari are in limbo right now when it comes to CAFE standards and related National Program greenhouse gas emissions limits set by the EPA.
Aston said in its prospectus that it had exceeded greenhouse gas limits for 2012-16; understandable, given its range is entirely powered by V-12 or V-8 gasoline engines. It received an exemption for 2012 and bought credits from other manufacturers to cover 2013 and 2014, but beyond that, it said, it doesn't know.
Since last year, however, small-volume automakers such as Aston have had to request an alternative fleet average and show every year that they're capable of improving it. Aston has put in a request to the EPA and asked for the averages to be backdated to 2015, but it said this hasn't yet been granted. It also petitioned NHTSA on CAFE, again without a response, it said.
Ferrari said the same thing in its most recent annual report.
Aston hopes that by launching the Lagonda range of ultraluxury electric cars, scheduled for 2021, it'll reduce its average enough to sidestep the problem altogether.