When Lotus pulled the Elise out of the U.S. market at the end of the 2011 model-year it said it had no choice because it couldn’t meet strict new government safety mandates.
The British marque isn’t alone. A number of low-volume manufacturers have struggled to keep up with ever-tightening American safety and emissions standards. But they could be in for a break – along with buyers who’d like to get hold of some of their limited-edition offerings – thanks to what has been dubbed the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturer’s Act.”
The proposal, introduced by California Congressman John Campbell, is specifically aimed at helping out manufacturers who produce fewer than 1,000 vehicles annually, a figure that includes the likes of Lotus, Sweden’s Koenigsegg and Italy’s Pagani – whose 700-horsepower Huayra supercar has been at least temporarily delayed because it doesn’t feature the multi-stage airbags mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.