On January 15, 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final ruling on Low Volume Vehicle Manufacturers. The ruling will allow the production of replica turnkey vehicles up to 325 units per year. The long-awaited ruling, it was proposed by Congress to the NHTSA to have the guidelines in place by 2016, gives replica vehicle manufactures the opportunity to produce cars without the expensive and arduous safety testing. The replica vehicles will be held to current safety standards in reference to parts, but not crash standards. Engines will have to maintain current Environmental Protection Agency standards for emissions.
Once enacted the NHTSA will give replica producers, think replica Shelby Cobras or a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport, to sell complete turnkey vehicles. The ruling will limit manufacturers to only produce vehicles at least 25-years old that have an agreement from the current owner for the vehicle’s intellectual property rights.
With all this mind, it might be time for the DeLorean to make a proper comeback.
The original DeLorean Motor Company went belly up in 1982. In 1995 Stephen Wynne started a separate and unrelated DeLorean Motor Company and acquired the remaining OEM parts inventory and rights to the original logo. The new DMC is predominately used as a parts supplier and restorer of the iconic gull-wing car that was produced from 1981-82. They also have a pair of dealerships that sell refurbished DMC’s.
On January 20, 2021 the new DMC released a statement about the NHTSA’s ruling:
“The recent release of the final rule document was unexpected, and we’re very pleased to see it finally happen. Still, four years overdue with no clear idea of when (or if!) these would ever be released did certainly keep us from putting too many eggs in that stainless steel basket, so to speak.”
Due to the emission standards on Low Volume Manufacturers and the four-year gap from its initial proposal, DeLorean might attempt alternative means for a power plant for a possible DMC.
“That said, with EV’s becoming more mainstream, we’ve been considering switching to an all-electric as the future,” DMC stated on their website. “It certainly makes for an easier path through emissions maze which still looms large over any internal combustion engine.”
As an iconic vehicle that only had 9,000 examples produced there is a strong market for a proper replica from a manufacturer that carries the torch of a bygone car. The DeLorean Motor Company is playing any possible foray into the LVM market close to the vest.
“As the automotive brand with likely the highest name recognition across all demographics in spite of not having a new product in 40 years we still believe that none of the above is insurmountable and believe that others will see value in it, as well,” DMC stated. “Stay tuned…”