Car approvals: Parliament endorses new rules to prevent emissions cheating
- New “type approval” rules to guarantee that cars on the roads are clean and safe
- Environmental and safety testing to be more independent
- Every EU country will have to conduct a minimum number of checks on cars each year
A stronger European supervision of the car approval system to ensure rules are applied uniformly and effectively throughout the EU was approved by Parliament on Thursday.
The new regulation on how cars are approved to go on the road and checked afterwards clarifies the responsibilities of national type approval authorities, testing centres and market surveillance bodies, in order to make them more independent and prevent conflicts of interest.
Stepping up checks and sanctions
The new rules require every EU country to conduct a minimum number of checks on cars each year, i.e. at least one for every 40 000 new motor vehicles registered in that member state in the preceding year. At least 20 % of these tests will have to be emissions-related. For countries with a low number of car registrations, there will be a minimum of five tests to be conducted.
The EU Commission will also be able to carry out tests and inspections of vehicles to verify compliance, to trigger EU-wide recalls and to impose administrative fines on carmakers of up to €30 000 per non-compliant vehicle.
Improving the quality and independence of testing
The legislation introduces a new testing regime to ensure cars remain within emission limits throughout their lifetime. The testing centres (so-called “technical services”) will be regularly and independently audited.
Car owners will be reimbursed if they make repairs on vehicles to fix issues later subject to a manufacturer's recall, and independent garages will have access to relevant information on vehicles to be able to compete with dealers and help drive down prices.
Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), who steered this legislation through Parliament, said: “This is a strong Europe-wide response to the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal. This legislation will make cars safer and cleaner and, combined with the Real Driving Emissions testing, will ensure that a future ‘Dieselgate’ can’t happen again. (...) It delivers for car owners, for the environment and for manufacturers, with standards fairly applied and appropriately applied across the board”.
The regulation, approved by 547 votes to 83, with 16 abstentions, still needs to be formally adopted by the other co-legislator, the Council of the EU. The new rules will be applicable from 1 September 2020.
“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market.
In order to be approved, a vehicle type must be tested for several requirements, for instance, with regard to safety (lights, brakes, stability or performance in case of accident), environment (e.g. emissions) or specific parts (for example, seats or interior fittings).