European Commission presents Type Approval Overhaul

The European Commission has tabled legislative proposals to ensure car and components manufacturers comply strictly with all EU safety, environmental and production requirements.


The Commission is proposing a major overhaul of the so-called EU type approval framework. Under current rules in Directive 2007/46, national authorities are solely responsible for certifying that a vehicle meets all requirements to be placed on the market and for policing manufacturers’ compliance with EU law.


These latest proposals will make vehicle testing more independent and increase surveillance of cars and components already in circulation. Greater European oversight will in addition strengthen the system as a whole.


According to the EU Commission, the proposal for a Regulation will help to achieve three objectives:


Reinforce the independence and quality of testing that allows a car to be placed on the market: The majority of Member States designate technical services, which are paid directly by car or component manufacturers, for the testing and inspection of the vehicle and component compliance with EU type approval requirements. The Commission proposes to modify the remuneration system to avoid financial links between technical services and manufacturers, which could lead to conflicts of interest and compromise the independence of testing. The proposal also foresees more stringent performance criteria for these technical services, which should be regularly and independently audited to obtain and maintain their designation. National type approval authorities will be subject to peer reviews to ensure that the relevant rules are implemented and enforced rigorously across the EU.


Introduce an effective market surveillance system to control the conformity of cars and components already in circulation: While the current rules deal mainly with ex ante controls, in the future Member States and the Commission will carry out spot-checks on vehicles and components already on the market. This will make it possible to detect non-compliance at an early stage, and ensure that immediate and robust remedial action is taken against vehicles and components that are found to be non-compliant and/or to present a serious safety risk or harm to the environment. All Member States should be able to take safeguard measures against non-compliant vehicles and components on their territory without waiting for the authority that issued the type approval to take action. Member States will have to review regularly the functioning of their market surveillance activities and make the results publicly available.


Reinforce the type approval system with greater European oversight: The Commission will have the power to suspend, restrict or withdraw the designation of technical services that are underperforming and too lax in applying the rules. In the future the Commission will be able to carry out ex-post verification testing (through its Joint Research Centre) and, if needed, initiate recalls. By allowing the Commission to impose financial penalties, the proposal will deter manufacturers and technical services from allowing non-compliant vehicles and components onto the market. The Commission will also chair an Enforcement Forum which will develop common compliance verification strategies with Member States and organise joint audits of technical services and peer reviews of type-approval authorities.


In addition, the draft clarifies that all components sold in the EU and under the scope of the Regulation must be type-approved, being OE, OES or IAM parts. This was a CLEPA request to clarify the situation in some Member States and to avoid unfair competition from “free riders” in the aftermarket. In the draft have also been included the RMI requirements currently in Regulations on polluting emissions, clarifying that they apply to all vehicle systems.


The following new prescriptions also affect in particular the components manufacturers:


  • Validity of type-approval certificates (5 years in the draft Regulation).
  • Potential liability for all stages of the construction of a vehicle.
  • Confidentiality in the compliance verification by the EU Commission and on additional information to be provided during type-approval
  • Validity of type-approval when a technical service lost its designation
  • Authorisation of components that may pose a serious risk to the correct functioning of essential systems.
  • Marking and packaging of parts
  • “Owners ‘manual” for aftermarket parts


CLEPA is currently analysing the draft Regulation to prepare where necessary amendments for European Parliament and Council consideration.


Furthermore, on February 9th, it was announced that European Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP Daniel Dalton, who represents the West Midlands region of the UK, has been appointed as the ‘rapporteur’ (lead MEP) on type approval proposals.




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