Technical harmonisation in the EU is based on the Whole Vehicle Type-Approval System (WVTA). Under the WVTA, a manufacturer can obtain certification for a vehicle type in one EU country and market it EU-wide without further tests. The certification is issued by a type-approval authority and the tests are carried out by the designated technical services.
Directive 2007/46/EC sets out the safety and environmental requirements that motor vehicles have to comply with before being placed on the EU market. The Directive makes the EU-WVTA system mandatory for all categories of motor vehicles and their trailers. A large number of UNECE regulations are also made mandatory. These replace 38 Directives previously in force.
On 7 December 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement on a major overhaul of the EU type-approval framework for motor vehicles.
Under current rules, national authorities are solely responsible for:
The new regulation will make vehicle testing more independent and increase surveillance of cars already in circulation.
On 19 April 2018, the Parliament formally voted in favour of the Commission's proposal for overhauled type-approval. Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "We now agreed on a fundamental reform that gives the Commission the power to make sure manufacturers will no longer get away with cheating. The new rules will give us cleaner cars on our way to zero emission and safer cars for the roll-out of autonomous driving."
The new framework will:
The Council will formally adopt the Regulation in the coming weeks. It becomes mandatory for all new vehicle models as of 1 September 2020. The new rules go together with Commission initiatives such as the proposal for a new deal for consumers. In a Dieselgate-type scenario, this initiative allows victims of unfair commercial practices to obtain remedies collectively through a representative action.
Approval authorities are established or appointed by EU countries and notified to the Commission. The approval authorities have competence for:
Lists of approval authorities in the EU countries:
A certificate of conformity is a statement by the manufacturer that the vehicle conforms to EU type-approval requirements. EU countries cannot refuse to register vehicles if they are accompanied by a valid CoC that proves their compliance with EU law. The Commission has proposed simpler rules for the motor vehicle registration of a car already registered on one EU country to be registered in another.
A technical service is an organisation or a body designated by the national approval authority as a:
EU countries have to notify the Commission of the name and details of designated technical services for:
Lists of technical services for each EU country: