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New rules on cleaner and safer cars start to apply across Europe

The JRC will run regular and innovative tests on cars, vans and lorries to discover whether the rules of type approval are followed.
The JRC will run regular and innovative tests on cars, vans and lorries to discover whether the rules of type approval are followed.
Sep 01 2020

Today, the EU Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles starts to apply across Europe to ensure cleaner and safer cars on the European market.

Adopted in May 2018, the Regulation sets up a new stricter framework for the type approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles that significantly overhauls the previous system.

The new legal framework improves the quality and independence of vehicle type-approval and testing, increases checks of cars already on the EU market and strengthens the overall system with greater European oversight.

With these new rules, the EU is becoming a world leader raising the bar for safety and environmental performance of motor vehicles while encouraging innovation to drive European car industry’s competitiveness.

In particular, the new rules ensure that technical services performing testing and inspections of new car models will be independently audited on the basis of stringent criteria to obtain and keep their designation by Member States.

National type approval authorities are now subject to peer reviews to ensure that the relevant rules are implemented and enforced rigorously across the EU.

The new framework also improves checks on the vehicles that are already circulating on the market and for sale at the dealerships.

From now on, Member States are required to regularly test a minimum number of cars and are now able to take safeguard measures against non-compliant vehicles on their territory without waiting for the authority that issued the type approval to take action.  

In addition, the Commission is now able to carry out compliance and conformity checks on vehicles in laboratories or on the road.

In cases where manufactures are in breach of type-approval legislation (e.g. defeat devices or fake declarations), the Commission can order EU-wide recalls and impose sanctions on those manufacturers of up to € 30 000 per car. Until today, only national authorities that type approved the car could impose such measures.

Since the adoption of the Regulation in 2018, car manufacturers, type approval agencies and other stakeholders have been working continuously to implement the new rules and adapt to the stricter requirements.  

The Commission has provided additional resources for the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to take up this new role in market surveillance, funding necessary extra staff, operational costs and the construction of two new laboratories. The JRC avails of two new state-of-the-art laboratories to conduct checks.

Background

The new rules were proposed by the Commission in 2016 in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2018.

This reform is only part of the Commission's wider work for a clean, sustainable and competitive car sector as laid down in the Commission Communication 'Europe on the Move'. Commission initiatives include air quality and CO2 standards, the improvement of emission testing for cars or the support for alternative fuels and battery production and defending the competitiveness of European industry.