Approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles


As part of the “Europe on the Move” legislative package presented in 2017 to reform the European transport sector, the EU regulation on the registration and market surveillance of motor vehicles came into force on September 1, 2020. The new regulation, which was adopted in May 2018, overhauls and tightens the existing type approval and market surveillance system. It improves the quality and independence of vehicle type approval and testing, increases the controls of vehicles already on the EU market and strengthens the overall system with greater European supervision.

On the one hand, the regulation aims to ensure that technical services and type-approval authorities work independently and implement regulations. Technical services that carry out tests and inspections of new car models will be independently audited on the basis of strict criteria in order to obtain or maintain their designation by the Member States. National typeapproval authorities are now subject to peer review to ensure that the relevant rules are implemented and enforced throughout the EU. Similarly, checks on vehicles already on the market will be extended and improved. With the entry into force of the regulation, EU Member States will be obliged to test a minimum number of vehicles on a regular basis, i.e. they must test at least one in 40,000 new motor vehicles registered in that Member tate in the previous year. At least 20 percent of these tests must be emission-related. At least five tests are carried out for countries with a small number of passenger car registrations.

The EU Commission will also be able to carry out conformity and compliance checks on vehicles in laboratories or on the road to verify compliance with regulations, initiate EU-wide recalls and impose sanctions of up to 30,000 euros per non-compliant vehicle on manufacturers.

The Commission has provided additional resources to the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to enable it to take on this new role in market surveillance. It is financing the necessary additional staff, operating costs and the construction of two new laboratories. The JRC has two new state-of-the-art laboratories to carry out these same controls.

The Regulation is largely in line with Parliament's requests. It guarantees certain basic conditions for market surveillance and at the same time clarifies the competences between the EU and the Member States, which has not been the case so far. The proposal to empower the EU to carry out its own checks and to impose sanctions met with strong resistance at the time. However, it can be assumed that this empowerment was exchanged for other provisions. For example, some Member States have successfully ignored a provision of the Commission proposal that would have prevented car manufacturers from financing the testing laboratories of national authorities. Similarly, a provision that would have allowed independent members to be part of a forum of representatives of the Member States to monitor the approval system for motor vehicles has been omitted.


Related links:

Commission Press Release.

Q&A of the Commission.