Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Modified Car Armageddon

This isn't knee-jerk hysteria or hyperbole, this is something that is actually happening - imminent EU legislation could make all modified cars illegal. This doesn't just apply to builders of full-blown project cars, but every person whose car may have an aftermarket exhaust, non-standard alloys or even a non-manufacturer towbar. If your car deviates from standard in any way, it could be illegal.
Some potential implications:
- loss of thousands of UK jobs; people whose livelihood depends upon aftermarket tuning, parts, etc.
- the end of car shows. There are dozens of car shows in the UK every weekend. How many of them exclusively feature factory-standard cars? The scene will collapse.
- another blow for the already struggling print industry. Take a look at the car section of your local newsagent. How many of those magazines are about standard unmodified cars? Almost none. And the specialist mags are all supported by advertiser revenue, largely from the companies mentioned in our first point.
- millions of pounds of UK business lost. This will deal a devastating economic blow, and that's the last thing we need. The potential damage of this legislation is incalculable.

The Association of Car Enthusiasts have outlined the legislation and will be detailing what we can do to try to combat this. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Click here for more info - I've cut 'n' pasted their post below:


ACE has always been of the opinion that modifying of vehicles would eventually end by the ability to do so being slowly eroded by small pieces of legislation rather than one single regulation. 
We have unfortunately now been proved correct with a single item before the EC parliament that will prevent any modifying and will, currently, render already modified cars illegal. 
Without a large effort over the next 6 weeks this ’proposal’ will pass into law very shortly afterwards.
We have in our possession a questionnaire issued by DfT asking for views on the legislation and we feel it couldn’t make any clearer the end outcome.
This is NOT a Consultation document as there are no active documents via VOSA or DfT relating to this legislation.
Quoting from the DfT document:-
The Commission proposes to introduce a definition for a roadworthiness test that components of the vehicle must comply with characteristics at the time of first registration. This may prevent most modifications to vehicles without further approval of the vehicle. (this will apply to many components and to all types of vehicle) The Commission proposes to change the definition of an Historic Vehicle that may be exempt from periodic testing. This may allow vehicles older than 30 years to be exempt from testing providing the vehicle has been maintained in its original condition, including its appearance.

In the DfT interpretation it is all ‘proposes’ and ‘may’ .
However, as shown later in this article, This is going to happen unless a member of the EC Parliament forces reconsideration.
Normally a ‘proposal’ such as this would require a separate Consultation to be done with all interested parties. However this is not the case as this ‘proposal’ brings together various items already covered in previous Consultations. Again this will be dealt with in depth further on in this article.

The proposal itself
ACE and several other organisations who we work with will input to DfT but that alone is not enough. We need EVERYONE to be made aware and bring all possible pressure to bear to ensure this ludicrous ‘proposal’ does not pass into law.
All those who wish to be involved should contact us and we can discuss what is to be done to fight and also address any queries that need resolving.
ACE shall be opening a forum to improve communication in the very near future, we are taking this step because we have very little time to go to other forums to deal with queries due to such a short time frame.

The Details
How can it become law without Consultations taking place?
They have already taken place! The Consultation took place via a EU only website and was, to all intents and purposes purely to do with Roadworthiness testing.
These are the other Consultations that have formed the backbone of this ‘proposal’:
- Directive 2009/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (OJ L 141 of 6.6.2009, p.12).
- Directive 2000/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 June 2000 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Community, as amended (OJ L 203 of 10.8.2000, p.1).
- Council Directive 1999/37/EC of 29 April 1999 of 29 April 1999 on the registration documents of vehicles (OJ L 138 of 1.6.1999, p.57).
- COM(2011) 144 final.
- COM(2010) 186 final.
- COM(2008) 30 final.
- Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (OJ L 152, 11.6.2008, p.1)
“An open consultation was conducted over the Internet from 29 July 2010 to 24 September 2010. The Commission received 9,653 responses from citizens, Member State authorities, equipment suppliers, test centres, garage associations and vehicle manufacturers.”

This is the Consultation in question:-

So how do things change with this ‘proposal’?
Firstly all vehicles other than clearly defined Historic must undergo a roadworthiness test and part of that will ensure that the vehicle meets its original Type Approval, i.e. is totally standard.

“General context Before a vehicle is allowed to be put on the market, it has to fulfil all the relevant type or individual approval requirements guaranteeing an optimal level of safety and environmental standards. Every Member State has the obligation to register for the first time any vehicle that got the European type-approval on the basis of the “Certificate of Conformity” issued by the vehicle manufacturer.” 
“….The goal of roadworthiness testing is to check the functionality of safety components, the environmental performance and the compliance of a vehicle with its approval.” 

Who is this going to affect? 
 Within the ‘proposal’ it states that: -
 This Regulation shall apply to vehicles with a design speed exceeding 25 km/h of the following categories, as referred to in Directive 2002/24/EC, Directive 2007/46/EC and Directive 2003/37/EC:
- motor vehicles having at least four wheels, used for the carriage of passengers and with not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat – vehicle category M1,
- motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and with more than eight seats, excluding the driver’s seat – vehicle category M2 and M3,
- motor vehicles having at least four wheels, normally used for the road carriage of goods and with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3 500 kg – vehicle category N1,
- motor vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3500kg – vehicle categories N2 and N3,
- trailers and semi-trailers with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3500 kg – vehicle categories O1 and O2
- trailers and semi-trailers with a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3500kg – vehicle categories O3 and O4
- two or three-wheel vehicles – vehicle categories L1e, L2e, L3e, L4e, L5e, L6e and L7e
- wheeled tractors with a maximum design speed exceeding 40 km/h – vehicle category T5.

Will anyone be exempt from being tested to original standard specification?
Once again within the ‘proposal’ This Regulation shall not apply to:
- vehicles of historic interest
- vehicles belonging to armed forces, fire services, civil protection, emergency or rescue services
- vehicles used by agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery undertakings with a maximum design speed not exceeding 40 km/h
- specialised vehicles transporting circus and funfair equipment with a maximum design speed not exceeding 40 km/h and only operating on the territory of the Member State.

So Historic vehicles won’t have to worry?
Within the UK we have a system that allows alterations to ANY, including Historic, vehicles whilst still allowing them to retain their identity. Known commonly as the 8 point system and also we have the ability to change body appearance on chassis based vehicles.
However the ‘proposal’ contains a NEW EU wide Historic vehicle definition.
“(7) ‘vehicle of historic interest’ means any vehicle which fulfils all the following conditions :
- It was manufactured at least 30 years ago,
- It is maintained by use of replacement parts which reproduce the historic components of the vehicle;
- It has not sustained any change in the technical characteristics of its main components such as engine, brakes, steering or suspension and
- It has not been changed in its appearance; ”

This ties in with the FIVA definition ACE has been warning would become law, rather than being used as a ‘lobbying tool’ as suggested by others.

Why do you keep saying ‘proposal’ rather than Proposal?
 Because this is anything but a Proposal which most would assume requires further consultation. This will pass into law very shortly .
The procedure for becoming law is :-
Once forwarded it only takes two readings by EU Parliament and EU Council without objection and it becomes law!
The ‘proposal’ has already been forwarded to both Parliament and the Council as detailed here :-
of document: 13/07/2012
of transmission: 13/07/2012; Forwarded to the Parliament
of transmission: 13/07/2012; Forwarded to the Council ”

This is NOT a drill, we repeat, NOT a drill.

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