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Old 03-08-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Japan Proposes International Whole Car Type Approval.




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The Japanese government floated a highly interesting idea in Geneva. It could possibly revolutionize international car trade. Except for the United States. According to today’s Nikkei [sub], the Japanese government has proposed that the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, a working party of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, create a system for international whole vehicle type approval. The UNECE immediately began looking into the idea last Saturday, and as per the Nikkei, by Saturday evening, “a majority of the member countries had agreed to the proposal.” That was fast.

It did not need much work: An international mutual recognition framework already exists for automobile components. The USA and Canada are absent from this framework. Says the Nikkei: “But for vehicles themselves, automakers have to obtain for each model approval from their own government as well as the governments of the countries to which they export.” Well, not exactly.

In Europe exists something called European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA). A car that is legal in one country of the EU is automatically legal in the whole EU. The ECWVTA relies heavily on the UNECE framework and embodies most UNECE regulations into the Whole Vehicle Type Approval process. But, this applies only to Europe. The idea of a (more or less) worldwide Whole Vehicle Type Approval scheme had been floated at several times. It received the cold shoulder, especially from Japan. Until late, Japan, although a signatory to UNECE, had been dragging its heels. By the end of 2008, Japan had included only 35 of the 127 existing ECE regulations in its JASIC rules.

Recently, Japan became more activist. They made advances to include their EV standards into the ECE rules. When this happened, TTAC opined: “Hopefully, worldwide adoption of Japan’s standards for hybrid and electric vehicles will entice Japan to adopt more ECE rules. It would be a big step towards a world of internationally accepted safety and emission regulations, a world from which the U.S.A. decided to isolate itself.”

It is highly interesting that the initiative for an UNECE-wide whole car type approval comes from Japan at a time when its industry receives heavy flak from the U.S. As you can see from the immediate reaction, the other UNECE members had just been waiting for this. Adoption is basically guaranteed.

This would allow manufacturers from other UNECE member countries instant access to Japan and South Korea, which currently have their own stringent type approval rules. It also would open the doors to the 52 member countries of UNECE.

Who will be left out (most likely to loud protestations)? The USA and Canada. The USA had deliberately chosen not to join UNECE. Canada, which is an adjunct of the U.S. auto industry, had no other choice and remained a non-member.

Under Whole Vehicle Type Approval rules, a car is rigorously tested by a government agency before it is admitted to the road. The U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) embody no such checking.

NHTSA proudly proclaims on their website: “It is the responsibility of a manufacturer of vehicles and/or items of motor vehicle equipment to certify that each motor vehicle and/or equipment item is in full compliance with the minimum performance requirements of all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). This is a self-certification process as opposed to the type approval process which is used in some other countries such as Japan. The NHTSA does not issue approval tags, stickers or labels for vehicles or equipment items before or after the first sale.

In order to provide certification, the manufacturer takes whatever actions it deems appropriate.” This policy is a disaster waiting to happen, and it is just as ambulance-chasing attorneys want it.

If UNECE goes to Whole Vehicle Type Approval, manufacturers of member states will have zero time to other UNECE markets, whereas US manufacturers must go through a separate type approval process and manufacture their export cars according to the worldwide standard.

America becomes increasingly isolationist; the rest of the world closes ranks and becomes more open – towards the rest of the world
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/japan-proposes-international-whole-car-type-approval-usa-gets-isolated/
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:21 PM   #2
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It's about time.

We are foolish to not adopt UNECE standards, it would allow for more competition and for us to actually be able to sell U. S. made vehicles in other countries.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:31 PM   #3
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So it boils down to money.

The US Government can't be under those rules, and still charge exorbitant amounts of money to crash test every little difference in every little car line. Every body change, every engine change, even if the car's structure is the same, each has to be federalized, at the cost of millions from the manufacturers to the US government. A de-facto tax.

And the reason why the US doesn't get a fair number of cars from other manufacturers, and it doesn't help US companies create world-car platforms very cost efficiently, either.

I am all for sovereignty, and in no way should the US give any up... but there is some common-sense international cross-certification that can happen. that is a lot of redundant bureaucracy that can be trimmed.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by HipToBeSquare View Post
So it boils down to money.

The US Government can't be under those rules, and still charge exorbitant amounts of money to crash test every little difference in every little car line. Every body change, every engine change, even if the car's structure is the same, each has to be federalized, at the cost of millions from the manufacturers to the US government. A de-facto tax.

And the reason why the US doesn't get a fair number of cars from other manufacturers, and it doesn't help US companies create world-car platforms very cost efficiently, either.

I am all for sovereignty, and in no way should the US give any up... but there is some common-sense international cross-certification that can happen. that is a lot of redundant bureaucracy that can be trimmed.
This, and you drive the same car I do.

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Old 03-08-2010, 01:57 PM   #5
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My favorite car I ever owned was my 2005 LGT, so that makes me in the club maybe? It is the one subaru out of the 8 I had I wish I had back.

I do agree we need to get on the bandwagon with common around the world standards.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:02 PM   #6
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Would be nice to easily import cars from abroad.

Ironically, it was MB USA who was largely behind making it so impossible process:

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This avenue was increasingly successful, especially in cases where only lower-specification models were officially offered on the US market. For example, Mercedes-Benz chose to offer only the lower-output 380SEL model to Americans in 1981, ensuring a huge demand for the much faster 500SEL available in the rest of the world. BMW had the same issue with their 745i Turbo. The grey market was successful enough that it ate significantly into the business of Mercedes-Benz of North America and their dealers. The corporation launched a successful million-dollar congressional lobbying effort to stop private importation of vehicles not officially intended for the U.S. market. An organisation called AICA (Automotive Importers Compliance Association) was formed by importers in California, Florida, New York, Texas, and elsewhere to counter some of these actions by Mercedes lobbyists, but the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed in 1988, effectively ending private import of grey-market vehicles to the United States. No evidence was presented that grey-import vehicles' safety performance differed significantly from that of US models, and there have been allegations of improper lobbying, but the issue has never been raised in court.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_import_vehicle
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:04 PM   #7
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Btw, makes you wonder why they could not actually import these cars but instead shut off the grey market.

You can't figure out or rein in idiots in corporate marketing departments, so it's best to neutralize them by opening up the borders.

Last edited by unclemat; 03-08-2010 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
My favorite car I ever owned was my 2005 LGT, so that makes me in the club maybe? It is the one subaru out of the 8 I had I wish I had back.

I do agree we need to get on the bandwagon with common around the world standards.
Yeah it would be nice if we adopted the Metric system too.. but the US likes to do things differently, even if its worse.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chiznarles View Post
Yeah it would be nice if we adopted the Metric system too.. but the US likes to do things differently, even if its worse.
Yes it sure would be nice, however, due to the cost of such a change and the amount of confusion it will cause, IMHO makes it not worth it...
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:45 PM   #10
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Yes it sure would be nice, however, due to the cost of such a change and the amount of confusion it will cause, IMHO makes it not worth it...
Have you ever considered the cost of NOT changing to metric system? The cost have been continuously and needlessly incurred for like past 100 years.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:12 PM   #11
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I'm all for an international standard....

... and going completely to the metric system.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:34 PM   #12
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its time...for METRIC TIME!!!
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by unclemat View Post
Have you ever considered the cost of NOT changing to metric system? The cost have been continuously and needlessly incurred for like past 100 years.
Good point. Though I dont know if I have the knowledge to do an accurate cost benefit analysis of conversion to metric.
All the infrastructure is already there with the imperial system. Think of all the gas stations, all the exit signes and mile markers that will need to be changed - consider that the exits will no longer be 1,2,3,4... but 1.6, 3.2, 4.8, etc. Thats not all, what about all the temperature and weather forecast confusions due to Fahrenheit to Centigrate (or Kelvin).
Also what do you think, Avg. Joe, doesn't know how to stop a toyota, he would be able to change all of a sudden.
Also what about our great congress, try bringing any such legislation in this country right now, and see how it goes . One party will contend that this will kill old people, while the other will say that its what the American people wanted all along. lol.

But I am going off topic above, this article is not about, metric and imperial. Its about a global standard for everything, I have always felt that is something that should have been attempted long ago. I can see cost reductions there for all companies. Also a more level playing fields. Hopefully politics can take a back seat here. But US and Canada not being there is a blow...
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:57 PM   #14
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All those safety and environmental regs are encouraged as trade barriers. Unfortunately every time they came up with a new one in US the Japanese could qualify better then US makers.
Ever wonder why home heating systems have no environmental controls at all?
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