Under the current rules manufacturers may choose any of the 28 EU type approval authorities (TAAs) which they pay to approve their products, so they go “shopping” around for the best offer. There is no oversight to ensure the authorities all work to the same standard and apply the EU rules correctly. In the absence of this, TAAs compete for manufacturers because they very well know that if one authority becomes too strict, the client will simply go to the more friendly authority. In contrast to other systems, such as in the US, no independent verification testing once vehicles and parts are in use takes place – market surveillance is the responsibility of the industry itself.
This obsolete system is in dire need of overhaul; EU oversight of national TAAs and independent spot checks throughout the vehicle’s lifetime on our roads must be introduced in Europe. Following the VW emissions scandal, the Commission presented a new proposal to reform the current EU car testing system. T&E is campaigning to ensure any future system is Transparent, Rigorous and Resourceful, Independent and Consistent, which is a TRRIC for success.