Japan’s Automobile Manufacturers Association said “hai, wakatta” (yes, we understand) to their government, and promised to “actively support the creation of an international mutual-recognition framework for passenger cars,” reports The Nikkei [sub].
Turns out, the Japanese government is behind the idea to agree on an International Whole Car Type Approval. The idea had been floated in Geneva, and received widespread agreement. No wonder: The Europeans are intimately familiar with the concept, due to their European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA). And the Americans aren’t part of the party. They are doing their own FMVSS thing.
A working group under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (which had long spread to all parts of the world, despite its name) agreed Wednesday to create an international framework for cars. A specific plan is to be drawn up over a year or so. The standards are planned to be ready by March 2016. That seems to be a bit long, given that the European standards are already in place. But the 6 years give everybody time to get ready.
According to the Nikkei, “the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association hopes that a new framework will foster more widespread use of safe, green vehicles. It also believes that the cost of getting vehicles approved will decline for automakers.” Before, it was mostly the Japanese opposition that frustrated attempts to agree on an international standard. A kick in the rear end by their government seems to have changed that position. Also, Euro/Nipponese alliances are all the rage, whereas relationships with the U.S. have, well, cooled off. As long as the U.S.A. boycotts UNECE, U.S. car exports will not profit from the new rules.