Canada and the European Union’s newly inked free trade agreement will eliminate the 6.1 percent tariff on imported vehicles, but one big obstacle remains: the lack of harmonization between Canadian and European vehicle standards. According to a report by The Globe and Mail, Mercedes-Benz Canada’s President is calling for an end to the differing standards, which feature unique requirements and add costs to Canadian vehicles.
“Are you really going to say that a car that has been deemed safe enough and environmentally okay for Europe is not environmentally okay and safe to be driven in Canada or vice versa?”
Reuss said that harmonized standards would allow for the sale of the A-Class and an AWD variant of the Sprinter, as well as new safety technologies like flashing brake lights that warn of a sudden stop. Canada’s own regulations are slightly different from the American FMVSS regulations, but are more similar to the United States than the UNECE standards.
Other auto makers would no doubt be glad to have a single set of regulations for Canada. A TTAC source claims that VW would be able to sell the Polo in Canada, which is sized and packaged right for Canadian market tastes, but the cost of homologating the car make it economically unviable for sale in Canada, given the volumes it would do.
By contrast, Australia, which has a similar sized market, accepts UNECE regulations, and has a notoriously crowded market full of brands and nameplates, while Mexico, another NAFTA country, accepts both sets of regulations, and has many European brands and nameplates that would be more suited for the Canadian market, but are currently not sold here.