By on July 26, 2015

Qoros-3-Sedan-Safety-structure

Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting.

Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a popular U.S. car in 2013 comply with European safety standards cost $42 million for the automaker.

Trade talks have been been ongoing for 10 months and lobbyists are hoping one government will adopt the standards of the other, instead of creating a separate system.

The story details the differences between U.S. and E.U. safety regulations, as small as a trunk release latch in the U.S that isn’t required in Europe, all the way up to small overlap front crash protection.

Despite the differences, both sets of safety regulations create equally safe cars and would boost EU-U.S. auto trade by 20 percent, the Peterson Institute for International Economics said in a study.

This isn’t the first call for harmonized regulations, Ford and Daimler have both asked for unified standards.

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97 Comments on “Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations...”


  • avatar
    Jeff S

    It is about time they did something like this. They need to also add universal emission and fuel efficiency standards. Much easier and less expensive to have universal (global) standards for all the developed countries.

    • 0 avatar
      Frownsworth

      I am not all that convinced that safety standards should be harmonized. Some of the factors contributing to large differences in safety are road conditions, road structures, driving habits, commute distances, weight of passengers, average size/mass and speed of cars and weather (I am probably missing a few others too). I just do not see that all those factors are similar enough to warrant a single-ish standard between the EU and NA. The best we can do is probably a compromise which might lean either towards the EU model or the NA model, but then one of the two parties will be at an unsafe disadvantage. For the little things such as the above-mentioned “trunk release switch”, it may work.

      • 0 avatar
        thx_zetec

        I don’t see why EU standards would not work. Some Europeans (Germans) drive much faster than us on Freeway. Some countries (Holland, Denmark) are taller on average. And from pedestrian safety point of view Euro has many crowded cities. You have extreme winters up North.

        The purpose of safety regulations should not be to have zero deaths. The purpose should be to have best compromise and continually advance safety.

        This would also help US sell vehicles in Euro area.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          EU standards in the US would lead to more dead Americans. It wouldn’t be Armeggedon, but it wouldn’t help.

          You can’t compare countries to each other without accounting for all of the differences. The Germans don’t have teenage drivers and they are more likely to wear seat belts. They also don’t have the remote areas that the US has.

        • 0 avatar
          Frownsworth

          The Germans also have much better maintained roads and less extreme weathers involving ice and snow. Do not forget their extra-regimental driver training that we do not get here in NA.

          You can totally drive faster and be safer at the same time, but safety standards are about factoring in local needs, it would be pointless and powerless to come up with a safety standard for the EU while living in the US, for example. Manufacturer compliance is about balancing its approach between local needs and global needs.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I didn’t forget the licensing. I deliberately excluded it because it isn’t a factor.

            The only helpful aspect of having an expensive license that is difficult to get is that it reduces the number of young drivers on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The US has to deal with SUVs, which are a hazard to passenger cars.

        The Europeans have more concerns about pedestrians and weight saving for the sake of fuel economy.

        As I noted below, the automakers don’t actually care if the standards are harmonized. They want the ability to go jurisdiction shopping and to make only one version of a given vehicle based upon where it is produced.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Frownsworth
        Agree, because expectations are different. A compromise is probably going to be a solution, but even that is going to very hard fought

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Not only less expense, but it would mean more choices: Renault, Citroen, and every obscure Eastern European car would be available! Yay!

    • 0 avatar
      vtecJustKickedInYo

      I think it is easy to forget that many cars are based off Globalized Platforms (see Ford Focus, VW Anything). The concern about SUVs and Big Rigs are legitimate, however at the same time their safety standards for being safer to other vehicles in a collision should be considered. Having globalized (for EU and US) would at most lead to an increased loss of life within a margin of error. The EURO NCAP is a very good system and much easier to understand than the US good better bs.

      Emissions globalization is more difficult because the EU and US have different emissions target. US is more MPG NOx based and the EU is more C02 Based. Having systems that can do everything is very expensive so it is sometimes best to have emissions systems tailored to each specific countries demands (for a mass produced car) than to develop a more costly system (which increases product cost) that covers all bases.

  • avatar
    Joss

    If they succeed no savings to consumers either side of the pond. Straight to shareholders.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      If you’re an American, you almost certainly have money in a 401k, which almost certainly means *you* are a shareholder. Ergo, you save one way or the other, but not both. The difference being – corporations have legal responsibilities to shareholders that they do not have w/r/t customers. Don’t like it? Exercise your democratic power to change the system.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        My 401k doesn’t have shares in every company of everything I consume. So no, I am not a shareholder. The savings won’t be passed on to the consumer; so I don’t save in either situation. So what is our democratic power to change the system? Three swings and three misses is an out in my book. Logic like this should be riding the bench.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          What do you own? Or do you even know? This article is about automakers, I bet you own at least one..

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Oh I proudly do own individual shares of Ford. My 401ks and Roths do not have Ford or GM stock or any other automobile or parts making companies. Yes, I can read what my mutual fund sends me and what funds are made of. You still haven’t explained how the non-401k consumer saves or what our “democratic power to change the system”. I anxiously await your elegant treatise on investing, the overall dynamics of the free market, and “democratic power to change the system” I am personally thankful that you’ve deigned us worthy of your munificent beneficiaries.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s not as if having more dead and severely injured people is some kind of bargain.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Gee, El Scotto, you’re so smart, why do you need a guy like me to explain it to you?

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “you’re so smart, why do you need a guy like me to explain it to you?”

            Stop making me flash back to 5th grade.

            We had nuns.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

      • 0 avatar

        Only 50% of working Americans have a 401 K and I remember reading that about 50% of that 50% have less than 10k in their 401k so really share holder value at most helps less than 25% of working Americans.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Also, if you’re a median American buying a car, your share of auto industry ownership, is much smaller than your share of car buying. So, you’re still getting screwed in the scenario above.

        “Ownership society” chants are good opium for the people, but unless you or your parents are on Yellen’s payroll, it doesn’t really amount to much in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      most economists would disagree. Auto industry is competitive with extra production capacity, should be passed on to consumer with industry benefiting with higher volume.

      If a fixed un-needed cost does not affect price, consider this: apply a 100 dollar fee to all cars sold, and give me the money. Since prices not affected by cost structure then prices same, I get rich. Free lunch as it were.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Can you cite references for your 1st paragraph? Excess capacity and the inherent lower prices benefit the consumer. The maker does not benefit by making more for less profit, witness GM gong bankrupt. The consumer seeks the lowest price, the maker the highest profit; they stay mutually exclusive. That’s where the free lunch saying kicks in. Needed or not, the cost is fixed and is a cost and added into the price in some manner to include the maker just adding the total cost into the price. So no, there is no free lunch. In fact, your silly-ass $100 fee just cost me a bottle of 24 year old scotch. What will ponder on next? An oxygen-free atmosphere?

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          If GM and Ford both save $100 on two cars you are equally inclined to buy, but do not pass along any savings to you, each have a 50% chance of making the $100 windfall. If, OTOH, Ford decides to pass along $1 to you, they have a 100% chance of making $99. But, realizing this, GM figures it can get $98 with 100% certainty, by undercutting Ford by $1. And so on, until you’ve got by far most of the $100. Textbook definition of the functioning of a competitive market.

          The domestic makers reckon they stand to make their lobbyists’ fees back because they assume the regulatory differences are causing them bigger difficulties in Europe, than it causes the Euro makes over here. Not because they think they can milk another $100 or whatever off of domestic customers.

      • 0 avatar

        This is the problem with most economists they seem to study each others theory’s with out looking at the actual world.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The push towards global platforms in recent years finally made harmonization more attractive that the de facto protectionism created by differing standards. True harmonization will take a while to sort out (some standards are mutually contradictory), but reciprocal acceptance would be a good short-term solution.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    All I want is for the US to get rid of those ugly yellow/amber turn required turn signals indicators and all will be right with the world.

  • avatar
    Onus

    The article states that license plate brackets are a major change. Seriously?

    Put two or three bolts in a reduced square space that all global license plates would cover. Then, make a bunch of different brackets to fit various different plate designs.

    Europe is a disaster on this front, even in the EU some member states have different size plates eg. Finland. Atleast in the US you buy a car and it comes with brackets and you just plop in your plate and bolt it down. Plus all of North and Central America use the exact same plate size as well as half of South America and a large part of the Caribbean.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I thought most global auto companies already have the space for different plates.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I am going to guess that the plate issue may have more to do with EU pedestrian safety regulations, particularly the mounting of the front plate and the need to minimize protrusions. I don’t think that bolting a bracket to the front of the car would cut it, as it would in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        I can only speak for Russia. Not the EU but we get most of the same stuff. Cars have big plastic brackets on the front not unlike us cars just longer and shorter. Though the plates mostly don’t bolt in, they snap in. People usually zip tie the plates on as well for good measure.

        Though domestic Russian brands bolt nearly universally. Since every plate here comes with two predrilled holes on the left and right.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          In the EU, front plates are flush and integrated into the grille or bumper, at least if what I have seen is a reflection of the norm. Russia isn’t the EU.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Automakers don’t really care whether standards are harmonized. What they want is for the US to accept vehicles that meet EU standards and vice versa. And in most respects, those standards are lower for the EU than they are for the US; they would like to be able to ship EU-spec cars to the US without any modifications.

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      What the difference between harmonized standards and having the two markets accept each others cars? Isn’t this like the “that’s what he said Gilligan” joke?

      The idea is that having two sets of standards is wasteful, and that one set would cut costs and allow more consumer choice.

      The commenters on this board would be able to choose between many diesel minivans with bench-seats and column mounted manual shifters – in many, many shades of Brown!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Harmonized” sounds good. “Accepting cars that won’t meet US standards,” not so much.

        People are suckers are hollow jargon. Everybody loves harmony.

        • 0 avatar
          thx_zetec

          I have to agree with you. “Accepting cars that won’t meet US standards” is deceptive jargon. Seriously though. The standards are very complex and 99% of people don’t know the details so all kinds of spin can be applied similar to “pro-choice/pro-life” for abortion case. Most people should see both sides, that regulations should have greatest cost/benefit.

          In this case Euro regulation environment is considered pretty good overall. I see plus side in some cases, e.g. euro pedestrian-protection regs strict that might carry over here.

          BTW I’ll take my Skoda rear-engine Minivan with 6 speed manual, 2 liter diesel, in Balkan-Sienna Tan w/ Carpathian Mocha vinyl interior and 3.26 drive-ratio – I can hardly wait.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      The fight is going to be over the lower safety U.S. Standards for Vehicles. Europeans will not compromise on safety, so I cannot see any changes in that regard. Even tinting of windows is a big issue, heavier tinting allowed in the U.S. Is illegal in Europe and here.
      Not going to be easy. I do not expect much change in the status quo

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If it is domestic makers doing the lobbying, I would be very surprised if the focus was on making Euro cars cheaper to sell in the US, instead of the other way around.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Oh Lawsy,some of the Aussie contingent will have orgasms and an unbridled need to lecture us on UN approved auto safety standards. They may try to both at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I find it fascinating that they are so vehement about something that they obviously don’t understand.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @ El Scotto,
      ANCAP and U.S. standards are similar. Europeans have differing standards

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I love Robert. He can’t even get simple things right.

        Compare his comment…

        “ANCAP and U.S. standards are similar. Europeans have differing standards”

        …To what is on the ANCAP website:
        ______
        How does the ANCAP test program compare with overseas test programs?

        The most similar test program to ANCAP is that of Euro NCAP. ANCAP harmonised test procedures with Euro NCAP in 1999 and participates in a crash test data exchange allowing a considerable number of European manufactured models to be tested in Europe and rated for the Australasian market.

        https://www.ancap.com.au/frequently-asked-questions
        ______
        A guy who would have to deliberately go out of his way to be as wrong as often as this Robert Ryan clown.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @PCH101,
          Due to low IQ or reading difficulties you seemingly cannot comprehend the simplest posts.
          Last time I looked Australia was not a state of Europe. We are arguing about European versus US Standards,not Australian

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Moron,
          ANCAP does not have problems with US standards, Europeans do. They could not care less. US has to change, if it wants too

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Most of this pressure is coming from Domestic USMakers, who cannot export to Europe and other places. Europeans could not care less as they have transplant factories in the U.S.and Mexico

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        RobertRyan: what makes you say the 2 US brands (Chrysler belongs to fiat) don’t have “transplants”? ford produces most of its European cars in europe. it basically is not even really considered an american car maker. GM with Opel/Vauxhall also produces mot cars there. some Chevrolets probably come from Korea. I don’t think anyone at GM or Ford plans to ramp up US production to export more cars tot he EU. If they had need for more cars, they have underutilized factories right there.

        Chrysler used to be the only US brand not having real production. but no one would have wanted 1980s Chryslers, and then they became a German, and not are an Italien, Dutch or whatever company with plenty of spare capacity in Europe.

        Ties are so old and close, most Nazi trucks were made by GM and Ford.

        the ties of the US manufacturers

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          FCA does not have transplants in North America. Of all the manufacturers in NA, they have done the most too make their NAFTA production exportable. As a result Jeep has been exported to many countries
          I agree with your query about Ford, GM having European operations, why bother about exporting? To the U.S.
          Confusion generally on what the U.S. manufacturers want to achieve.
          What do they want to export to Europe?

          achieve

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @RobertRyan:
            “Confusion generally on what the U.S. manufacturers want to achieve.
            What do they want to export to Europe?”

            You’re making the same mistake that most Americans make, by thinking of Ford+Chrysler+GM as American companies.

            They were once, but they’re transnational businesses now, with no particular allegiance.

            No, with that as context, what are they trying to achieve? Cost reduction and economies of scale. They want one design to that they can produce worldwide.

            It’s a global business.

            Last I heard, lobbying had about a 24000% ROI, so I can see why they’d try to buy rule changes like this.

            P.S. AFIAK, their iterests also favor removing the old protectionist tariffs, so that they can shift production and product around according to their business needs – rather than when politicians say it’s OK. This is a fascinating industry!

  • avatar
    05lgt

    How impossible is it to build a car that meets EU and US regs? EU doesnt prohibit trunk release pulls, US doesn’t prohibit amber turn indicators, small overlap and pedestrian safety might be harder to do both at once, but this is really all about picking the cheapest for each element to the OEM’s if I’m reading it right.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The US has higher crash standards. That costs money. They would like to save that money.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Exactly. They could build to meet both, but thats not the harmony they want to sing. My dearest wish is that an actual harmonized standard that reduced safety in neither market could be agreed to. Idealy its about a wash in costs and a plus to consumers. Never going to happen in either oligarchy though

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @05lgt
      That is the start , the list is long.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The big stumbling block is that pedestrian vs small overlap and general passenger safety in a frontal collision.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      There are some high volume end cars which look like they mostly conform to both standards.

      Look for the Euro-pedestrian-friendly hood cut line for a hint about how common this is. It’s more common on small cars and crossovers.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    First there needs to be a harmonization of tariffs. Say 10% for all European autos imported into the US. Until that happens, there’s no point in talking about all else. This is real money and easily $3,000 per car.

    It currently takes an OEM as little as $100 per car, according to the above link, to make the necessary changes to 100 parts before entering the EU market. Except I’m basing that on one car selling around 500,000 imported units in Europe, per generation.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Why not standardize safety standards by taking the safest of each safety feature and allowing that to be part of a global standard. What would be wrong with accepting a standard where vehicle roofs were made stronger and less likely to crush when a vehicle is rolled over? What is wrong with having the same standards for side impact and crush zones? Why would you have to take a less safe standard if the safest standards are agreed upon? A vehicle that is safer in the US from a crash with a large truck or suv should be just as safe in all markets even if those markets do not have large trucks or suvs. Why shouldn’t all vehicles be safer for pedestrians as well?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      A car that meets US crash standards should meet EU standards.

      But that level of compliance costs more money, and they don’t want to spend it.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Jeff S.
      U.S. Pickups fail in a hitting a pole accident. Still I agree Cabin safety like bracing etc, , crush rates should be similar

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “.. the safest of each safety feature..”

      “safest” will forever remain undefined. A 100 ton reactive armor tank is pretty safe in a crash for the driver. Less so for the poor Fiat it just slammed into. Ditto for bull bars and pedestrians. Etc., etc.

      Similarly, Motorcycles are relatively safe compared to big SUVs, as far as occupants of other cars are concerned. Yet none of them have crumple zones, multiple airbags or any of the other exotica that is mandated in cars.

      In all honesty, most “safety standards” are simply complications put in place to keep competitors from easily coming in and taking market from established makes. After all, in true Progressive fashion, when new standards are proposed, representatives for existing makes are invited to weigh in. But not representatives from any possible Chinese outfit that just might want to jump in some time in the future, if only the requirements weren’t so geared towards production processes already amortized by the existing makes.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I don’t see why this could not be accomplished, it would make importing foreign cars a lot easier for Americans and as far as trucks are concerned, they fall under different rules as cars.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Volt230
      U.S. Automakers want easier access to European and other markets,where they sell very few NAFTA produced vehicles. Cannot see the status quo changing

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I think a list and explanation of current differences would be good. Probably hard to tell which ones are tougher with all the different speeds and impact angles. It also would be necessary to weigh the severity of features. Is lack of a trunk release as important as failing offset crashtest?

    I also wonder how difficult it is to meet the standards. After all, cars are sold that don’t get 5 stars. so if a 1-start test result still makes it legal, then the regulation doesn’t help much.

    I also like information on where manufacturers cut corners. Like the 2016 Hyundai Tucson that installs reinforcements needed for offset tests only on driver side, where it is tested.

    I foresee the following scenarios:
    1. US and EU adapt same standards, adopting the msot stringent requirements (unlikely)
    2. Harmonising based on least common demoniator (lower standards for both)
    3. Reciprocating acceptance. Then manufacturers build cars to whichever country has the lowest standards.

    Not sure if we will really get better cars out of this. It probably always is a safe bet to purchase a car that currently is sold in the US and EU because they need to be structurally designed to meet both standards. But they also may take certain parts out, like airbags or reinforcements.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Cost of compliance, why should they change, how many things differ. I think it is a huge issue,that will be probably forgotten about. If GM cannot make.Corvettes with RHD, how are they going to comply on the safety and design issues?

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        it probably depends more on if a car is designed from the beginning to meet both standards. then cost likely is small. It is a problem when the design has to meet the other region’s requirements “after the fact”.

        VW never cried about the Golf having to meet US standards because it was considered from the beginning.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      A basic difference is that NHTSA and (unofficial but still important) IIHS tests involve heavier trolley/crash barriers at higher speed.

      The US mandates airbags, plus requires that airbags be designed to work for unbelted passengers. The EU does not mandate airbags (although they are commonplace) and it is expected that car occupants will have belts on.

      The US has more requirements for interior padding.

      The EU does have stricter lighting requirements, including amber rear and front fender turn signals that the US does not mandate.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        I never knew airbags are not mandatory, but Google tells me you are right.
        Seems the crashtest requirements are so stringent, that they indirectly require airbags.

        I noticed in the US 6 airbags are standard in all cars (not sure if all 6 are mandatory…). some small cars in Europe still only have 4 airbags standard. Some European cars don’t even have AC standard, which i think is a bigger safety hazzard when you drive in 100°F sunshine and your brain fries….

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Offset crashes happen driver side to driver side because that’s the side of the car closest to oncoming traffic. As long as the side that’s braced moves with the driver side configuratikn that should ve OK.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    There’s a quote from FDR’s VP John Nance Garner about the Panay Incident that bedevils me as I now conflate all the books I’ve read about that era and Googledom fails me.

    In 1937 the Japanese during their conquest of Nanking used naval aircraft to bomb and strafe the USS Panay, a clearly flagged American gunboat on the Yangtze River then evacuating American citizens from Nanking.

    When first reports reached Washington a hawk in the FDR administration took Garner to task for his seemingly nonchalant reaction.

    Hawk: What will you say if we learn that Americans have been killed?!

    Garner: Well, I suppose that would depend on *which* Americans.

    That’s the mindset of those who would undermine the NHTSA, knowing their ilk can always afford the safest vehicles the market will supply (at a premium), and I doff my Carhartt cap to Pch101 for his unstinting opposition to such sentiments.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    How about making visibility mandatory in both regions? You know, the lack of glazing and visibility that prevents me from seeing OTHER CARS AND PEDESTRIANS.

    Wouldn’t that save more lives than more airbags? And you know, the technology of looking outside already exists. Like in cars 5 years and older.

    But no, instead we take the German approach. Instead of cheap glass we use $3K lane change assistant BS that will break one week after warranty expires.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The most common factor in distracted driving crashes is drivers looking out of the wrong window.

      People aren’t crashing because they can’t see. They crash because they are drunk, aggressive, asleep or not paying attention.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “The most common factor in distracted driving crashes is drivers looking out of the wrong window.”

        And sometimes he invents like a violinist in a cadenza.

        Some of us don’t drink, aggress or sleep at the wheel and we’d like to see out of our vehicles.

        Ja, stimmt, Herr KaLeun.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          My comment came straight out of the findings of the NHTSA-Virginia Tech Naturalistic study.

          In any case, “active safety” doesn’t work. Giving people cars that will presumably allow them to see or think better won’t help, because they won’t use the gear as intended. People drive however they feel like driving.

          “Passive safety” does work. Airbags, seat belts, and other gear that reduces crash severity saves lives.

          Here’s a basic rule of thumb: If you have an opinion about auto safety that isn’t informed by a knowledge of the research, then it is probably wrong. The facts of driving safety are largely counterintuitive while few of you reading this will ever do your homework, so most of you will get it wrong.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    This is a great idea. What took so long for this idea?

    Better yet (and I know this won’t happen), why doesn’t the government get out of regulating safety standards (and other areas)? The free market is the only proper regulatory body.

    Private nonprofit standards institutes could pick up where the regulatory agencies (such as the NHTSA) left off. Look at nonprofit institutes such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and so on–they set standards and are trusted and well-recognized. The manufacturers pay for certification and often participate in codifying the standards as a group effort. Sure, abiding by standards would be voluntary, but people vote with their wallets. Unsafe products obviously won’t be very popular, but the merchant and the consumer should make those decisions.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      Well, those “private” institutions would be useless if governments would not sanction them by requiring their approval. For example Electrical code requires “listed” equipment. If it wasn’t for government requiring your desklight to be UL listed, UL would be meaningless.

      i work in Design and construction requiring following code everyday. and I can tell you, designers stretch the truth to show code-compliance (i.e. rudimentary safety, energy efficiency etc.). And they are not willing (and their clients are neither) to do anything above code. If government would not require UL listing tomorrow, I promise, 99% of devices installed tomorrow would be some Chinese knockoff that burns up.

  • avatar
    wmba

    So the manufacturers are at it again. About every two or three years Ford stands up on its hind legs and squawks about “harmonizing” the regs. So, it’s like A DeMuro refrain, recycled every couple of years, with the same commenters saying the same things all over again. Robert Ryan is a particular nitwit on this and many other subjects which only spring into his own particular head, things like insurance for LHD cars not being available in the UK, which is demonstrably false.

    The US has better standards in the most meaningful areas, and IIHS adds its own unofficial ones on top, shaming manufacturers on things like small overlap crash testing – it’s unofficial, but effective lobbying none the less.

    In the EU, where bureaucrats are king, the IIHS wouldn’t get a look in, so EU cars aren’t as good at crashes, Ford’s crabbing about equal outcomes being just that, which they cannot prove in any meaningful way. But they like to carp anyway and hope that no one will notice, having spent that $42 million making the Fusion “safe” as the Mondeo in the EU.

    Funny nobody bought up the EU Type Approval. Over there, a car design has to be pre-approved before sale, leading to all sorts of private pre-approval companies of sometimes dubious capability. Then if some joker approves the vehicle in Outer Slobovia, all the other EU members must accept the thing on their roads.

    The US requires car companies to meet the regs, and then checks afterwards to see if they were lying when something goes wrong, and has huge penalties for the liars – like FCA RAM trucks. This means type approvals are not required in the US, which allows manufacturers to make running improvement changes without having to resort to another type approval.

    The EU can, but never does, send inspectors out to check car designs afterwards. It’s a lackluster, bureaucratic system that changes only when some bureaucrat thinks it should, not when a powerful third party such as IIHS shows shortcomings. So it’s also cheaper.

    The US should harmonize with the EU only if they agree to US standards affecting structures and interior layouts. Turn signal lights and driving lights are easy, the serious stuff isn’t.

    UNECE standards, similar to Euro ones allow reptiles like Max Mosley to make money conning countries like India on safety requirements, by crashing cars in Germany to stiff, some say beyond Euro standards, decrying the bad results, and offering “consulting” on how to do better in future.

    Does the US want people like the guy Sepp Blatter who runs FIFA, Bernie Ecclestone and his crowd, Mosley or the IOC making money with old boy’s clubs? The Europeans definitely win at corruption. Stay away.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This is just what we need–some nimrod in Brussels designing our cars for us here in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Well, the bureaucrats don’t design the cars, they have regulations regarding them, just as the US does.

      So your comment is about as bright as the bureaucrats you condemn.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    some other difference between the EU and US to consider:
    1. Average US car is older than average EU car. Even if EU regs are a few years behind US regs, the average (or mean) car may be of similar real-life safety. This is especially true since many older EU cars get removed due to safety inspections (and emission test, and registration fee based on emission).
    2. Police (and mandatory bi-annual) safety inspections) take out the bad cars rather quickly. Some cars I see every day on US streets would have been removed in the EU many years ago. Fully corroded, smoking,….
    3. There is a generally better attitude among EU drivers to service the car and repair it. Just take brake fluid as a example, EU drivers get a heart attack if the brake fluid is older than the recommended 2 years. Here in the US most people will deny that brake fluid ever needs to be replaced. Same for tire pressure that no one seems to check in the US.
    4. This is less related to actual car safety, but first aid training, having up-to date first aid kit, hazard sign, safety west etc. are mandatory and Police also check for that.
    5. Not every idiot gets a drivers license in the EU. Children (16 year olds…) are not allowed to drive and there is much less tolerance for drunk driving. Alcohol limits are much lower (even 0% in many countries, and heavily enforced) and drunk driving doesn’t only yield a fine, it yields license suspension and mandatory psychological test. This again is not related to crash tests, but sure improves overall safety.
    6. The average EU vehicle is much smaller and lighter. So any accident likely is against a lighter enemy than a US accident.
    7. Speed limits typically are lower in the EU. Especially in-town and highway. I know the Autobahn has higher limits than the Interstate, but only on well-built stretches. In addition the Autobahn left lane belongs to the new/large/expensive cars. Slow/old/cheaper cars stay on the right. In the US there seems to be a rule that the worse and slower your car is, the more left you need to be on the Interstate (anecdotal of course :-).

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