European Union Empowered to Recall Vehicles Over Emission Violations
Updated rules have granted the European Commission the ability to not only check cars for emissions compliance, but also issue recalls for those found in violation.
Previously, recalls were required to be issued by the EU member nations that initially certified the vehicles. But the European Commission claims this tactic has allowed automakers to easily circumvent regulatory mandates, making large-scale recalls slower to progress for almost a decade. Following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal in 2015, the EU ramped up efforts to consolidate regulatory powers after the United States was the one that initially busted the German automaker for cheating during pollution tests.
The European Commission will now be able to enact recalls on its own authority and fine automakers up to 30,000 euros ($35,725 USD) per vehicle. Those in broad opposition of giving Brussels additional authority have criticized the changes, while those supportive of the EU claim it will be able to deliver environmental justice more swiftly than individual nations.
According to Reuters, the European Commission will also be able revoke roadworthiness certifications. That’s likely to make the automotive industry more vulnerable to compensation claims from European customers purchasing vehicles that are later taken off the road. Rather than taking several smaller hits over a longer timeline, European manufacturers would now be subjected to one colossal lump sum. The Commission has already invested roughly €7 million into two testing labs for conducting vehicle tests.
However, individual nations will still be required to conduct tests on models already in circulation to ensure they’re eligible for continued certification. In fact, the EU suggested this will be an important aspect of uncovering vehicles utilizing defeat devices that are primarily aimed at beating preliminary emissions assessments (typically conducted in labs) but are less adept at fooling on-road appraisals.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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