What is Whole Vehicle Type-Approval?

Share the article

Do you need your vehicles to be able to move freely within the EU? Do you want to be able to sell your vehicle in any EU country? Then it’s essential to have whole vehicle type-approval. But what does whole vehicle type-approval actually mean?

How do I get my vehicle certified and type-approved?

Technical harmonisation in the EU is based on the EC type-approval of vehicles, referred to as Whole Vehicle Type-Approval (EC-WVTA). Whole vehicle type-approval allows a vehicle manufacturer to obtain a certificate (a type-approval) for a vehicle type in an EU Member State. The vehicle type can then be sold and move freely throughout the EU without requiring further testing or certification.

The certificate itself is obtained by the type-approval authority in the EU Member State; in Sweden this is the Swedish Transport Agency, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in Norway, the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Germany, the Danish Road Safety and Transport Agency in Denmark, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) in Finland, and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) in the UK.

EU Directive 2007/46 serves as the basis for whole vehicle type-approval and defines the safety and environmental requirements, with a number of UNECE regulations defining additional technical requirements a vehicle must meet in order to be used freely within the EU.

The vehicle test to obtain a certificate is performed in accordance with the established requirements for whole vehicle type-approval, and is carried out by a designated technical service and the manufacturer. A number of organisations or bodies can serve as a technical service (TS), and it is the approval authority in the EU Member State that designates the technical services to be used, which may include domestic or foreign companies.

Updated regulations

On 30 May 2018, the EU voted to update whole vehicle type-approval with the new Regulation (EU) 2018/858 on type-approval of motor vehicles and trailers, including the systems and components used in the vehicles to be certified. Other regulations included in the whole vehicle type-approval are EU 715/2007 and EU 595/2009 (both of which have been updated) as well as several UNECE regulations.

As a result, Directive EU 2007/46 for new type-approval will no longer be valid from 1 September 2020.

What does this mean?

The reason for updating whole vehicle type-approval is a consequence of the 2016 emissions scandal, the revelations of which demonstrated the need for regulatory changes and market surveillance.

The EU says that the updated framework will:

  1. Raise the quality level and independence of type-approval and testing before a car is placed on the market
    • Technical services will be regularly and independently audited, on the basis of stringent performance criteria, to obtain and maintain their designation by a Member State for testing and inspecting new car models. The Commission and other Member States will be able to challenge a designation when something is wrong.
    • National type-approval authorities will be subject to Commission audits to ensure that the relevant rules are implemented and enforced rigorously across the EU.
    • The Commission’s proposal to modify the remuneration system to avoid that technical services are paid directly by the manufacturer was not maintained.

  2. Increase checks of cars that are already on the EU market
    • While the current type-approval rules deal mainly with ex ante controls of prototypes taken from the production line, in the future Member States will have to carry out regular spot-checks on vehicles already on their market and such results will be made publicly available.

    • All Member States will now be able to immediately take safeguard measures against non-compliant vehicles on their territory without having to wait for the authority that issued the type-approval to take action, as is currently still the case.
  3. European oversight
    • In the future, the Commission will carry out market checks independently from Member States and will have the possibility to initiate EU-wide recalls. It will have the power to challenge the designation of technical services, and to impose administrative penalties on manufacturers or technical services of up to €30,000 per non-compliant car.
    • The Commission will lead a new enforcement forum to ensure a more uniform interpretation of relevant EU legislation, complete transparency on cases of non-compliance, and better and more coordinated market surveillance activities by Member States.

Source:European Commission/Press Corner 


Furthermore, a number of technical requirements described in the General Safety Regulation (GSR) will also be updated. The main focus is to provide requirements for technical functions aimed at increasing safety for unprotected road users. Essentially, the GSR is based on the various aforementioned UNECE regulations included in type-approval. In the updated GSR, we will see requirements for functions such as automatic braking in dangerous situations, blind spot systems, reverse warning systems, etc. The function requirements are implemented differently depending on the vehicle type: passenger car, light transport vehicle, bus, heavy truck or trailer.

Contact an expert

Discuss this post

Subscribe to the blog