Motor Vehicles Directive

Table of Contents


The requirement for EC type-approval for access to the internal market used to apply to private cars, motorcycles, mopeds and agricultural tractors. The European Union is extending this system to all categories of motor vehicles designed and constructed in one or more stages for use on the road and also to the systems, components and separate technical units designed and constructed for such vehicles. More precisely, the Directive 2007/46/EC is aimed at commercial vehicles (vans, lorries, semi-trailers, trailers), buses and coaches.

The Directive: MVD 2007/46/EC

The European Union (EU) is revising the framework for the approval of motor vehicles with a new Directive (2007/46/EC), which repeals and replaces Directive 70/156/EEC in order to have a clearer, more coherent text based on the principle of proportionality. The new Directive retains (in revised form) the majority of the provisions of the former Directive but also introduces some entirely new concepts and requirements.

2007/46/EC Directive’s main aim is to improve road safety by introducing a number of compulsory devices, as:

  • ABS (anti-lock braking system),
  • New and more effective rear-view mirrors (including the new front rear-view mirror),
  • Improved lights,
  • Side protection to prevent cyclists or pedestrians from being dragged under vehicles and anti-spray devices.

Furthermore, it lays down additional requirements for buses and coaches:

  • Emergency exits must be adapted to the number of people which the vehicle can hold,
  • Greater ease of access for persons with reduced mobility,
  • Sufficient “survival space” in the event of the vehicle rolling over.

The Directive also focuses on various environmental obligations such as CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, engine power and smoke from diesel engines.

The provisions of the proposal will be implemented from 2009 and will be phased in gradually until 2014, depending on the category of vehicle. The aim of the transition periods is to enable the industry to gradually adapt its production systems to the new requirements and enable governments to deal progressively with the increased number of requests for type-approval.

Path to EU Market Entry: Compliance

Under the new Directive 2007/46/EC the manufacturer is responsible towards the approval authority for all aspects of the approval process and for ensuring conformity of production, whether or not the manufacturer is directly involved in all stages of the construction of a vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit. In the case of multi-stage type-approval, each manufacturer is responsible for the approval and conformity of production of the systems, components or separate technical units added at the stage of vehicle completion handled by him.

The manufacturer who modifies components or systems already approved at earlier stages shall be responsible for the approval and conformity of production of those components and systems.
ECWVTA – European Community Whole Vehicle-Type Approval This is the process by which prototype vehicles are tested to meet European safety and environmental standards defined by various European Directives.

The process includes an assessment of the vehicle production, to ensure that all subsequent vehicles of the specific type, meet the same specification (Homologation ISO 9001 / TS16949). Type approved vehicles are then deemed fit for production and sale within Europe.

Until now, only passenger cars, 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles and agricultural vehicles have been subject to ECWVTC, but over the next few years the process will be extended to cover all passenger and goods vehicles and trailers.

Type Approval Regulations into-force dates for specific vehicles types:

  • 29th October 2010 Minibuses, buses and coaches built in one stage of first stage of a multistage build.
  • 29th October 2011 Light vans and trucks built in one stage or first stage of a multistage build. Minibuses, buses and coaches built in multiple stages.
  • 29th April 2012 Passenger vehicle for “Special purposes” (e.g. motor caravans, ambulances and armored cars).
  • 29th October 2012 Medium/heavy vans, trucks and trailers built in one stage or first stage of a multi-stage build.
  • 29th April 2013 Light vans and trucks built in multiple stages.
  • 29th October 2013 Trailers built in multiple stages.
  • 29th October 2014 Medium and heavy trucks built in multiple stages and other special purpose vehicles, such as mobile cranes and trailer caravans.

A successful inspection will result in the issuance of ECWVTA certificate. This certificate will be accepted throughout the European Union without the need for further testing until standard is updated or a new certificate is required due to design changes.

Once a vehicle is approved, the manufacturer should have processes in place to produce a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) for each vehicle manufactured. (1999/37/EC CoC document valid for 27 European Community Member States).

Conformity of Production (CoP) is part of the approval process. Essentially, this involves the evaluation of the manufacturing process to ensure that each product is manufactured in accordance with the approval specification.

Reference is made to a formal quality system in place, such as ISO 9001 or ISO/TS 16949. Many areas of a vehicle are not covered by the approval and as such will not have impact on the type, so it is possible to include box vans, curtain-siders, tippers and flatbeds on the same approval and it may not matter if other equipments (such as cranes, etc.) were fitted.

Certification – Main steps of the Type Approval process are:

  • Application by the vehicle or component manufacturer;
  • Testing by a technical service;
  • Granting of the approval by an Approval Authority;
  • Conformity of Production by the manufacturer in agreement with the Approval Authority;
  • Certificate of Conformity by the manufacturer for the end-user.

Authorized Representative

Any non-EU based manufacturer which wishes to make their products available on the EU Market, must appoint an Authorized Representative to serve as the vigilance contact point and to ensure ongoing compliance.

Post-Market Surveillance

Risks of Non-Compliance