New car testing rules are about restoring consumers' trust

Daniel Dalton insists new car testing proposals are about more than simply responding to the emissions scandal.

By Daniel Dalton

25 Feb 2016

Trust in the automotive sector has been damaged by the recent actions of several significant manufacturers. Consumers have been badly misled and environmental requirements ignored.

These failures demonstrate a need for revision, and the new rules applying to cars and vehicles on the road must be grounded in restoring this trust.

For consumers, buying a car is one of the most significant consumer purchases, so it is important that they can trust in what they are buying. Public authorities too need to have confidence that safety and environmental standards will be met.


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In the immediate aftermath of last autumn's emissions scandal a lot of people kept asking me the same question: how did this happen in the EU, and why did the US have to do our job for us in uncovering the problem? It is in answering these points that we rebuild trust.

The new Commission proposals must therefore be judged on how they address those two central questions, and whether they do so in a proportionate and future-proof way.

I'm firm in my belief that a more robust system of type approval and market surveillance is needed. Improved oversight of testing centres is necessary, so that those that approve new cars are independent and can be depended upon by consumers.

We must also build on the implementation of real world driving tests, ensuring that the necessary technical ability to provide these tests is available and is capable of detecting attempts to cheat.

Exchanging best practice between national authorities will also help in ensuring a more rigorous testing system across Europe, but I have yet to see evidence that the Commission proposal would have prevented the emissions scandal.

In Parliament, we will be looking to develop our thinking in the coming months. This is of course not a new area, nor is the revision devoted solely to responding to the emissions scandal. I will therefore be consulting widely and understanding the variety of issues raised by the proposal as a whole.

 

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