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Warning facing fleet vehicles for EU changes

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Changes to European rules regarding light commercial vehicles on fleet contracts could affect businesses cost and lead times. Confusion and delay could potentially be caused with the introduction of European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA).

As of the 29th of April, any light commercial vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes will fall under the ECWVTA which means they will need additional approval for any modifications that have been made to the vehicle. There are a few modifications that can be signed off under a ‘blanket approval’ but other bespoke changes will need to go through further testing before approval.

Managing Director of vehicle solution company Motiva, Peter Davenport, commented: “The implications for contract hire and leasing companies like ourselves are significant. We have had to make sure contracts with dealers are absolutely clear about where responsibility for whole type approval lies.”

“For example, if a chassis has been built to the wrong size for the body, then the contract has to make it crystal clear who is responsible.  Any disputes will lead to increased costs and delays for the customer.”

In their opinion, Motiva believe the biggest hurdles will be faced by companies that require the use of multi stage build (MSB) vehicles. This is where the base of the vehicle (usually a chassis) is produced and approved as an ‘incomplete vehicle’. The vehicle will then be worked on by a company such as a bodybuilder or converter who will finish off any work on it that needs doing making it a ‘complete vehicle’ in the eyes of the regulators. The process will always involve two or more stages, and the parties involved in the build will only be responsible for their particular stage.

Peter further commented: “In this situation, the flow of information between all the companies involved is vital. It’s possible that modifications or additions made at stage two or three could invalidate stage one approval for example.”

These various stages will increase the time at which the vehicle is constructed, add more administration fees, and ultimately put pressure on lead times and increase costs. Peter Davenport has said he is more than happy to offer advice on any issues and questions that may arise from the changes to the European rules.

For further information please visit http://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/vehicletype/ecwvta-framework-directive.asp