BRUSSELS - The European Commission has set up a new service to cope with the huge demand from carmakers for information about vehicle certification.
DGIII, the EC's directorate general responsible for regulating the car industry, has launched a type approval services web site (www.listec.lu). The site has two components:
Background information on European automotive regulation and details of all 54 EC technical directives that affect the industry.
National administering authorities in all 15-member states and the technical services that they provide. The list includes certified consultants, technical experts and government bodies authorized to give type approval for vehicles, systems, components or technical units.
Carmakers and suppliers have been asking for a database of directives, technical help and guidance.
Since 1 January a vehicle certified in one EU state can be sold in any of the other 14. Previously, separate approvals in the 15 countries were needed because regulations weren't harmonized.
There are still small differences in emissions regulations across the countries, but the carmaker only needs approval in one country.
In the USA carmakers certify their own products. In Europe, they must be certified by independent authorities.
Many certifying services are specialized. DGIII has published information about them 'so that others don't try to duplicate them,' said Patrick Murray, an information officer who created the web site.
For instance, carmakers need specialists to conduct electromagnetic compatibility tests in dedicated testing chambers.
'These are very specialized and it is important that administering authorities know where they can find these services,' said Murray.
DGIII originally began compiling the database to provide paper documents to answer queries. But the agency found it was just as easy to computerize the database. They put it on line earlier this month.
Murray said carmakers' reaction to the site had been favorable, 'but they want to know even more things they can do with it.'
He said Internet links would be added over time so that users could jump to other European auto industry web sites, including those of carmakers, research and testing laboratories and consumer groups.