The Official Journal of the European Union published today a special legislative measure modifying the end-of-series rules included in EU Regulation 168/2013 to help companies and dealers to cope with the effects of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
2020 is a particular year for the sector, as the 31 December is set – by legislation – to be the final date by which vehicles placed on the market can be homologated as Euro 4. Under the new article 44a of EU Regulation 168/2013, manufacturers facing a problem of excess inventory of Euro 4 vehicles as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns introduced across Europe can request the national authorities of the relevant Member State permission to place in the market their excess inventory until 31 December 2021. This new measure complements – as a derogation – the current end-of-series rule (article 44).
The national authority concerned will decide, within a month of receiving the request, whether to permit the registration of those end-of-series vehicles within its territory and in what number. Under this arrangement, a special entry qualifying the vehicles as “2021 - end-of-series” will be made on the certificate of conformity of the vehicles put into service.
The application of these specific and exceptional end-of-series measures will be restricted to the number of vehicles that were in stock at the moment of the national lockdowns. The number of vehicles benefiting from these provisions “should not exceed the number of Euro 4 L-category vehicles that were in stock on 15 March 2020”, which was estimated by industry experts at around 550,000 units for the entire EU market.
Why were the original end-of-series provisions insufficient?
EU type-approval rules foresee a standard flexibility mechanism called “end of series”, which allowed OEMs to continue making available on the market, register or enter into service a limited part of their stock of vehicles when moving from one Euro step to another. However, this standard flexibility clause was assessed as insufficient (limited to 10% of the past 2 years registrations per type) to address the problem of extra vehicle stock created by heavy manufacturing and distribution disruptions due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
The end-of series (article 44a of EU Regulation 168/2013) complements the current rules on end-of-series (article 44 of the same EU Regulation), which grant the possibility to register a limited number of Euro 4 vehicles (up to 10% of past 2 years registrations, per OEM type) until 31 December 2022.
- The revised modified end-of-series will enter into force on 14 November 2020.
- EU Member States must inform the European Commission on the number of vehicles for which end-of-series status has been granted under the new “article 44a” by 1 July 2021.