By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would enable low-volume car manufacturers to produce turn-key replica vehicles for customers nationwide. Replica vehicles resemble classic cars produced at least 25 years ago. Supported by SEMA, the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015” (H.R. 2675) would allow companies to construct up to 500 such cars per year subject to federal regulatory oversight.
The United States currently has just one system for regulating automobiles. It was established in the ’60s and designed for companies that mass produce millions of vehicles. H.R. 2675 creates a separate regulatory framework for small businesses producing modest numbers of cars.
“The bill introduced by Reps. Mullin and Green will allow U.S. companies to produce turn-key replicas of older vehicles that are virtually impossible to build under today’s restrictive one-size-fits-all regulatory framework,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “This program will create skilled-labor jobs in the auto industry and help meet consumer demand for these classics of the past.”
H.R. 2675 directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a separate regulatory structure to facilitate the production of replica cars. Manufacturers would be required to register with NHTSA and EPA and submit annual reports on the vehicles they produce. The vehicles would meet current model-year emissions standards and manufacturers would be permitted to install clean engines from other EPA-certified vehicles to help achieve that requirement.
H.R. 2675 recognizes the unique circumstances associated with limited-production replica vehicles, which are primarily used in exhibitions, parades and occasional transportation. It also provides an opportunity to promote domestic manufacturing and create jobs in the specialty auto sector.
“This bill seeks a reasonable regulatory approach,” said Kersting. “It also helps preserve our American automotive heritage.”