Q. Volkswagen Passat capable of getting 78.5 MPG
Volkswagen Passat capable of getting 78.5 MPG
The following is a statement from the Import and Certification Division, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Thank you for your inquiry as to why a Volkswagen Passat capable of getting 78.5 MPG is not allowed to be sold in the United States.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (FMVSS) has done nothing to bar the sale of the vehicle in this country. NHTSA issues the Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS), which establish minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles. To be lawfully offered for sale or sold in the United States, a motor vehicle must be certified by its original manufacturer as complying with those standards. Manufacturers must make this certification on their own, without involvement from NHTSA. The manufacturer has an obligation to exercise reasonable care in making its certification. Once offered for sale in this country, NHTSA will purchase the vehicle on the open market and test it to our standards. If this testing should reveal a potential noncompliance, NHTSA will ask the manufacturer to demonstrate how it exercised reasonable care in making its certification. If the manufacturer is unable to establish that it exercised reasonable care, it may be subject to civil penalties, as well as the obligation to recall and remedy any noncompliant vehicles. This "self-certification" process can be contrasted to the "type approval" process in effect in most other countries, in which the manufacturer submits a prototype vehicle to a government laboratory for testing and certification to applicable standards. Since NHTSA has no role in the certification process, we are not in a position to restrict a manufacturer from introducing a vehicle into the US market. So long as the manufacturer can certify the vehicle to our standards, it is free to offer the vehicle for sale in this country.
I hope this clarifies your understanding of our role in the introduction of vehicles to the US market.
For information about US DOT standards for vehicles and parts, please contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance by telephone at (202) 366-2832 or by e-mail at OVSCPublic@dot.gov.
You may also wish to review the following information for new manufacturers available from the NHTSA web site at: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/maninfo.
The full text of the federal motor vehicle safety standards can be found in 49 CFR 571.