Leaders of 13 of the world’s leading passenger car and light truck manufacturers from Japan, Europe and the U.S. for the first time agreed to work together to encourage governments to adopt a common set of standards for environmental and safety technologies.
The announcement, reported in Japan Auto Trends, the newsletter of the Japan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association, followed a day of talks among the chief executive officers and representatives of American, European and Japanese industry trade associations.
Held at the Paris Motor Show earlier in the fall, the meeting took up three environmental and safety topics. The participants agreed to strive for the “earliest possible establishment of Global Technical Regulations” (GTRs), which would create common safety and environmental standards worldwide. They agreed to communicate the benefits of clean diesel technology to government officials and consumers. In addition, they agreed to promote the infrastructure needed to support advanced technology vehicles, including those powered by hybrid-electric, diesel, fuel cell and hydrogen-combustion engines.
“One of the biggest challenges for the motor vehicle industry today is the global harmonization of technical regulations,” said Honda Chairman Yoshihide Munekuni, who also is chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
Although the industry has made great strides advancing environmental and safety technologies, inconsistent regulations that vary from country to country diminish the impact that these innovations can make, he said.
“These differences in regulations are not apparent to the consumer, at least in terms of simply driving a car,” Munekuni said. “But for manufacturers, different regulations require different designs, which lead to additional investments for tools and dies.”
The United Nations (UN) in 1998 endorsed the establishment of harmonized vehicle regulations, but the organization has yet to establish a single GTR in the two years since the agreement went into effect. The decision to support the UN effort is aimed at moving this process forward.
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