July 9, 2014 at 5:17 pm

House panel to vote on bill to exempt low-volume replica cars from regulations

Washington — A House committee will vote on Thursday to allow production of a small number of replica cars without needing to meet all safety requirements.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, sponsored by Rep. John Campbell, R-California, would allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to exempt up to 1,000 vehicles from certain safety and labeling standards per low volume manufacturer if the company produces fewer than 5,000 vehicles globally per year.

“These cars would also meet current emissions standards by permitting companies to comply with the mandates of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by installing EPA — or California Air Resources Board-certified engines. The cars also must be manufactured under a license from the original manufacturer (or current rights holder) for the product configuration, trade dress, trademark, or patent of the replicated motor vehicle,” the House Energy and Commerce Committee said.

The vehicles would be exempt from regulations including country of origin labeling, bumper standards, average fuel economy standards and window labels.

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Nebraska, chair of a panel that oversees the issue, said Wednesday at a hearing it was a “a commonsense piece of legislation ... The replica car industry is a different animal — these manufacturers produce a small number of cars every year and cater to a specific consumer. The legislation we will consider tomorrow is narrowly focused on these manufacturers to exempt them from a handful of regulations that need not apply to small-scale manufacturers,” he said. “I also note that the legislation is the product of good faith negotiations between the different stakeholders and I’m glad they were able to compromise.”

dshepardson@detroitnews.com