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New Law Will Spur Sales for Replica Cars

Companies will soon have the option of selling completed turn-key replica vehicles
December 9, 2015

Thanks to a new SEMA-sponsored federal law, companies will soon have the option of selling completed turn-key replica vehicles. The new law establishes a simplified regulatory program for low volume vehicle manufacturers that will increase sales of replica cars and parts installed in the cars. Prior to the change in the law, replica car customers only had the option of building these cars from a kit and installing the engine/transmission since the federal government subjected the small automakers to the same rules as companies that produce millions of cars.
Details on the New Law: • SEMA-sponsored legislation (HR 2675) introduced in Congress by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) was signed into law by President Obama as part of a larger bill funding highway construction. • Low volume manufacturers (up to 5,000 motor vehicles a year global production) now have the option of selling up to 325 replica vehicles in the U.S. each year. • A replica is a vehicle that resembles the body of another motor vehicle produced at least 25 years ago (ex: ’32 Roadster, ’65 Cobra, etc.). • Previously, companies were unable to sell turn-key cars since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulated these vehicles as if they were current model year vehicles, not vintage cars. • The new law treats these replicas the same as kit cars, subject to certain equipment standards (lighting, tires, windshields, brake hoses, etc.), recalls and remedies but not vehicle standards (roof crush, side impact, etc.). • Enthusiasts still have the option of building replicas and specialty constructed vehicles from kits. • Vehicles produced by the companies will have a current model year engine package certified by the EPA or California Air Resources Board and are exempt from emissions testing. • NHTSA and the EPA have one year to issue regulations to implement the new program. SEMA will work with these agencies to speed the process, which should take effect in early 2017.

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