Type Approval for Passenger Vehicles M1 to M3

This page was last updated on 3rd March 2020

European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)

EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) is based around a Whole Vehicle approval framework directive – 2007/46/EC – and provides for the approval of whole vehicles. It also includes a package of subordinate requirements for vehicle systems and separate components which are based around a mixture of EU Regulations and UN Regulations. This certification is accepted throughout the EU without the need for further testing until a standard is updated or the vehicle design changes.

A manufacturer holding a valid ECWVTA can produce unlimited numbers of vehicles for distribution in the whole of the EU.

As of 1st September 2020 the 2007/46/EC framework directive is repealed by a replacement EU framework regulation – EU 2018/858. This EU regulation applies to all Member States without transposition into the national law of each Member State, although Member States will need to enact certain requirements of the regulation into their national law as directed by the regulation.

Low volume/Small Series Manufacturers

Full EC whole vehicle type approval (ECWVTA) won’t suit everyone, particularly those manufacturing vehicles in low numbers. In recognition of this fact there are a number of other approval routes available, including:

European Community Small Series Type Approval (EC SSTA) – M1 only

EC Small Series Type Approval caters for low volume producers of cars and light vans / trucks (M1 and N1 only, but is not available for Special Purpose vehicles), and like full ECWVTA will allow Europe wide sales but with a limit of 1,000 per type per year in the whole of the EU. It has some alternative technical and administrative requirements when compared with a “full” ECWVTA.

Like ECWVTA, once the design is approved, individual vehicles do not need to be tested.

National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA)

National Small Series Type Approval is a UK national scheme for low volume manufacturers who intend to sell only in the UK. The advantages of NSSTA are relaxed technical requirements for some subjects, a more pragmatic approach to the Conformity of Production (CoP) requirements, and reduction in administrative requirements.

Like ECWVTA, once the design is approved, individual vehicles do not need to be tested.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

Individual Vehicle Approval is a UK national scheme and the most likely route for those manufacturing or importing single vehicles or very small numbers. IVA does not require CoP as it is based on inspection of each vehicle, although most bodybuilders and converters will work with manufacturers to ensure there is no warranty compromise.

The IVA scheme is the least onerous of the approval routes in terms of compliance but involves an individual inspection of each vehicle. This route to approval permits registration or entry into service only within the UK.

Under IVA, vehicles have to be inspected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.

Further information about the scheme is available on the www.gov.uk website