The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has made one thing clear to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—it’s tired of the agency’s dawdling.
In a letter sent Nov. 1, SEMA informed NHTSA that it is prepared to take legal action against the agency “if it fails to take immediate action to implement the low-volume replica car law” first passed in 2015. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act included a provision that removed regulatory barriers preventing small-volume vehicle manufacturers from producing and selling turn-key replica cars in the U.S.
Initially passed as part of a broader bill funding highway construction, the law was meant to allow low-volume vehicle manufacturers to sell up to 325 turn-key replica vehicles in the U.S. each year. You can read more on the specifics of the law in a previous article published on OnAllCylinders:
NHTSA had until Dec. 4, 2016, to implement the law, but according to SEMA it hasn’t even published a draft regulation.
“Passage of the FAST Act in 2015 was a landmark moment since low-volume auto manufacturers could now produce turn-key replica vehicles for customers nationwide,” said Christopher Kersting, SEMA president and CEO, in a statement on SEMA’s website. “While the law was celebrated by industry and enthusiasts alike, NHTSA’s continued delays have frustrated replica car companies and consumers. The replica car provision was designed to be easy for NHTSA to implement, as it simply extends the common-sense approach to overseeing kit-car production that the agency has employed for decades.”
According to SEMA, NHTSA’s inaction is inflicting harm on industry businesses and consumers alike. Without the necessary regulatory documents in place, automotive enthusiasts currently have no choice but to continue buying replica kits and building their own vehicles. While this process can be an exciting challenge—like we discovered during our Factory Five Racing Mk4 build—it’s not for everyone.
Furthermore, SEMA noted, the delay is creating financial hardship for replica car companies that already have made significant investments in new facilities, equipment, and supplies to support the program.
Want to voice your own complaint to the government officials who are holding up the implementation of this law? SEMA’s made it easy—just click here!