The Specialty Equipment Market Association filed a petition Oct. 17 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California requiring that the U.S. Department of Transportation fulfill a Congressional mandate on implementing carmaker guidelines for building turnkey replica vehicles.
Passed by Congress in 2015, one provision of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act specified that low-volume automakers could sell up to 325 replica cars — new versions of vehicles manufactured at least 25 years earlier — on an annual basis. The FAST Act had a deadline of Dec. 4, 2016, for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue the necessary regulations to implement the law. SEMA says the agency has yet to take any action.
Prior to enactment of the FAST Act, the United States had just one system for regulating automobiles, established in the 1960s and designed for companies that mass-produce vehicles. The lack of regulatory flexibility prevented small businesses from manufacturing turnkey vehicles. Eager to produce replica vehicles under the new law, many companies made capital investments and took customer orders on the assumption that sales could begin in late 2016. However, NHTSA has failed to issue regulations or undertake any other action allowing the small automakers to produce and sell vehicles as permitted by law.
“SEMA has made every effort to work collaboratively with NHTSA for over three and a half years, although the agency has taken no action to implement the replica car law,” said SEMA President and CEO Christopher J. Kersting. “Consequently, companies have not hired workers, businesses have lost money and consumers have been denied their rights to purchase replica cars.”