Pursuant to section 1 of the General Regulation on Vehicles (passed by Spanish Royal Decree 2822/1998 of 23 December 1998), the distribution of vehicles requires prior authorisation. This takes the form of type-approval (homologation), granted by the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda.
Vehicle type approvals are governed by European Directive 2007/46/EC of 4 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles. Directive 2007/46/EC has been implemented in Spain by means of Spanish Royal Decree 750/2010 of 4 June 2010.
Directive 2007/46/EC regulates a harmonised framework containing the administrative provisions and general technical requirements for approval of all new vehicles within its scope and of the systems, components and separate technical units intended for those vehicles, with a view to facilitating their registration, sale and entry into service within the EU. According to section 5, the vehicle’s manufacturer is responsible for all aspects relating to the type approval process and for ensuring conformity of production, whether or not such manufacturer is directly involved in all stages of the vehicle’s production.
In addition, there are other EU laws regulating type-approvals relating to specific aspects on vehicles: (i) Regulation (EC) 661/2009 of 13 July 2009 concerning type approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units intended therefor; and (ii) Regulation (EC) 715/2007 of 20 June 2007 on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information.
Regulation (EC) 661/2009
Regulation (EC) 661/2009 sets out the requirements for the type approval of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units with regard to their safety.
Pursuant to sections 4 and 5, manufacturers shall demonstrate that the following are type approved in accordance with its provisions: (i) vehicles, systems, components and separate technical units; (ii) all new vehicles sold, registered or put into service within the EU; and (iii) all new systems, components and separate technical units sold or put into service within the EU.
Regulation (EC) 715/2007
On the other hand, Regulation (EC) 715/2007 establishes common technical requirements for the type approval of motor vehicles with regard to their emissions. In this respect, manufacturers are obliged to fulfil all the type approval requirements provided for in the same. These obligations include meeting the emission limits set out in Annex I (Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions limits and emission limits for the evaporative emissions test).
Furthermore, manufacturers shall ensure that type-approval procedures for verifying conformity of production, durability of pollution control devices and in-service conformity are also met.
Pursuant to section 4 of Spanish Royal Decree 750/2010, manufacturers wishing to type-approve vehicles, systems, components or separate technical units under the scope of application of the Decree shall be registered with the Manufacturers Registry.
Following the granting of type approval, vehicles and their trailers and semi-trailers shall be duly registered with the Vehicles Registry managed by the relevant traffic authority. Such traffic authority will depend on the autonomous region where the vehicle’s owner, lessee with a purchase option or long-term lessee has its legal domicile. In this sense, and as it infers from the latter, the registration request must be undertaken by the owner, lessee with a purchase option or long-term lessee. Additionally, the Vehicles Registry, in general terms, aims at identifying, among other aspects, the vehicle’s holder, the vehicle’s technical characteristics, the inspections conducted, compliance with the applicable insurance requirements and compliance with other legal provisions.
Insurance requirements apply to the use of vehicles for private or professional use, but the Spanish requirements are not materially different from those that can be found in other European countries.
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