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House Committee Passes Low Volume Replica Car Bill

Posted on July 10th, 2014

Above: Courtney Hansen from Powernation was a SEMA spokesperson for this legislation.

Great news for the custom car industry.  I have been honored to be part of a SEMA advisory committee that has helped to draft a bill that would enable companies like Factory Five to manufacture completed vehicles with certain exemptions that take into consideration the differences between large companies and small ones.  House Resolution HR4013 passed the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade sub-committee (House Energy and Commerce Committee).  The low volume bill passed this morning in the sub-committtee on a 15-to-6 vote.  It was supported by all Republicans and two Democrats (Rep. Barrow, a bill sponsor, and Rep. McNerny).  I will report more news as it is available.

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Letter support from Factory Five:

July 9, 2014

The Honorable Lee Terry, Chairman
U.S. House of Representatives
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on
Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Jan Schakowsky, Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on
Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Terry and Ranking Member Schakowsky:

By this letter and on behalf of Factory Five Racing, Inc., I am requesting your support for H.R. 4013, “The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2014,” which will be considered by the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee on July 9th and 10th.  This bipartisan legislation would facilitate the limited production of “replica” cars by creating a common-sense regulatory structure for specialty automakers, like Factory Five.

Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Wareham, Massachusetts, Factory Five Racing, Inc. (FFR) is an American automobile company that designs and manufactures assembly kits for repli-cars and sports cars.  We employ 50 skilled technicians, craftsmen and business professionals and produce industry icons like the Mk4 Roadster, ’33 Hot Rod and Type 65 Coupe.  These are “collector cars” that are primarily used in exhibitions, parades and not for general transportation.

As noted, these are motor vehicles produced in small numbers and intended to resemble vehicles from previous generations.  Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently has only one system for regulating motor vehicle manufacturers that treats all companies alike, whether they produce millions of cars or just a handful.  The legislation would establish a second system for specialty automakers.  It would hold low production manufacturers of collector cars to NHTSA’s equipment standards (lighting, brakes, tires, etc.) while exempting them from vehicle-based standards.  Under the bill, they would also meet current model year emissions requirements for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board, including installation of an onboard diagnostic (OBD) system. 

The companies would be subject to NHTSA oversight and the vehicles would be subject to recalls and remedies.  The companies would register with NHTSA and annually report their production levels.  The number of vehicles to be produced by each company would be limited to 1,000, but most companies would actually produce far fewer cars.

The production of modern replicas allows the nation to continue celebrating its automotive heritage.  It also supports an industry that provides well-paying, high-skilled jobs nationwide.  H.R. 4013 seeks to expand support for that industry by providing American companies with the opportunity to offer new, unique and innovative products to consumers worldwide.

Thank you for your consideration.  If you have any questions, or require additional information please feel free to contact me by phone at xxx/xxx-xxxx or by e-mail at info@factoryfive.com.

Sincerely,

David Smith
President, Factory Five Racing

 

From SEMA:

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Nebraska, chair of a panel that oversees the issue, said Wednesday at a hearing it was a “a commonsense piece of legislation … The replica car industry is a different animal — these manufacturers produce a small number of cars every year and cater to a specific consumer. The legislation we will consider tomorrow is narrowly focused on these manufacturers to exempt them from a handful of regulations that need not apply to small-scale manufacturers,” he said. “I also note that the legislation is the product of good faith negotiations between the different stakeholders and I’m glad they were able to compromise.”

daveandscott
Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown worked to support the bill.  His defeat for his Senate re-election in Massachusetts was a real setback.

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The SEMA Organization worked with congressmen and senators to inform them of the impact and significance of the custom car industry and how this bill would help.

The story was covered by the Detroit Free Press.  Here is a link to their site.

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