Abstract: Emergence and Transfer of Vehicle Safety Standards: Why We Still Do Not Have Global Standards

Marine Moguen-Toursel

Abstract

The implementation of new U.S. vehicle safety standards beginning in 1966 provided solutions and studies that served as guidelines for Europeans. Within Europe, some market players wanted to align with American standards (to facilitate the creation of a larger market), but others did not (for trade protection). European countries failed to disseminate European standards rapidly because of the strongly opposing views among market players. European carmakers at first opposed American standards because of the technical and financial risks, but met the American criteria nevertheless. Germany and the United Kingdom were key actors in the progressive convergence of European and American standards. In 1972, European car manufacturers banded together to form the Committee of Car Makers of the Common Market. Their secret ambition was to undermine American influence in Europe on exhaust emissions and safety issues. The creation of the Committee corresponded with strong reactions against both the increasing technical barriers to European imports in the United States and to the serious threat posed to European exports by the possible extension of American standards worldwide.

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