WASHINGTON—The Specialty Equipment Market Association proclaimed “a new era for the kit car industry” with the passage of a bill allowing low-volume auto makers to produce turnkey replica vehicles in the U.S.
The Low-Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 was amended to the surface transportation bill that passed both houses of Congress Dec. 3 and was signed into law the following day.
The low-volume provision in the surface transportation bill allows small auto makers to build up to 325 replica cars annually, subject to federal regulation. Replica cars are those that resemble mass-production vehicles from at least 25 years ago.
Before passage of this provision, the U.S. had only one system for regulating automobiles, which was designed for auto makers that mass-produce millions of vehicles, according to SEMA. The new law recognizes the unique challenges faced by companies that build only a small number of custom cars, it said.
“With the new law, Congress has demonstrated that it understands the importance of enabling U.S. companies to produce classic-themed vehicles that are virtually impossible to build under the current one-size-fits-all regulatory framework,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO.