Automotive Industry and Markets

Historic Vehicles

The cross-party parliamentary group on “automotive cultural inheritance” in the German Bundestag has existed since 2009.

Political topics

In relation to the planned Infrastructure Levy Act (road tolls), the VDA is attempting to achieve a special exemption for classic cars.

As far as classic cars are concerned there is a worry that the neutrality of the infrastructural levies will not be ensured in the future. Instead it is assumed that future increases in tolls will not go hand in hand with simultaneous fiscal exemptions for classic car drivers. In view of future classic car generations, additional charges would be very unfavorable for the acceptance of the H registration plates, which are particularly important for public perception of the difference between these and old everyday cars. In view of the limited number of cars with an H registration plate and in particular as a result of their low mileage, the VDA is pleading for them to be exempted from infrastructural levies to help maintain them as automotive heritage. This exemption could have the same structure as similar provisions for driving in environmental zones since classic cars are easy to identify by their registration plates. The draft law states that the annual levy for a classic car will cost 130 euros. Classic cars with a red 07 registration plate will have a general exemption from infrastructural levies.

With effect from January 1, 2014, Chapter 97 of the Combined Nomenclature of the EU introduced a new formulation for customs tariff 8705 00 00. This describes the requirements for importing classic cars into the EU if they are classed as collectors’ items of historical and ethnological interest. The aim of the revised version was to ensure equal treatment in all EU member states. If the imported vehicles are classed as “collectors’ vehicles” (classic cars), import duty of just 7 percent is payable on them. Even after the publication of the new text, some customs authorities were hesitant or simply refused to accept the new duty rates. The German Federal Ministry of Finance has expressly confirmed, however, that the amended passage is primarily an attempt to ensure simplification and standardization and is therefore binding. If customs offices refuse to accept these arguments, the ministry recommends that a request for binding, free customs tariff information is made to the Central Customs Office in Hanover.

If evidence of a technical test approved by the EU regulations in another member state of the EU is provided, under § 7 of the Vehicle Licensing Regulation (FZV), a repeat test is not required in Germany under § 29 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulation. When vehicles are imported (often classic cars) from EU member states, therefore, the situation arises quite frequently that rebuilt or modified vehicles are imported with doubtful documentation. There is now a whole range of vehicles that do not comply with either EU directives or German registration regulations. For example, in England the engine number may be shown in registration documents as a reference number while, at the same time, the VIN of the original vehicle has been transferred to a completely different vehicle. This procedure devalues some very high-value original vehicles, thus harming the image of classic cars. The VDA is therefore in favor of an amendment being made to the new version of the registration regulation that is currently being planned. As long as the registration regulations in the EU are not standard, all imported vehicles without an EC homologation should be tested under §21 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulation.

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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