On the 1st of September 2018, new legislation was introduced that re-defines the standards that determine the levels of pollutants produced by light vehicles.


What is the WLTP?

WLTP replaces the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), established in 1973, that defined standards to determine the level of pollutants produced by light vehicles. It also allowed constructors to evaluate the fuel consumption of their newly produced cars. However, the NEDC was based on theoretical driving conditions and is now considered outdated because it does not reflect the reality of driving profiles. The WLTP is much more realistic with a lot more criteria taken into account.


What are the consequences for the manufacturers?

Any car registered after the 1st September 2018 will be required to get WLTP certification. Since the WLTP is more realistic than the NEDC, levels of pollutants are expected to be higher. The gap between expectation and reality for constructors will be more significant and they are now risking heavy fines and penalties.


WLTP what is it



What are the manufacturers doing to avoid losses?

To avoid getting impacted by this measure the manufacturers are repatriating their vehicles to ensure that they will get the certification without any problem. They will, also, undoubtedly have to rethink the development of their motors. The German manufacturer Audi, for example, has already halted the production of its RS3 Sportback and Sedan models for countries where the certification is mandatory. In some cases, constructors have decided to reduce the power of their vehicles to ensure compliance.





Consequences for the market

This year, the number of new vehicle registrations has increased by 23% in UK, 49% in Spain, and 40% in France, with no sign of declining. Most of the cars are sold ahead of the WLTP certification, explained by the fact that consumers are looking for non-restricted, more powerful vehicles.

In conclusion, the WLTP is a more relevant European test procedure than its predecessor, that will “force” manufacturers to produce reliable, efficient vehicles that are more respectful of the environment.

The number of registrations has kept rising since the announcement of this measure. Will it be the same in 2020 when we will first see the true impact of this new legislation? Time will tell…