Harmonization of vehicle regulations is important to the Auto Industry. In a global industry, Automakers are faced with a wide variety of different regulations in different countries, often aimed at achieving the same purpose, but differing for historical reasons. Harmonizing these regulations world-wide, offers savings in technical resources, which can better be applied elsewhere, to produce better, cleaner, safer vehicles and it offers the possibility of reducing production complexity, resulting in lower costs and prices and a wider choice of vehicles available to all consumers.

Worldwide harmonization of vehicle regulations takes place in the United Nations, where the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, (WP29) and its groups of government and industry experts develop new “GTRs” – Global Technical Regulations. As the accredited representative of the worldwide vehicle industry in the United Nations, OICA members and staff are fully engaged in this process. To see WP29’ s list of priority GTR activities, click here

Harmonization doesn’t always mean having identical requirements, because the needs of different countries can often vary – but it does mean at least eliminating unnecessary differences and bringing regulations closer together. In this way, where possible and practical, a single vehicle specification can be built to satisfy all requirements.

The United Nations 1958 Agreement is an important international harmonisation tool, besides the 1998 Agreement.

OICA strives at further expanding the number of countries that sign up to this Agreement.  In order to briefly explain the 1958 Agreement concrete functioning, OICA has prepared a Questions and Answers paper that, though not having any legal value, is considered as containing clear and useful information as to what the rights and obligations are for countries becoming Contracting Parties to the 1958 Agreement.

The Q/A paper is available for download here