Before a road vehicle can be registered for the first time in Australia it must have an Identification Plate Approval (IPA) and meet the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA). Th MVSA applies to new and used imported vehicles and locally manufactured new vehicles. The Act requires vehicles to meet the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) which are national standards covering safety and emission requirements. When a new vehicle has been certified as meeting the ADRs it can be fitted with an Identification Plate. The fitment of an identification plate is mandatory under the Act, and it indicates to the State registering authority that the vehicle meets all the required ADRs.
The certification system for new vehicles is based on a system known as "Type Approval", where a vehicle design representing a make-model (the “type” of vehicle) undergoes tests to demonstrate compliance with the applicable ADRs (Australian Design Rules) for that vehicle category. If the test vehicle(s) complies then all others of the same design, or type, will also comply, provided the production processes are properly controlled.
The Department of Transport Vehicle Safety Services (VSS) do not test vehicles for compliance with the ADR's. The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring compliance and we offer this service to many of our independent importer clients.
Once the tests are successfully completed, the manufacturer or their agent prepares the required Summary of Evidence documents and submits the application for approval.
For new manufacturers or IPA holders and from time to time for other existing manufacturers, a sample of each of the model variants must be made available for inspection by VSS. This inspection also satisfies the registration inspection requirements of the States and Territory registration authorities for new vehicles and is known as a Single Uniform Type Inspection or SUTI.
When VSS is satisfied that the vehicle complies, the Administrator of Vehicle Standards issues a document known as an Identification Plate Approval. This is the authority for the manufacturer to fit identification plates to vehicles of the approved make-model and supply the vehicles to the market. The information provided by the manufacturer is subject to checking using quality assurance audits of the manufacturing facilities and inspection of the test facilities. Together these ensure the vehicles (or parts of vehicles) were built to the approved design and that all tests were done correctly. Manufacturers that supply limited numbers of vehicles may be able to use the Low Volume Scheme for new vehicles, which caters for manufacturers that supply less than 25 or 100 vehicles per year, depending on the category. The Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme applies to used imported vehicles. Vehicles imported into Australia by individuals, or for racing etc. may be able to use the Imported Vehicles scheme. Individually constructed vehicles are not required to be certified. However, they must meet the requirements of the State and Territory registering authorities.
- Testing of the model.
- Compiling of certification documentation.
- Submission of evidence to Federal Government.
- Government inspection of model type known as SUTI (Single Uniform Type Inspection).
- Issue of approval.
- Volume Importation of model.
- Sales commence.