Clearly defined vehicle categories are essential for the competitiveness of the automotive industry. The categories classify vehicles for regulatory purposes, enable manufacturers to benefit from the EU Single Market, and allow them to export their products beyond the EU.
The main categories of vehicles are:
- Category M: vehicles carrying passengers
- Category N: vehicles carrying goods
- Category L: 2- and 3-wheel vehicles and quadricycles
- Category T: agricultural and forestry tractors and their trailers
Vehicles that belong to category M or N are classified as:
- light-duty vehicles (passenger cars and vans), or
- heavy-duty vehicles (trucks, buses, and coaches)
Importance of vehicle categories
Vehicle categories are a crucial part of a well-functioning type-approval system. While the EU type-approval system allows manufacturers to benefit from the opportunities offered by the internal market, worldwide technical harmonisation in the context of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offers them a market extending beyond European borders.
Total technical harmonisation has already been achieved in light and heavy-duty vehicles, motorcycles, and some agricultural and forestry tractors.
The EU has implemented a new EU-type approval system for L-category vehicles (2-, 3- and 4-wheel vehicles such as motorcycles, mopeds, quads, and minicars). New laws established under Regulation 168/2013 ensure that future L-category vehicles will pollute less and meet the highest safety standards possible.
The old Directive 2002/24/EC was repealed at the end of 2015 and has been replaced by Regulation 168/2013. The EU type-approval legislative requirements set out in the Regulation should become the worldwide standard.
Full list of legislation on L-category vehicles.
As of 2016, the new Regulation 167/2013 allows manufacturers of agricultural and forestry vehicles to apply for EU whole-vehicle type-approval for all categories covered by this Regulation.
The implementing measures under Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 contain detailed technical specifications covering:
- safety matters
- environmental performance
- administrative provisions necessary for the approval of all vehicle categories covered by this regulation
These measures are regularly updated to address the technical progress in the agricultural and forestry vehicles sector.
Full list of legislation on T-category vehicles.