But don’t get your hopes up for an R34 Nissan Skyline.
Trade restrictions like the 25-year import ban deprive us all of some of our favorite cars, but as much as we don’t like them, automakers have legitimate reasons to hate them even more. That’s because trade restrictions force each automaker that wants to sell to western markets to spend additional cash to get cars compliant for both US and EU regulators. This adds up to a cost of $2.26 billion per year of extra spending on redesigns and equipment modifications.
The study responsible for the findings was conducted by the Center for Automotive Research and commissioned by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Automakers are in a push to get regulators on either side of the Atlantic to acknowledge each other’s rules and come up with a new set of standardized rules that allows both EU and US compliant cars to be sold in either market. Car companies argue that that the difference in rules is arbitrary since EU and US compliant vehicles are both just as safe. Some of the contrasts in rules are small and include things like airbags, which are made larger for North American cars to adhere to unbelted crash tests conducted in the US.
With talks for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in process, automakers are hoping to add an amendment to the deal that standardizes safety and allows for free trade to take place. This would mean that desirable Europe-only cars like the Pagani Zonda or Audi RS3 Sportback could make it to the US. Similarly, Europeans would then be able to import American cars that aren’t sold in Europe. With new technology breaking ground left and right, standardized laws could help expedite the development process. The most notable example of the advantages of uniform laws is autonomous technology. If the TTIP is amended to reflect automaker's concerns, then we could see less red tape and quick adoption of self-driving cars.