The European Parliament resp. it’s “Historic Vehicle Group” (EU-HVG) has released a document which is quite important for all of us – the strategic directive impacts not only our position but also our activities (read more about that at the end of the document).

The Amicale Citroën & DS Deutschland, as well as the Amicale Citroën Internationale (ACI) is invited to the EU HVG meetings on a regular basis, and thus happy to be a contributing party to the document below which we also support in our mission.

Securing the future of our motoring heritage


The importance of the development of motor transport

The evolution of the motorised transport and its provision of easy and fast travel has been a key driver for the changes to the living, working and leisure opportunities which have defined the 20th century. The manufacture and use of cars, buses, trucks, mopeds and motorcycles have been a fundamental influencer of the design and development of urban and industrial areas and the transport links between them. The automotive industry has been central and critical to economic development, to the advancement of manufacturing, engineering and technical innovation and has provided employment, skills and livelihoods for millions of people. The evolution of vehicle design has signposted cultural change. Motor sport entertains millions.

The automotive vehicle has therefore played a formative role in the history of our society over the past 130 years – its evolution is the bridge between the original pioneering spirit and the continuous desire for more innovation, mobility and efficiency and has played a formative part of individual lives as most people remember
clearly their first moped, motorcycle or car as the catalyst for their transition from child to adult.

The historic vehicle movement today

The vehicles of the past which still exist today are our motoring heritage. Each of these vehicles has survived because an individual has chosen to preserve a part of this heritage and they have done so because of their passion for possessing, maintaining and driving the vehicle.

Historic vehicles are contemporary witnesses of another era and it is essential to protect this heritage today and for the future. The historic vehicle movement bring enthusiasts together, but it also provides pleasure for many more as historic vehicle owners present a free museum of this heritage to the general public every time
they drive their vehicles on public roads or present their vehicles in the many thousands of historic vehicle events and rallies held by historic vehicle clubs across Europe each year.

Alongside the cultural and historical importance of historic vehicles, the preservation of the heritage also generates important economic activity: workshops, suppliers, parts manufacturers, insurers, historic vehicle clubs, trade journals, tourist operators, events – all create jobs and sales and provide essential services,
products and information to owners. The maintenance, care and restoring of historic vehicles also represents a significant market for small and medium-sized enterprises. Studies in two European countries (Germany (VDA, VDI, 2013) and the UK (BFHVC 2016)) give a sense of the scale of the economic activity generated by the preservation and use of historic vehicles:

in these two countries alone, spend by owners of historic vehicles on their maintenance and use is €20.4 billion every year. Additionally, there are thousands of historic vehicle events and rallies each year, often involving cross-border travel by owners, each of which is a significant economic activity for the tourist sector.

The preservation and use of historic vehicle are an important cultural, economic and social activity.

The evolving mobility environment – challenges ahead

But, the evolution of motorised transport has also come at a cost. The attraction and availability of private mobility have created the negative consequences of
road congestion, vehicle emissions and road accidents.

The growing concerns about air quality, climate change, congestion and road safety have challenged regulators and the motor vehicle industry to develop political
and technical solutions to redress the concerns. While technological developments have gone some way to resolving these concerns, regulators have seen the need to intervene as well. Already we have seen older vehicles being charged more to travel in low emission zones (LEZs) or being banned altogether in order to improve air quality and older cars are usually charged a higher registration/circulation tax.

Policy discussions on road charging are also tending toward a mobility taxation system based on the “polluter pays” which can be expected to result in higher costs per kilometer travelled for older vehicles – possibly prohibitively high costs. Consequently, motorised transport will without doubt experience significant change in the years ahead.

A shift to zero-emission autonomous vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

This change will see the replacement of vehicles powered by fossil fuels with vehicles powered by electricity and fuel cells – already some Governments plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars (Norway by 2025; France, UK by 2040). Also expected is a transition to fully automatic vehicles. A number of studies

(McKinsey & Company: Automotive revolution – perspective towards 2030 (2016); RethinkX: Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030 (2017); European parliament: The World is Changing. Transport Too (2017))

give a sense of the change ahead:

one study suggests that by 2030 electric vehicles will make up 10-50% of new EU vehicle sales and that up to 15% of vehicles will be fully autonomous; another predicts that in the US, 95% of passenger kilometers in 2030 will be undertaken in autonomous electric vehicles – 40% of all vehicles will still be combustion-engine vehicles but they will be responsible for only 5% of passenger kilometres.

These autonomous vehicles will be enhanced versions of the vehicles of today which are already able to communicate with each other and with road infrastructure to ensure safer and more efficient mobility. Forecasts predict that mobility needs will increase by more than 42% between 2010 and 2050:

Accordingly, consumers and society will be expecting more flexibility, reliability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness to meet this demand. Technological innovation
is already offering the possibility to control transport and logistics more efficiently; future-oriented mobility concepts and new business models such as carpooling, car sharing and e-hailing services (MaaS) are already proving popular and are helping drive a trend for young people to avoid car ownership and are offering mobility solutions to an increasingly ageing and urbanised society.

Regulatory approval of automatic vehicles and the increased demand for mobility will coincide with peak car ownership now anticipated to be reached in 2020. These trends point to the high possibility of a high percentage of vehicles being electric/zero-emission and autonomous by 2040 and ownership predominantly being by MaaS providers.

Impact on industry and skills

These changes will also cause significant change to the industry and its workforce. A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) initiated amongst others by the IG Metall (“Effects of vehicle electrification on employment in Germany (ELAB) (2018)”) has predicted that by 2030, half of all auto workers will be directly or indirectly associated with electric-mobility.

In Germany, where about 840,000 are employed by the automotive industry, around 75,000 of the 210,000 jobs in drive-train technology will be lost because of electrification even accounting for the jobs created by the shift to batteries/electric propulsion.

And as industry evolves toward zero-emission autonomous vehicles, the skills to renovate and maintain the fossil-fueled historic vehicles may be lost as the current workforce ages. At the same time, some materials necessary for the maintenance of the historic vehicles may become scarce, or may be prohibited; electronic
components may not withstand storage; and infrastructure for fuel supply may become limited.

The internet, the on-line economy and social media

Conversely, some developments present opportunities: the internet, the on-line economy and social media provide tools which can help the preservation and use of historic vehicles. Owners are now able to more easily find and buy spare parts needed for their vehicles or find solutions for vehicle problems online; social media
allows owners and clubs to communicate and operate efficiently; and on-line training and qualifications offer real opportunities to integrate new technological developments in the education and training process in order to maintain the traditional skills and to adapt them to the new mobility era.

What are the possible consequences of these changes for the historic vehicle movement?

– Environmental concerns and the regulatory response will present the possibility of historic vehicles potentially being banned from some roads and /or areas, while “polluter pays” pricing could make use of historic vehicles prohibitively expensive.

– Technical developments and regulatory action may lead to historic vehicles being unrecognised in a future traffic environment populated by autonomous and emission-free vehicles which interact with each other and the road infrastructure; while the preservation and maintenance of the vehicles may simply be no longer possible.

– Demographic and social changes may lead to both young and old opting for user-friendly and costbeneficial MaaS with the result that ownership of any vehicle becomes increasingly rare even in rural areas.

The preservation and use of historic vehicles could therefore end as a consequence of the evolving regulatory, social, and technological environment. If this happens, much of our motoring heritage could eventually be lost forever.

Motoring Heritage on today’s roads

But there is still real public interest in motoring heritage: museums and historic vehicle events draw large crowds of the general public; a historic vehicle is a rare and appealing sight on a public road whether it’s a 1930’s Rolls Royce, a WW II jeep, a 1950’s DKW, a 1960s Skoda bus or DAF truck or a 1970s Lambretta.

These vehicles already add a sense of history when they are on the roads and can be guaranteed to turn heads. And the emotive nostalgia is likely to be heightened as the vehicle park transforms to one comprised of homogeneous, electric, autonomous vehicles.

The key is to be able to keep the historic vehicles moving on the roads as they are motoring heritage and that heritage will be best preserved if it is a mobile heritage.

The historic vehicle movement – the owners, the businesses and the supporters – have a duty to ensure that this heritage continues to be preserved and the vehicles are used so that the heritage can continue to be enjoyed by the general public.

To do so will entail positive proactive effort by the Federations, clubs and individuals – particularly to encourage the interest of young people who are becoming less personally interested in modern means of transport.

It will also require reassuring regulators and the general public that historic vehicles are not a threat to the environment. As modern vehicles become increasing clean the positive perception of historic vehicles could be harmed which could lead regulators to call for restrictions on the use of the vehicles. But that would be a disproportionate reaction as historic vehicles are used rarely, when they are used it is not in peak traffic, and their emissions only account for a negligible proportion of total vehicle emissions.

Historic vehicles are used rarely, when they are used it is not in peak traffic and their emissions only account for a negligible proportion of total vehicle emissions.

Recent TÜV Nord research into emissions of vehicles older than 30 years in Germany has shown that:

– while the numbers of vehicles over 30 years old (712,000) are increasing, the low usage (1370 km/year) means that their emissions total only a single percentage point share of total vehicle emissions; and that:

– this will remain the same even as the number of 30+ year old vehicles increases up to potentially 2.3 million in 2030.

– Of note also is the fact that these figures reflect not just historic vehicles but all vehicles over 30 years old – many of which are not historic vehicles. Additionally, the research has not taken account of “dieselgate”, i.e. it did not account for the fact that the emissions of modern cars are much higher than reported.

Political intervention

Securing the future of our mobile heritage will require understanding and political resolve from regulators to take decisions to preserve the vehicles, to ensure their continued use on the roads and to preserve the memory of the industry which built the vehicles which have been so instrumental in shaping recent social, economic and cultural history.

Some positive political decisions have already been taken at the EU, national and local levels.

A definition of a historic vehicle

Notable is the creation of a common European definition of a historic vehicle that makes clear that not all old cars are historic vehicles. In 2014, the EU adopted Directive 2014/45/EU on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers.

This Directive includes a definition of historic vehicles which was developed by the European Parliament’s Historic Vehicle Group (HVG) and is now applied across Europe:

‘vehicle of historical interest’ means any vehicle which is considered to be historical by the Member State of registration or one of its appointed authorising bodies and which fulfils all the following conditions:

– it was manufactured or registered for the first time at least 30 years ago;

– its specific type, as defined in the relevant Union or national law, is no longer in production;

– it is historically preserved and maintained in its original state and has not undergone substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components;

This definition can help regulators to differentiate historic vehicles from “old vehicles” in order to offer the historic vehicles preferential treatment where necessary and appropriate.

Low Emission Zones

A common definition is welcome as already regulators and local authorities have had to provide definitions of historic vehicles for amongst others, vehicle tax reasons and for exemptions or special treatment in LEZs.

For example, Germany has allowed unrestricted access for historic vehicles into any LEZ in order to preserve motoring heritage – but the identifier is the national “H” licence plate or a red “07” historic vehicle license which is unique to Germany and may not be recognizable in another Member State.

The use of a common approach to defining a historic vehicle is now increasingly important as so many LEZs are being implemented in towns and cities across the EU and the lack of a common approach to this and all other aspects of these LEZs is creating unnecessary and unhelpful consumer confusion. The HVG welcomed the recommendation in 2017 study

published by the European Commission that historic vehicles, as defined by Directive 2014/45/EC, can be exempted from LEZs in order to preserve motoring heritage and calls on the EU institutions to include this provision in Guidance which they are currently drafting in order to help drivers.

Road charging

The HVG also welcomes the European Parliament First Reading Report on the Road Charging Directive allowing historic vehicles to be treated differently to regular traffic for any road charging systems based on the “polluter pays” principle. The HVG calls on the Member States to recognised that this is a good and proportionate
decision which must be included in the Directive.


And the HVG will maintain dialogue with the European Commission to ensure that the European Chemicals Regulation REACH regime does not prevent authentic renovation and
maintenance of historic vehicles. The HVG supports the Commissions’ commitment to developing for a simpler and cheaper application process for “Legacy Parts” and “Low Volume Uses” to facilitate an authorization process designed to avoid the complexity and cost of the current application and approval process.

The HVG will continue to stand up for solutions that are both in line with REACH and the preservation of historic vehicles. The HVG already is already dealing with
questions regarding protecting the use of substances which are necessary for the preservation and/or use of historic vehicles with current concerns applying to the process of chrome plating and the use of lead in bearings and cables.

Regulators have afforded special consideration to historic vehicles because they know that the vehicles are rarely used and are well maintained and because they have recognised the need to preserve motoring heritage.

Commitment of the historic vehicle movement

The challenge to keep historic vehicles on the roads cannot be met by politicians alone. The historic vehicle movement must also acknowledge the changing environment and – if necessary – be flexible to manage change.

The movement therefore has a responsibility:

To respect expectations of modern society:
all owners must maintain their historic vehicles well and must use them responsibly – in particular with a recognition that their vehicles are different to modern vehicles.

To be alert to the possible use of technological developments used by modern vehicles:
historic vehicle owners should use modern technology where possible and appropriate to facilitate their safe use on today’s road whilst also respecting the authenticity of the vehicles.

To be active stakeholders:
historic vehicle clubs must play an active and organized role in relevant policy discussions to explain the movement, to explain historic vehicles and to promote their views and the importance of preserving motoring heritage.

To work to preserve and transfer the skills of specific professions:
the historic vehicle movement must be a part of the process ensuring that the skills necessary to preserve motoring heritage are not lost but are preserved and enhanced for future generations.

To raise awareness of the value of our motoring heritage:
the historic vehicle movement must continue to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of the preservation of our motoring heritage by explaining that the invention of the automobile is one of the world’s most significant developments of the past 130 years because it has so strongly influenced today’s society.

Working together

Looking ahead, the historic vehicle movement and regulators need to continue to work together to ensure that our motoring heritage continues to have a place on the roads of the future. The challenges are going to become greater as the mobility environment continues to evolve.

Some challenges will require technical solutions; some will require political solutions, some both. The greatest challenge is to ensure that the vehicles continue
to have a place on the roads of tomorrow and this challenge must be met by the historic vehicle movement and regulators together. Given the far-reaching transformation of the mobility environment, it is crucial that the impact of future technological, societal and regulatory developments is anticipated and discussed now.


If you would like to learn more about the Historic Vehicle Group:
Tel: +32 (0)228 45555


Annotations by Amicale:

the German translation of the document is available at:

The English spoken document can be downloaded here:

EU-HVG_Securing-the-Future-of-our-Motoring-Heritage (PDF)