The Czech manufacturer will no longer seek safety approval in the UK because of Brexit.
Skoda has become the latest manufacturer to stop seeking UK safety approval for its cars ahead of Brexit. Aston Martin recently announced a similar change, with UK approval set to no longer be valid on the continent after the UK leaves the union next year.
Currently, the UK's Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) can approve cars for sale across the EU, but with the UK set to leave in March 2019 and uncertainty over transition arrangements, it is unknown whether that will continue, leading manufacturers like Skoda to end their relationships with the VCA as a precaution.
Skoda used the VCA for approval of all of its recent models except the Karoq, Kodiaq, and Citigo but will now use the Czech ministry of transport instead for all of its future vehicles, according to a spokesman at the company.
British carmakers have questioned the need for a separate regulatory body in the UK, regardless of the Brexit outcome. Jaguar Land Rover's Ralf Speth said: 'It only adds costs for admin and red tape. It doesn't bring civilisation forward, it doesn't give us new solutions for technology, it doesn't help us in making the environment better. Sorry, I'm an engineer.'
Meanwhile, McLaren believes that the VCA could team up with a European equivalent after Brexit to get round the issue. 'We are in discussions actually with the VCA at the moment who are considering having a partnership with a European agency,' CEO Mike Flewitt told Reuters recently. 'There may be a route there. I don't want to walk away from the VCA if I can possibly help it.'
The reason why a number of manufacturers are dumping the UK regulatory body before Brexit is that it takes 18 months for cars to get approved. On top of that, companies begin discussions with the body years beforehand – sometimes even 10 years in advance – so this is more a case of them trying to pre-empt and then avoid a difficult situation that could potentially arise following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.