Trade bodies call for standards to be equalized.

The differences in auto safety standards between the United States and the European Union cost automakers as much as $2.26 billion every year, a study has found.

The image above illustrates the extent of the problem, highlighting 26 areas that require modification. In eight areas, the modification has to take place at a design level. Other changes are simpler, though no less costly, such as the larger airbags needed to pass US unbelted crash test rules.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents the Detroit Big Three and a number of European manufacturers, commissioned the study from the Center for Automotive Research. It looked at 116 "model variant groups", made and sold on both sides of the Atlantic, and found that manufacturers incurred costs of between $1.68 billion and $2.26 billion in 2014 as a direct result of the difference in safety standards. Trade tariffs between the US and EU amounted to $1.6 billion that year.

Automakers argue that the costs are unnecessary as the two sets of regulations produce cars that are equally safe. They want EU and US regulators to recognise each other's safety standards, which would allow cars that meet EU standards to be sold in the US unaltered, and vice versa. It is hoped such an agreement can be written into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Negotiations on the TTIP continue this week in Belgium.

Source: Automotive News