Imports of supercars and bespoke vehicles are being slowed into China following the enforcement of strict new environmental legislation.
A change in law means low volume cars such as supercars produced by McLaren and bespoke models made by Morgan will now have to be retested, to see if they conform to emissions limits after 160,000km (99,419 miles).
According to the Financial Times, low volume vehicles had been exempt due to the fact they only cover an average of 5000km per year. But China’s government has added these car types to the legislation as part of its Clean Air Act, which aims to cut pollution.
A McLaren spokesman told Autocar that the retesting process it has caused was pushing back the delivery times of the first customer 720S models, which were due in the country by the end of summer, by “about two months”. They said apart from the delay, no issues were expected and that the 710bhp supercar conformed to all legislation. The same was said for the upcoming 570S Spider, which will also be affected.
The Financial Times also states that Morgan has three customer cars that have had deliveries halted as the company moves through retesting, and quotes another, unnamed brand spokesman explaining that the backlog means the company has “missed getting cars into the market for second and third quarter sales”. It adds that Lamborghini is also affected, but Autocar found no evidence of the Italian brand's involvement, suggesting the number of vehicles affected is very slim.
Low volume British sports car maker Ariel also told Autocar that it expects not problems with the rule change. Company boss Simon Saunders told Autocar "All new vehicles are being designed to high volume Type Approval and legislation standards, so we’re confident that future Ariels will meet China Vl legislation".
The brand is also looking at alternative technologies to power its models, ensuring it "surpass any minimum requirements to demonstrate the low volume industry’s intention to lower automotive emissions".
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents brands in Britain, has requested that China's regulators create laws that align more closely with those in regions such as Europe and the US. In these areas, low volume models are continually allowed to bypass the strictest emissions limits due to the small number of these cars and limited mileage they cover.