AltfahrzeugV essentially contains requirements for manufacturers of passenger cars and vehicles for the transport of goods up to 3.5 tons regarding the take-back of end-of-life vehicles, related informational and organizational obligations and certain substance restrictions in vehicles.
The current amendments, which came into force on 01.01.2021, relate (only) to the information and publication obligations and there are no changes with regard to the existing take-back obligations.
The main changes in detail:
Extended information obligations vis-à-vis last holders of vehicles
Pursuant to Sec. 3 para. 5, 2nd sentence AltfahrzeugV, manufacturers will in future be obliged to provide considerably more information to last holders of end-of-life vehicles. This new information obligation concerns the following elements:
- Obligation of last holders to hand over end-of-life vehicles only to a recognized acceptance facility, a recognized take-back facility or a recognized dismantling facility (cf. Sec. 4 para. 1 AltfahrzeugV).
- Significance of the recovery certificate according to Sec. 4 para. 2 AltfahrzeugV
Whereas the existing obligation to provide information on established collection facilities in accordance with Sec. 3 para. 5, 1st sentence AltfahrzeugV is only to be fulfilled upon request by a last holder, the new information must be continuously available. Specifically, the explanatory memorandum to the law (BT-Drs. 19/20350) mentions the possibilities of providing information via the manufacturer’s website or in the vehicle’s user manual.
Obligation to maintain financial and organizational resources to fulfill obligations
According to the new Sec. 3 para. 8 AltfahrzeugV, the manufacturer must in future maintain the financial (as was already the case via accruals under Art. 53 of the Introductory Act to the German Commercial Code (EGHGB)) and organizational means to fulfill its obligations under AltfahrzeugV. In order to comply with this new requirement, Sec. 3 para. 8, 2nd sentence AltfahrzeugV provides for the establishment of a self-monitoring mechanism to evaluate the manufacturer’s own financial management.
Annual publication of recovery rates
The new Sec. 5, 2nd sentence AltfahrzeugV introduces an obligation for the annual publication of the recovery rates achieved by the manufacturers. However, since the manufacturers do not usually have this data themselves, it is sufficient, according to the explanatory memorandum to the law, if the manufacturers, in order to fulfill this new obligation, “specifically refer to the achieved end-of-life vehicle recovery rates in Germany published annually on the Internet by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, by publishing the reference link“. Since the data for a given year is regularly not published until a year and a half later, publication is required for the first time in June/July 2021 for the data of the year 2019.
Possibility to appoint an authorized representative
Finally, the new Sec. 10a AltfahrzeugV allows manufacturers not established in Germany to appoint an authorized representative established in Germany to fulfill most of the obligations under AltfahrzeugV.
Despite the fact that sanctions for violations of the new requirements have not yet been imposed, they should be taken very seriously. It can be assumed that both environmental and consumer protection associations will keep a close eye on compliance by the manufacturers concerned. It is also possible to monitor the information and publication obligations without further ado. Even without the possibility of direct legal sanctions, violations can lead to a significant reputational risk if the lack of compliance is publicly denounced.
Do you have questions about this news or do you want to discuss the news with the author? Please contact: Michael Öttinger