Certificate of Conformity
A COC (Certificate of Conformity) is a declaration of the conformity with the type approval of EC. The purpose of this document is to ensure the free movement of goods within the European Union, specifically for those goods that are subject to homologation and registration.
A COC is a producer’s declaration that the vehicle complies with the given approved type. This document contains information about the vehicle and its producer’s identification, type approval number, technical specifications and other data. The content of a COC is defined by EU regulation (Amendment IX, Regulation 92/53). Vehicles without the EU specification (e.g. vehicle manufactured for the U.S. or Japanese market) and older vehicles that have not been given the type approval of the EC yet, do not have an existing COC. Similarly, it is not possible to issue a COC for converted vehicles. A COC is only obtainable for passenger vehicles, motorcycles and tractors.
History and legislation
Certificates of Conformity have been defined in EU’s Single Internal Market and Type Approval Directive (EC-92). EU’s single internal market became official on 1 January 1993. Part of the “EC-92” effort was to remove the technical barriers preventing the free movement of products within the EU market. The greatest impact of this effort has been in the area of standards in the automotive sector. The EU Commission is seeking to harmonise the automotive, technical and environmental standards between all the member states. EU legislation defines the standards in the areas of noise, particle emissions and safety. In addition, the EU’s directive on Type Approval (EU Council Directive 92/53) eliminates the need for national type approval requirements by establishing one set of rules for automobiles and their components throughout the EU. This directive aims at the clarification of the type approval procedure for motor vehicles, separate technical units (i.e., trailers), and components.
It simplifies the documentation, designates the type approval number of a separate technical unit by a certificate of conformity, and defines the vehicles, individual technical unit(s), and component(s). Certificates of Conformity, as specified in Annex IX of EU Directive 92/53, will be required for an automobile to enter into service. For component approvals, an endorsement that is issued under the relevant regulations by the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is recognised as equivalent to an approval granted under comparable EU legislation. In March 1992, the EU Council formally adopted the few remaining pieces of component-related legislation that are necessary to make the whole-vehicle type approval a reality for passenger cars. In June 1992, EU member state officials approved the adoption of EU legislation creating a single system for the certification of passenger cars, in turn defining the safety, and other technical, requirements. Legislation established an EU type approval system to replace the national schemes of the twelve member states. In 1996, the EU type approval system became mandatory.
Vehicles with an EU type approval can be marketed anywhere in the European Community. Therefore, a vehicle only needs to receive the type approval certification in one EU country in order to be accepted in all of the other member countries. To receive a type approval, products may either be brought to a testing facility or manufacturers may opt to maintain their own testing equipment. Nevertheless, US and EU automobiles still must be certified to this single set of rules by an authorised member state agency. A similar system was adopted for the type approval of two and three wheeled vehicles, which became effective on 1 January 1994.