Mr. Peter Stroosma
Small Business Development Center
Skagit Valley College
2405 East College Way
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-5899
Dear Mr. Stroosma:
This is in reply to your fax of December 10, 1997, to Taylor Vinson of this Office re "VW Beetle Restoration/Regulations." I apologize for the delay in our response.
You write that your client Stephen Callero "is considering [sending] the chassis of an original Beetle to Mexico where it will be equipped with a new body and an engine (that is really a new engine but billed out as a used engine)." You ask whether this would create "a new vehicle," and, if so, what modifications "would qualify the vehicle to be registered under its original model year?"
This is a complicated area. We have addressed a similar issue in a letter of July 28, 1997, to Miguel Padres. I have enclosed a copy of that letter for your information. I note that your client's plan differs in that a new engine would be installed as well as a new body. In our view, this would result in the manufacture of a new motor vehicle that would have to comply with applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards in order to be admitted into the United States. Furthermore, as a condition of its importation into this country, the vehicle would have to be certified by its Mexican assembler as conforming to the Federal standards.
If you have any further questions, Taylor Vinson (202-366-5263) will be happy to answer them for you.
Acting Chief Counsel