Jones’ GM test vehicles bill sent to governor

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to help support post-production vehicle testing in Michigan is on its way to the governor to be signed.

“Michigan is a proud automobile manufacturing state,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Our largest private employer is an auto manufacturer that also happens to be the largest car company in the world. They currently do product testing and evaluations here in Michigan, and my bill is about ensuring that they continue to do so.”

Senate Bill 265 exempts certain company test vehicles from a potential public transit registration fee in Southeast Michigan, which would be up to $1.20 per $1,000 value of the vehicle. This fee is in addition to the normal vehicle registration fee.

Automakers do both pre-production and post-production testing. Pre-production testing happens through use of manufacturer plates. Post-production testing can use vehicles registered as normal passenger cars. These vehicles are owned by the company but driven by employees who then fill out performance evaluations and make other observations.

“Due to their world headquarters being located in Michigan, certain automobile companies, like GM, have large fleets of test vehicles registered in our state,” Jones said. “Without an exemption, these manufacturers could see the cost of testing vehicles in Michigan rise by more than $500,000 per year.

“In the end, this is about supporting our homegrown job providers and keeping critical automobile research and development in Michigan.”

Jones said federal regulations exempt company test vehicles for tax purposes, and he looks forward to Gov. Snyder giving Michigan a similar exemption.