International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Winter 2013 Issue

100 Ways


International Law: One Hundred Ways It Shapes Our Lives

100 Ways


By: James G. Apple, Editor-in-Chief, International Judicial Monitor, and President, International Judicial Academy.

(In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Society of International Law in 2006, the Society published a small pamphlet titled International Law: One Hundred Ways It Shapes Our Lives. The Introduction gives an explanation for its conception: an affirmation that “international law not only exists, but also penetrates much more deeply and broadly into everyday life than the people it affects may generally appreciate.” This column seeks to elucidate and elaborate on many of the 100 ways briefly presented in the ASIL pamphlet.)

Automobiles have been around in one form or another for over 200 years, beginning in 1807 when the first internal combustion engine was built. The first true automobile was invented by Karl Benz in Germany in 1878 and patented in 1879. By the end of the century his company produced, in 1899, 572 automobiles.

About the same time as Benz was designing and building his motor car, an American inventor, George Seldon of Rochester, New York designed but never built an internal combustion engine. However the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1893 designed and built a gasoline powered automobile that they demonstrated on the streets of Springfield on September 21 of the same year.

Michigan became the center of the American automobile business as a result of the efforts of Ransom E. Olds developing in 1902 what became the Oldsmobile, built in Lansing along an assembly line; and also of Henry Ford, who expanded and perfected the assembly line method of production for his Ford motor cars at his Dearborn, Michigan plant beginning in 1914.

Since the early days of the 20th century, the types of cars, models of cars, and numbers of individual units, have expanded astronomically as many different entrepreneurs over the years have tried their hand at automobile manufacturing, distribution and sales. Perhaps the archetype of the automobile entrepreneur is Preston Tucker, the inventor and manufacturer of the Tucker Torpedo in 1948, whose career was featured in a full length film, Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988).

It has been estimated that there are between 5000 and 10,000 types of cars in the world. That is not a very helpful estimate, since there is so much difference between the two numbers. A better estimate suggested that there are at least 1000 different makes of automobiles on the roads of the world today. Another speculation listed 84 current makes of automobiles. Here is the list and origins of each of them:

Acura (JAP - luxury)
Alfa Romeo (ITA - mid-grade)
Alpine (FRA - defunct high-end)
Aston Martin (UK - high-end)
Audi (GER - budget/mid-grade/luxury)
Bentley (UK - high-end)
BMW (GER - mid-grade/luxury)
Bristol (UK - high-end)
Bugatti (FRA - high-end)
Buick (USA - mid-grade)
Cadillac (USA - luxury)
Chevrolet (USA - mid-grade)
Chrysler (USA - mid-grade)
Citroen (FRA - mid-grade)
Cizeta (ITA - defunct high-end
      [see  Lamborghini])
Dacia (ROM - budget)
Daihatsu (JAP - budget)
Daewoo (KOR - budget)
DMC (USA - defunct high-end)
Dodge (USA - mid-grade)
Eagle (USA - budget)
Ferrari (ITA - high-end)
Fiat (ITA - budget)
Ford (USA - mid-grade)
FPV (AUS - mid-grade)
Gillet (BEL - high-end)
Ginetta (UK - high-end)
Holden (AUS - mid-grade)
Hommel (FRA - high-end)
Honda (JAP - budget)
Hyundai (KOR - budget)
Infiniti (JAP - luxury)
Isuzu (JAP - budget)
Jaguar (UK - high-end)
Jeep (USA - mid-grade)
Kia (KOR - budget)
Lada (RUS - budget)
Lamborghini (ITA - high-end)
Lancia (ITA - budget)
Land Rover (UK - high-end)
Lexus (JAP - luxury)
Lincoln (USA - luxury)
Lister (UK - defunct high-end)
Lotus (UK - high-end)
Marcos (UK - high-end)
Maserati (ITA - high-end)
Maybach (GER - high-end)
Mazda (JAP - mid-grade)
McLaren (UK - high-end)
Mercedes-Benz (GER - mid-grade/luxury)

Mercury (USA - budget)
MG (CHN - mid-grade)
Mini (GER - mid-grade)
Mitsubishi (JAP - mid-grade)
Nissan (JAP - mid-grade)
Opel (GER - mid-grade)
Pagani (ITA - high-end)
Panoz (USA - high-end)
Peugeot (FRA - budget/mid-grade)
Plymouth (USA - budget)
Pontiac (USA - mid-grade)
Porsche (GER - luxury/high-end)
Proto Motors (KOR - high-end)
Proton (MAL-budget)
Renault (FRA - mid-grade)
Rolls-Royce (UK - high-end)
Saab (SWE - luxury)
Saleen (USA - high-end)
Scion (JAP - budget)
Seat (SPA - budget)
Shelby (USA - high-end)
Shelby Super Car [SSC] (USA - high-end)
Skoda (CZE - mid-grade)
Smart (GER - budget)
Spyker (NET - high-end)
Subaru (JAP - mid-grade)
Suzuki (JAP - budget)
Tata (IND - budget)
Toyota (JAP - mid-grade)
Triumph (UK - defunct mid-grade)
TVR (UK - defunct high-end)
Vauxhall (UK - budget/mid-grade
     [see Opel])
     (GER - budget/mid-grade/luxury)
Volvo (SWE - luxury)

The question ultimately arises about problems of integrating all of these different types of automobiles into some coherent system of standards so that all of them have the same safety and other features for purposes of both international safety and international trade. As early as 1952, when European unity was in its infancy, there was created a World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations which was a “working party” of the Inland Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). That led to what has become known as the 1958 Agreement, the full (and exhausting) name of which is the “Agreement concerning the adoption of uniform technical prescriptions for wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be fitted and/or may be used on wheeled vehicles and the conditions for reciprocal recognition of approvals granted on the basis of these prescriptions.” At first the agreement was limited to ECE members. Seven countries signed the original. Later the agreement allowed non-ECE members to sign. As of 2012 there are 58 signatories, including most countries that make up the Council of Europe, but also including such faraway countries as Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand. The United States and Canada are not  parties to the 1958 Agreement, since each country had at that time its own stringent regulations on the different subjects.

The regulations adopted under the 1958 Agreement, which are called for short “UN Regulations”, cover such subjects as general lighting, headlamps, instrument panels, crashworthiness, and environmental compatibility.

A second international agreement was reached in 1998, which amended and expanded the original 1958 one. It has a similar title: “Agreement Concerning the Establishing of Global Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts Which Can Be Fitted and/or Used on Wheeled Vehicles. Among the purposes of this agreement are the following:

Establish a global process by which Contracting Parties from all regions of the world can jointly develop global technical regulations regarding the safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency, and auto-theft performance of wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be fitted and/or used on wheeled vehicles.


Achieve high levels of safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency, and anti-theft performance within the global community, and to ensure that actions under this Agreement do not promote, or result in a lowering of these levels within the jurisdiction of Contracting Parties, including the sub-national level;


Reduce technical barriers to international trade through harmonizing existing technical regulations of Contracting Parties, and UN/ECE Regulations, and developing new global technical regulations governing safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency and anti-theft performance of wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be fitted and/or used on wheeled vehicles, consistent with the achievement of high levels of safety and environmental protection ….

This agreement currently has five signatories and 33 parties, of which the United States and Canada are two and which includes most, if not all, car making countries of the world. These agreements insure high standards of safety and performance for all automobiles for sale in the world market.

ASIl & International Judicial AcademyInternational Judicial Monitor
© 2013 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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