Block Exemption

Published Date: 11th Aug 2010

At the wire, the European Commission announced its final decision on the competition rules for the automotive sector. Even in the last few days, with the 31st May expiry date looming, negotiations were still ongoing in Brussels over the content of the new rules to replace the old Block Exemption for the motor industry.

To the satisfaction of the IAAFs Brian Spratt, the independent aftermarkets safeguards on matters such as servicing and repair during the vehicles warranty period, access to technical information, parts, equipment and training, have been confirmed. Mr Spratt commented: Having gone from a situation where the Commission were determined to do away with a block exemption for our sector, the strength of our arguments on consumer benefits, and SME-friendly regulation have been successful, and we will have our own specific rules. (For dealers the existing 2002 Regulation is extended until 2013). We now have documents marked Preliminary Regulation together with guidelines and the IAAF intends to produce a sales aid for parts distributors and garages to help them and their customers make the most of the opportunities.
We intend to take every opportunity to help our members, specially if heavy- handed dealers start misinforming the public. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, at the press conference, announcing the new competition rules: I strongly believe the new framework will bring tangible benefits for consumers by bringing down the cost of repairs and maintenance and will also reduce the cost of distribution by doing away with overly restrictive rules. The Commissions new rules will increase competition in the market for repair and maintenance by improving access to technical information needed for the repairs and by making it easier to use alternative spare parts. < The new rules will strengthen repairers access to alternative spare parts, which can represent a big share of the repair bills. Car manufacturers will no longer be able to make the warranty conditional on having the oil changed or other car services only in authorised garages. The new rules came into force on 1 June 2010 as concerns the repair and maintenance markets, and on 1 June 2013 with regard to the vehicle sales markets and will be valid until 31 May 2023. News Source: IAAF

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