Block exemption changes a worry for independent vehicle repairers

Block exemption changes a worry for independent vehicle repairers

“What’s changing is the level of new car complexity,” said Kwik Fit fleet director Dan Joyce. “In the past three years, we’ve seen an increase in the time it takes for manufacturers to release information and data to us, while a lot of vital data accessed through the OBD port and necessary for updates and ADAS calibration is often hidden behind a paywall.”

Joyce hopes the new regulation will recognise the challenges associated with new technology, including ADAS and electrification, while ensuring better access to vehicle data and software.

“We’re not trying to steal OEMs’ business, rather provide an efficient solution and make ourselves easier for customers to deal with,” he said.

Sales agency model raises concerns for pricing

The MVBER isn’t the only competition regulation that’s due to be replaced. This May, the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (VABER) that covers new car distribution will expire.

It’s again the CMA that has the job of deciding what the replacement will be. It’s consulting with interested bodies, including the SMMT, and recommending that the government adopts a new regulation called the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order (VABEO).

It will have to serve an industry that’s on the cusp of major changes in vehicle retailing.

During the new regulation’s consultation period, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) expressed concerns regarding the emergence of a new business arrangement called the sales agency model, whereby manufacturers sell new cars directly to consumers, rather than through their dealers, and possibly at fixed prices.

In its submission to the CMA, the NFDA said it feared the sales agency model would lead to higher prices for consumers.

A spokesman for the organisation told Autocar that it’s working closely with dealers and liaising with manufacturers on the new business model, in addition to taking legal advice.

Last December, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would adopt the agency model from 2023.