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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

FACT check – aftermarket sector related legislation SERMI, MVBER, MOT Test Frequency: Current state of play

Date: Wednesday 13 July 2022

Lobbying the UK government from IAAF and UK AFCAR has intensified. IAAF is in active dialogue with CMA over motor vehicle block exemption regulations (MVBER) and DVSA over the protection of the MOT Test Frequency and introduction of SERMI, the ability of independent operators to access security-related repair and maintenance information. The issues facing aftermarket sectors around Europe are the same and so it’s important we work together to support the sector and member businesses.

SERMI – “perfect sense to adopt it in the UK”
SERMI – Scheme for accreditation, approval and authorization to Access Security-related Repair and Maintenance Information (RMI) – has been included in EU legislation and will be up and running by August next year. That will ensure EU-based workshops can get access to security related RMI, once they get their SERMI certification. The SERMI update to type approval legislation was established after Brexit, which means it does not currently apply to UK, but does to Northern Ireland under the NI Protocol.

IAAF is calling on the UK government to adopt SERMI. Preparations are progressing well and it would be easy to deploy SERMI in the UK. The organisation & technical infrastructure can be easily leveraged. The Vehicle Manufacturers (VMs) will all have adopted SERMI for the EU, with all necessary technical integrations, so it would make perfect sense for the UK to take advantage of this. The benefits of SERMI for the UK aftermarket are evident, with SERMI providing a ‘one stop shop’ for authorisation of independent workshops and technicians, with the credentials being accepted by all OEMs.

Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations
The EU has announced its intention to extend Block Exemption before it expires. In the UK, IAAF has met with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER), which is currently set to expire on 31st May 2023. The CMA review will assess whether the retained MVBER meets its intended purpose and takes account of specific features of the UK economy serving the interests of UK businesses and consumers, as well as considering the impact of recent developments in technology and industry business models.

The review will also assess the European Commission guidelines that accompany the existing MVBER, namely the supplementary guidelines on vertical restraints in agreements for the sale and repair of motor vehicles and for the distribution of spare parts for motor vehicles and as a new element, access to vehicle generated data.

The CMA will draw on this evidence from the European Commission’s evaluation to the extent that it is relevant to the UK, so it is vitally important that the UK government also updates the type approval legislation in line with the EU. In the unlikely event block exemption is not renewed, access to RMI under type approval will still be in place, but not the other protections of MVBER.

MOT Test Frequency
The debate around the MOT frequency has proven of great concern to the trade. The current Conservative Party leadership contest has thrown further uncertainty onto the next steps of the leaked plans to extend the MOT. The industry is united in its stance, and we have plans underway to take our message further beyond the IAAF membership, which will rely on the support of members.