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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Route opened for garages to highlight restricted access to VM’s data

Date: Friday 15 July 2022

Independent garages can now register any restrictions they face on access to vehicle manufacturer repair and maintenance information with a new form produced by UK AFCAR.

UK AFCAR fights to ensure the rights of the independent aftermarket are upheld in the post-Brexit era; specifically to enable all multi-brand operators to be able to access technical information, supply spare parts of matching quality to original equipment (OE) parts, and perform service, maintenance and repair (SMR) – with which to provide vehicle owners with a choice of the supply of repair and maintenance services as part of an open, competitive, and transparent marketplace.

Mark Field, UK AFCAR chairman and chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), said:

“We’ve responded to the regular communications we’ve had with garages on the difficulty they have in accessing information required to carry out work. As part of the intensification of UK AFCAR and IAAF lobbying, we’re pleased to provide a solution to collect data from garages so we can redouble our efforts with UK legislators.”

The form is available by clicking here: 

Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and will only be used to provide the evidence needed to show a vehicle manufacturer’s non-compliance, or restrictive practices, regarding the requirements of legislation that supports the aftermarket.

Examples include but are not limited to denial of access to RMI information or data/functions in the vehicle, excessive charges, incorrect information, having to prove competency, having to go to a main dealer to complete the job, or when garages are unable to use aftermarket parts due to the vehicle manufacturer’s restrictions.

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.

In May 2021, the European Commission finalised its evaluation phase and concluded that the MVBER remained useful and relevant for stakeholders, but that its effectiveness and coherence could be improved. The CMA will draw on this evidence from the European Commission’s evaluation to the extent that it is relevant to the UK.