The European Commission has launched a public consultation on Block Exemption regulation which is set to expire on May 31, 2023.
The consultation comes ahead of an official review and possible revision of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No 461/2010).
Currently Block Exemption requires vehicle manufactures to enable access to repair and maintenance data and parts supply to independent garages.
In its consultation, the Commission aims to assess whether and to what extent the objectives of the Block Exemption are fulfilled.
In a statement, the European Commission said: “The objective of this consultation is to collect in-depth and high quality facts and evidence on the key competition issues arising in vertical relationships on the motor vehicle distribution and after-sales markets from the perspective of stakeholders.”
The regulation mandates the Commission to draw up an evaluation report on its operation by 31 May 2021.
Independent garages can contribute to the consultation by filling in the online questionnaire before its closure on 25 January 2021.
Last year the Independent Garage Association (IGA) warned its members that the end of Block Exemption regulation as it’s currently known could make access to technical repair data and parts significantly more difficult.
However, the IGA added that: “In reality, as vehicles last longer and are retained for longer, it is unlikely that the franchised sector would have the capacity or commercial offering to keep second and third owners of a vehicle returning to them for service and maintenance.
“2023 might not bring the problems for the independents that some would have us believe, it may well provide those independents prepared to invest in data and equipment with the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The trade body adds that while access to data could be problematic, it expects third party providers to “step in to fill any void”.
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