Aftermarket hits back over BMW thefts

Brian Spratt
Brian Spratt

IAAF Chief Executive Brian Spratt has hit back at claims that a recent rise in BMW thefts are linked to the independent automotive aftermarket.

Commenting on a series of articles in the consumer press that allege a link between BMW thefts and access to devices designed to circumvent vehicle security systems, Spratt said: In these articles statements are also made regarding the provisions of the EU Regulation known as ‘Block Exemption’ and a link is made between the devices, the Regulation and the role of independent garages.

“The implication is that owners and employees of independent garages are, in some way, responsible for the increase in the theft of BMW’s that the articles mention.  This is a wholly unwarranted implication and, in fact, is incorrect on several technical points.

“The OBD port on virtually all modern cars cannot be circumvented in the manner described in the articles and BMW UK confirmed this in a meeting held at the UK’s Motor Insurance Industry Research Centre in Thatcham, earlier this year.  That meeting was also attended by representatives from several other motor manufacturers and the police, all of whom rejected any suggestion that this was a consequence of the Block Exemption Regulation or, in some way, implicated independent garages.”

“EU regulations do allow repair and maintenance information to be accessed by garage technicians, but security information is protected and a new system for positively vetting technicians will soon be introduced.

“It is important that the activities of criminals are not unintentionally associated with the perfectly legitimate activities of independent garages.”

Stuart Carr
Stuart Carr

HiQ Fast Fit Manager Stuart Carr has also expressed concern over the articles: “The inference that fast fit technicians are stealing cars through access to their security systems is quite outrageous and wholly inaccurate.

“The article specifically states that there has only been an increase in the theft of BMW’s. Therefore, if Block Exemption was to blame, we would see an overall increase in the stealing of cars.

“The legislation ensures independent garages are provided with the technical information for maintenance and repair and in most cases the security information is not provided. For that reason, it would be almost impossible for thieves to use the provided information to gain access and start up a car.”

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