The Competitions and Markets Authority has published its final recommendations for the renewal of Block Exemption rules.
Under the current regulations, correctly known as MVBER 2010, competition is allowed in the car service and repair sector and restrictive practices are outlawed. So, for example a manufacturer can’t dictate that vehicles can only be brought to its dealer network for repairs and is also required to provide open (if paid for) access to its service and repair information.
The current rules are due to expire in 2023, and so the CMA opened a consultation in which an alphabet soup of companies and industry bodies responded to a list of questions on the scope of the rules and if they should be renewed.
Respondents included SMMT, LKQ Euro Car Parts, ABI with Thatcham Research, Belron (Autoglass), IGA, RAC, SMMT, TMD Friction, Vehicle Recyclers Association, UKLA and the UK AFCAR consortium. While there were some minor differences on the details, (for example, if motorcycles should be included within the scope of the rules) they all agreed that a new version of BER to be known as Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Order (MVBEO) should be implemented. This is included in the CMA’s final report.
The National Franchised Dealers Association indicated that it thought there were still questions to answer. Noting that ‘the key question is whether competition law guidance (and the threat of intervention) will be enough to address some of the concerns already identified by the NFDA’, Chief Executive Sue Robinson said: “The CMA’s recommendation is detailed and the NFDA is still absorbing it; however, the NFDA is not only framing further recommendations for the accompanying MVBEO guidance; it is also considering direct representations to the Secretary of State”.