Block Exemption to be extended?

Published:  21 January, 2022

The Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MVBER) could be extended to 2028, following proposals from the European Commission.

The MVBER guarantees that newer vehicles can be serviced outside of dealer networks. The rules have been in place since 2003, and was last revised in 2010. Mark Field, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the news from the European Commission and will lobby the UK government to follow suit.”

The UK version of MVBER expires in May 2023. UK AFCAR, the new UK automotive lobbying group comprising automotive trade associations and commercial organisations, will be calling for the UK MVBER to be updated to reflect technical and digital enhancements that are part of the modern motor vehicle.

Mark continued: “UK AFCAR has been gathering increasing evidence that demonstrates VMs and their authorised networks are misinterpreting current Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MV-BER). In recent months, UK AFCAR has received information on the prevention of access to technical information for independent garages, and also an unwillingness to investigate customer issues, once the vehicle has been worked on by the independent aftermarket within the warranty period.

“We shall also call for greater enforcement of the regulations as the reality is that there is a lack of understanding on the interpretation of the legislation, with many issues falling into grey areas or being applied incorrectly.

“This is not in the spirit of the legislation and co-operation needs to happen so that motorists can continue to access local and affordable independent garages that have access to the right parts, tools and technical information.”

Mark concluded: “Lack of co-operation, prevention of access and unreasonable costs all place additional barriers and burdens on the aftermarket in its position as the leading provider to motorists for service, repair and maintenance of vehicles. Ultimately, the motorist loses out and we will make this clear to government through our work as part of UK AFCAR.”

The European Commission’s proposal would also see accompanying guidelines revised following a review. The European Commission will be consulting stakeholders on the draft rules in the second quarter of 2022, and the final adoption is expected in the second quarter of 2023.

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