IGA News

Major factors affecting the independent sector: The ending of block exemption

Major factors affecting the independent sector: The ending of block exemption

30 September 2019

The IGA is releasing a series of bulletin articles detailing factors affecting the independent motor industry in today’s modern age. This time, we’re discussing how the end of block exemption and the extension of Brexit could affect how VMs sell and retain cars, and cause problems for access to technical information for independents.

2023 will see the end of the current automotive block exemption regulations that requires Vehicle Manufactures to enable access to repair & maintenance data and parts supply to the independent garage sector.

The current regulations allow vehicle manufacturers a significant amount of control in how they sell their vehicles to the end user but are based on making the cost of vehicle ownership as affordable as possible, recognising the importance of the independent garage sector in making this a reality.

So, if Brexit does change things before 2023, the end of block exemption will mean that that Manufacturers will lose the control of how their vehicles are supplied to the end user, but more importantly for the independent sector, they could make access to technical repair data and parts significantly more difficult.

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. This means that there is an opportunity for the independent sector to capture additional custom.

The access to data could be problematic, but it is likely that third party providers could well step in to fill any void or the manufacturers could simply wish to have their vehicle repaired using the VM’s data. Parts supply too could be aided by third party providers, or OEM’s wishing to expand their market share and engage directly with the independent sector.

So, 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. Either way the independent sector has a significant role to play in maintaining the mobility of the masses, and no administration would want to be the one to limit the social utility that is the private car.

If you have any questions or would like further information on block exemption, please call the IGA direct member helpline or 0845 305 4230.