New EU legislation coming in to force today could slash the cost of servicing and repairs at independent and franchised garages.
Although current EU law states that your warranty wont be affected if your car is serviced outside of the franchised dealer network, it is subject to the work being carried out to manufacturer specification and using approved parts.
Until now, those parts were available only from the manufacturer or their dealers, while independent garages had also been critical of car makers restricting access to technical information about cars to enable them to service them effectively.
Costs cut for motorists
The new legislation allows parts makers to sell approved parts directly to independent garages or franchised dealers, potentially cutting the cost of servicing and repairs in the process. Manufacturers are also being told to make technical information available to independent garages.
EU anti-trust chief Jaoquin Almunia claimed these new regulations would have tangible benefits to consumers, saying that they will cut both repair costs which can account for 40% of ownership expenses and distribution costs. 6
Good news for car makers, too
These latest changes to block-exemption legislation, which allows the car industry to operate outside of normal EU competition rules, also include a relaxation on the pressure put on manufacturers to encourage their dealers to set-up multi-brand dealerships.
Car makers had argued that it posed a threat to brand image and corporate identity, and that it could increase costs to dealers. The laws have been relaxed slightly to allow single-brand dealers, but with clear provisos on lengths of contracts between manufacturers and their dealers, and steps put in place so as not to penalise smaller car makers or new entrants who need multi-brand dealerships to enter the market.