Simpler EU rules for car owners

* Block Exemption laws to change * Car buying and servicing will be simpler * Consumers benefit from changes...

Simpler EU rules for car owners

Motorists could benefit from cheaper prices under changes to be made to European laws from 2010.

A report into the existing regulations governing sales and servicing says some rules are too complex and could be simplified to reduce costs businesses and consumers.

The report looks at how effective block exemption regulations, introduced in 2002, have been.

The regulations aimed to make it easier for businesses to set up new dealerships, particularly those selling more than one brand of car, in a bid to increase competition and bring prices down.

The Commission says while the regulations have proved broadly effective, the rules governing multi-brand dealerships may be too complicated, dissuading companies from starting them and reducing competition as a result.

The regulations also gave independent repairers access to manufacturers' technical information so that consumers could save money by not having to use manufacturer-approved service centres.

Again the Commission says this has been effective, although many independent repairers continue to complain that access to technical information is not as easy as it should be.

In fact, the Commission itself investigated and took action against DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, General Motors and Toyota, all four of which provided written undertakings to comply with the rules.

This weeks report only comments on the effectiveness of the current regulations and does not put forward proposals for the new 2010 regulations.

Work has been well underway on the new regulations for some time however, with interested parties like the National Franchised Dealers Operations appointing lawyers to represent their interests.