The European Commission has adopted new competition rules for agreements between vehicle manufacturers and their authorised dealers, repairers and spare parts distributors. The new rules will increase competition in the market for repair and maintenance by improving access to technical information needed for the repairs and by making it easier to use alternative spare parts. They will allow the Commission to tackle manufacturers' abuse of warranties when they request that cars are serviced only in authorised garages. The new rules will also reduce distribution costs for new cars by eliminating overly restrictive rules.
Block Exemption Regulations exempt categories of agreements that comply with their provisions from the EU ban on restrictive business practices (Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The old rules for the car sector (Regulation 1400/2002) were adopted in 2002 and expire on 31 May. Before adopting the new rules the Commission conducted an extensive and lengthy consultation process.
In the past few years, the Commission has brought four cases against DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Toyota and GM to ensure that they allow independent garages adequate access to repair information (see IP/07/1332). However, other potential problems involve access to spare parts and the refusal to honour warranties if consumers have work done outside the authorised repair networks. The Guidelines and block exemption adopted today give detailed clarification for stakeholders on how the Commission intends to apply the rules in these areas. The new Block Exemption Regulation can be found at:
The detailed Guidelines will be published at the same address after the finalisation of the different linguistic versions.
For further information see also MEMO/10/217.