The BVRLA welcomes the European Commission's recent evaluation report on the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation, particularly its suggestion that a light-touch approach to fostering competition is the way forward.

There is a healthy level of competition in the motor industry at present, which has led to an unprecedented level of choice for vehicle buyers and improved the quality of after-sales service. The BVRLA agrees that simplifying some of the sector-specific regulation imposed by Block Exemption will not hamper this progress.However, while the association is in favour of removing much of the red-tape surrounding motor vehicle distribution, a number of concerns still remain:

  • There has been a recent move by some manufacturers to dilute the end-user status of leasing companies by insisting on the compulsory provision of customer details if a leasing company wants to gain access to fleet terms. We believe this type of direct supply agreement could reduce intra-brand competition.
  • The introduction of authorised repair agents has improved customer access to service and repair facilities, but we feel manufacturers should relax the criteria for agents. This would lead to a greater number of agents, improve competition and bring service facilities nearer to where people live and work.
  • We are still concerned at the barriers for independent repair garages to access manufacturer technical information and wish access to be made much easier.
  • We are disappointed at how few multi franchise sites have been established, meaning that the customer has to visit multiple showrooms to compare models.

"The BVRLA is working with its counterparts in Europe to ensure that the vehicle rental and leasing industry gives a consistent message to the Commission," said BVRLA director general, John Lewis.