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FIA Eurocouncil Calls on the Commission to Reform the Current MVBER in Depth


30 Sep 2009



Brussels, 30 September 2009

FIA calls on the Commission to reform the current MVBER in depth to the benefit of the XXIst century mobile consumers

FIA Eurocouncil submitted its answer to the consultation on the future competition law framework in the automotive sector on September 25th. On this occasion, Werner Kraus, Chairman of the FIa Eurocouncil, welcomed the fact that, in the course of the debate, the European Commission recognized the role of automobile clubs in representing the interests of mobile consumers. However, he added that “whilst the Commission’s understanding of consumers’ problems has significantly evolved since 2008, none of the four options detailed in the Impact Assessment is likely to effectively preserve consumers’ right to affordable mobility.”

Provisions set in the Regulation n° 1400/2002 – also called Motor-Specific Block Exemption Regulation - acknowledge mobile consumers’ right to affordable mobility in a directly enforceable piece of European legislation. In the current economic climate, preserving affordable mobility and consumer confidence is more essential than ever. This concern underpins FIA Eurocouncil’s answer to the European Commission’s Consultation.
Lessons should be drawn from the implementation of the current Regulation!

Cars are a very specific category of goods, which are very expensive and have a long life-span. Over the life of a vehicle, its maintenance and repair will cost as much as the purchase price itself. FIA European clubs call for an improved sector-specific regulation, which would efficiently address all contemporary competition issues in the automotive primary and aftermarket.

This piece of legislation should contain hard core provisions enabling independent operators to access all information and spare parts needed for repair and maintenance, taking into account the great evolution in vehicle technology of the last 10 years. FIA clubs back dispositions fostering multi-branding opportunities as a means to protect consumers’ choice and strengthen inter-brand competition. The FIA Eurocouncil strongly supports the European Commission’s finding, according to which more should be done to prevent vehicle manufacturers to resort to warranties to tie consumers to their brand for servicing and repair. In our view, hard core restrictions on warranties should be included in an improved Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation.

In another answer submitted to the European Commission on Monday , FIA European Bureau makes it clear that reliance on the general rules of the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation (VRBER) to regulate the primary and/or the automotive aftermarket can not be envisaged from a consumers’ perspective. As an example, the paper outlines the shortcomings of the motorcycle (powered two-wheeler) sector where competition is effectively regulated by the VRBER .

FIA Eurocouncil Chairman, Werner Kraus concluded that: “FIA clubs are willing to continue to work with the Commission to ensure that the future competition law framework for the automotive sector will effectively address all of today’s consumers concerns”.

For more information contact Sinziana RADU GILLE at T +32 (0)2 282 0816.

Note for the editors:
The Eurocouncil of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the leading motoring and touring organisation, represents via its 71 national motoring and touring organisations in 47 European countries, 35 million European motorists. Europe’s motoring and touring organisations have as their highest priority to put their members’ interests at the centre of Europe’s mobility policy in order to make mobility more sustainable, i.e. more reliable, cleaner and safer while keeping it affordable for all.


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