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RMI takes its Block Exemption case to Number 10

The Retail Motor Industry Federation is meeting today with Government and transport officials to update them on how the proposed changes to Block Exemption will affect the retail sector of the motor industry.

RMI president John Bond-Smith, chief executive David Evans and franchised dealer chairman Sue Brownson met Stephen Byers, secretary of state for trade and industry today and tomorrow will meet with Geoffrey Norris, the Prime Minister's special adviser on industry and transport at Number 10, Downing Street.

Mr Evans said: “When the current Block Exemption expires at the end of September 2002, the motor industry will experience fundamental change. By meeting with the Government we can influence any decisions made with a view to securing the most viable and appropriate system of motor vehicle sales and service for franchised dealers and independent garages.”

He stressed that Block Exemption was unlikely to continue in its present form and what the RMI is seeking is a new regulation that retains “those elements of the current system that work for the industry, customers, and vehicle manufacturers in an equitable and profitable way”.

The RMI argues that the current system allowed for qualitative selection of dealers, keeping sales and service together, territorial exclusivity and less economic dependence of dealers on manufacturers.

He added: “The system offers comprehensive product and service promoting brand image and ensuring warranty and vehicle recall arrangements. You cannot be sure an independent supplier will have the correct equipment to service your car, but you can be sure a franchised dealer has.”

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