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Block Exemption has been a missed opportunity for bodyshops, says MFBI

The latest report on the car body repair market from automotive analysts MFBI says that few if any independent bodyshops will be appointed as manufacturer-authorised repairers because of an overlooked clause in the new regulation.

A clause in the new Regulation stipulates that if the own-make market share of a vehicle manufacturer's official authorised repair network is 30% or less, it can apply quantitative selection criteria to its authorised repairer networks and refuse to appoint any independent bodyshops, even though applicants may meet the manufacturer's quality criteria. If a manufacturer's authorised repairer network has a market share that exceeds the 30% threshold, the manufacturer can select authorised repairers only on the basis of qualitative criteria, without the right to limit numbers.

MFBI's research in its new report on the UK car body repair market shows that there are 1,450 franchised dealer bodyshops in operation carrying out an average of 25 repairs each week. This means that franchised dealer bodyshops carry out a total of 1.89 million repairs out of a total market of 5.69 million repairs in 2003, giving them a one-third share of the car body repair market. However, this figure includes all makes of cars repaired in dealer bodyshops and not just a manufacturer's own make, which is the basis of market share calculation in the new regulations. Although each manufacturer's share of the market will vary, MFBI calculates that on average, the vehicle manufacturers' combined own-make share of the car body repair market is currently less than the 30% threshold.

Many manufacturers have introduced separate agreements for repairs under the new Block Exemption Regulations, which stipulate that if a franchised dealer does not operate a bodyshop of their own within their area, they must appoint or nominate an independent bodyshop. The nominated or appointed independent bodyshop's agreement is therefore with the franchised dealer rather than the vehicle manufacturer, and it is not therefore officially appointed as an authorised repairer. It is therefore unlikely that these dealer-appointed independent bodyshops would be included within the calculation of a manufacturer's own-make share of the car body repair market.

*The Car Body Repair Market in the UK, MFBI, £750. Tel: 01825 713035 Email: info@mfbi.org

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