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EC report says 'manufacturers must do better'

Car manufacturers must make progress to allow independent repairers and other operators to get access to technical information on their vehicles, according to a study carried out by the University of Aachen (IKA) and published on the website of the European Commission's Competition Directorate-General.

The 2002 Commission Regulation on the motor vehicle sector stipulates that access to this information must be given "in a non-discriminatory, prompt and proportionate way" in order to encourage competition in car repair. The Commission invites interested parties to submit to it any comments or observations by December 31.

Competition Commissioner Mario Monti says: "Although car manufacturers are making technical information available to independent operators, we are still falling way short of the mark. If competition in car repair is to develop, manufacturers must really step up their efforts to make things more transparent and accessible.

"With everything being done electronically nowadays, access to technical information is increasingly at the heart of competition. I have fought for this key element of the motor vehicle regulation and am sure the next commission will do everything necessary to ensure that manufacturers abide fully by these rules."

The study, which IKA carried out at the Commission's request, looks at how manufacturers have complied with the Regulation in terms of providing technical information to garages, tool manufacturers and publishers.

The quality of information provision is, however, often unsatisfactory. The information is difficult to find or may only be available in large, costly packages. The content is also often insufficient, with some manufacturers holding back a great deal of information that is vital, for example, to diagnostic-tool manufacturers.

The study covers nine vehicle manufacturers (BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Ford, GM, PSA, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen) and the truck manufacturers DAF, DaimlerChrysler, Iveco, MAN, Renault trucks and Volvo. It examines the position in Germany, Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark and Poland.

The report can be downloaded from http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/car_sector/ika/ika.html.

Interested parties can submit comments on the report's findings by mail to: European Commission, Directorate General for Competition, Greffe Antitrust - IKA study, B-1049 Brussels, or by email to: comp-IKA-study@cec.eu.int

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