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Deadline for access of information approaches

The deadline is approaching for independent repairers and trade associations to consult the European Commission about the provision of technical information by carmakers to the independent sector.

The EC has asked for comments after identifying issues concerning access and scope of information provided by Daimler-Chrysler, Toyota, General Motors and Fiat Group.

All four carmakers have proposed individual commitments to deliver better access to technical data and to make available parts codes, working solutions and to provide access to tools including diagnostic equipment and software. They also stipulate their charges for this access.

Independents and trade bodies have until April 22 to accept or reject these proposals. If accepted, the EC will make them legally binding and take no further action. However, if another breach then occurs the carmaker could be fined 10% of its worldwide turnover, explains Miles Trower, automotive expert with law firm Osborne Clarke.

Trower adds: “It seems the Commission has prioritized access to technical information for the independent sector as an area needing improvement.”

Article 4(2) of BER 1400/2002 allows franchised dealer and repairer agreements to be covered by the block exemption providing the carmaker in question also provides independents with technical information “in a non-discriminatory, prompt and proportionate manner”.

“The Commission is concerned that the market position of independent repairers in the EU is being eroded,” says its statement.

“One of the reasons seems to be that independent repairers are still not getting all the technical information that they need to carry out repair and maintenance jobs on today’s increasingly complex cars.”

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